Friday, March 23, 2012

An Ode to the Redbud

Our Redbud Trees in North Carolina are in full bloom right now.  It seems as if, overnight, they just burst into glorious color.  Many people have them planted in their yards, but they also grow wild in the woods (along with the Dogwood Trees).  And this time of year, you can see the Redbuds blooming all along the highways and interstates of our region, announcing that spring is here.

I've always thought that Redbud is entirely the wrong name for these trees, for their blooms aren't red, but a wonderful, purplish-pink color.  For as long as I can remember, they have been one of my favorite trees.  They are typically quite hardy, and when they get larger, they provide a wonderful shade in summer with a canopy of heart-shaped leaves.

Redbuds are also known as Judas Trees, although I don't hear them called that very often.  According to the website, our native North American redbud is the Cercis canadensis, and "the specific redbud that is most often labeled Judas Tree is Cercis siliquastrum, and lives in Mediterranean and Asia Minor countries.  That tree is the one most associated as "Judea's Tree" and is supposedly the tree Judas Iscariot hanged himself on after betraying Christ."

My North Carolina gardening book states that Redbuds are short-lived trees.  But in this case, I would beg to differ.  This old, and rather gnarled Redbud Tree in our front yard has been here since we moved in 16 years ago, and it was a mature tree at that time.  Since our house is 40 years old, I would bet the tree is at least that old.  In addition, it survived damage from a serious tornado that hit ours and surrounding neighborhoods in 1999.  You can see in the pictures where some of the big limbs were broken, and its shape is not the prettiest.  Yet there is something dignified in the way this tree continues to stand as sentinel at the top of our driveway.  It blooms every year like clockwork, and I'm quite attached to it after all these years.

Here are some pictures I took yesterday afternoon when the sky was partly overcast.


You can see the stunted shape of some of the limbs in the picture below.

The front of our house gets the bright morning sun, and since it wasn't foggy this morning, I zipped outside with my camera to try and get some more pictures of the tree.  I then noticed that my next-door neighbor's younger and smaller Redbud was blooming, and the sun was shining directly on it.

I just love those tiny pink blooms against the backdrop of a blue, blue sky.

Now for some close-ups...

Do you have Redbud Trees in your part of the world?  If so, are they blooming now?

Thanks so much for visiting my blog and taking time to leave a comment.  I always enjoy reading them.  :)  I hope you have a great weekend -- ours is predicted to be rainy.

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