Monday, March 28, 2016

Edible Redbud Blooms and Darling Tulips


The current chill is exactly what we needed to assure beautiful blooms on the Peonies this year. They need a good dose of cold in order to produce bountiful flowers. Luckily, we lost only a few mid-blooming Jonquils that were in the boot last week.

The fabulous Redbud, our state tree, has begun to bloom and can be seen dotting the landscape everywhere. The delicate lavender and fuchsia flowers dance along the bare branches before the heart-shaped leaves emerge, thus making it one of the earliest signs of spring. The Redbud is an ancient species common in
North America, Europe, Japan, and Asia where it can grow as tall as 40 feet. A European species is called the Judas tree because of the belief that Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Christ, hanged himself on a Redbud tree. This mistake in species caused a heated debate over making it our State tree, with Oklahoma City resident John Y. Iskian, finally proving that although related, the two trees remained different. Concrete success came on March 30, 1937 when Gov. Ernest W. Marland and the Sixteenth Legislature signed Senate Joint Resolution Five, officially bestowing emblem status and extolling the redbud's historical role of welcome to the "sturdy and hardy pioneers." On June 24, 1971 the redbud became our official tree in a statute signed by Gov. David Hall


It is not a well know fact that the blooms are edible. Much like the honeysuckle, they contain one tiny drop of sweetness. The lovely color makes adding them to a salad positively knock out... a plus is the surprise so few know they may be eaten. Native Americans used boiled bark to cure maladies, including leukemia and bows were made of the wood as well.

The early tulips have begun to bloom as well. With over 3,000 varieties available at affordable prices, there are tulips for every taste. Gardeners can plan a continuous spring show by planting several varieties which bloom in successive intervals. The early pastel heirloom, the mid-blooming fragrant ruffled, and finally the late blooming sexy-scalloped parrot will provide continuous flowers for almost a month each spring.

Tulips make lively indoor arrangements and it is delightful to be able to bring cut flowers inside this early in the season. Do remember that tulip stems continue to grow several inches after they have been cut. This is the reason that many tulip displays tend to develop a droop over the edge of the vase after several days. This effect is quite attractive but choose a vase that will allow for dramatic flow.

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