It’s Bloomin’ Spring!

Photo by Paul H. Risk
Reddish-maroon clusters of red maple flowers bedeck a tree on Old Post Oak Road in Nacogdoches.
Photo by Paul H. Risk
Crow poison, smaller than a dime and about 4 inches tall brings scattered beauty to lawns this time of year.

At some point in the dim past an unknown author penned the immortal words, “spring is sprung, the grass is riz, I wonder where da flowers is.” Technically, spring doesn’t come until March 21st. But, here in East Texas it’s already happening. And I can tell you right now “where the flowers is.” They’re popping out on trees all over the place and if I lived in a slightly different clime I could sing the children’s song Popcorn Popping on The Apricot Tree. But other fruit trees here are also beginning to burst into “popcorn” flowers and other colors are showing up as well. Red maples are producing impressive sprays of tiny red flowers and winged seedpods called samaras. Redbuds will certainly be flowering shortly too as will the small flowers of wild plums.

Most of us tend to be aware of flowers like magnolias or tulip tree blossoms or spectacular groupings such as camellias and azaleas. But, let me encourage you to look down. Some of the prettiest spring flowers are blooming right now in your lawn. I know you call ‘em weeds not wildflowers and you greet them with the same frustration and harsh language you direct at the grass you’ll soon be mowing. But slow down a minute. It’s one thing to stop and smell the roses. Look closer. A favorite hymn of mine written by John McNaughton says “There is beauty all around; Roses bloom beneath our feet …All the earth’s a garden sweet, making life a bliss complete.” Get down on your knees and get a dog or cat’s eye view right beneath your feet.

Our lawn – really a close-cropped pasture – is covered with tiny wildflowers. The spring beauties are so thick that they look like a pale lavender and white blanket and the bees love it. Standing among the masses or tiny flowers you hear the constant murmuring hum of their wings.

This week I chose to show you what I’m talking about through my pictures, not just words, and encourage you to slow down, bend down, look up and around, and gain a new and relaxing perspective from the approach of spring. John Muir wrote “Climb the mountains and get their glad tidings. Peace will flow into you as sunshine into flowers; the winds will blow their freshness into you and storms their energy, and cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” I suggest you don’t have to go to the mountains. Just go outside. Feel the warm sun on your shoulders, savor the delicate flower fragrances and watch nature unfold her rich blessings.

Dr. Risk is a professor emeritus in the College of Forestry and Agriculture at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. Content © Paul H. Risk, Ph.D. All rights reserved, except where otherwise noted. Click to send questions, comments, or request permission for use.