First Tulip of Spring 2015

The next flower to arrive in my East Orange garden is the tulip. Other tulips may have bloomed already, but no one else seems to be paying attention to them in my local area, so I have to be the one to announce their arrival in the city of East Orange. I'd happily put up photos from other gardeners, but only if they are sent to me at [email protected] for inclusion in the East Orange True News. Include some information about where and when they first appeared this Spring. The bulbs always bloom in succession in the Spring- first the snowdrops and crocus, then the daffodils, and next the tulips. After that, it's a mad dash for many other varieties. But here's one I've been anxiously awaiting: my front yard Concord Grapes.

This is what the grapes looked like last June, hanging all over my gateways and fences. In the fall they turned deep purple and people walking by could pick them off and eat them right off the vine. Delicious!

When the first winter frosts killed off all the grape leaves, I pruned the branches back and built a new rack for the grapes to grow on. In late January, a car smashed into my front yard, but did not damage any grape vines. Still, I was worried about them all winter long. Grapes in the winter really look dead.

So I was excited after finding the first tulip blooming, to notice the tiny buds beginning to show themselves on the grape vine. I marked the date on my calendar - April 17th - so next year I will know to start looking for them just before Earth Day.

Up close you can see a touch of green at the base of the bud on what appears to be a stalk of dead wood. The little buds are appearing all over the stalks and I hope by June I will have a repeat of last year's bountiful grape crop, only a little more controlled and easy to harvest from the new racks. By next August, some will be dark purple and then I hope my visitors will help me enjoy the grapes again.

Grape Buds abound on Earth Day, 04/22/15

Backyard Tulips on Display - 04/23/15

Tulips Still Going Strong - 04/28/15

Jim Gerrish

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