Category Archives: trees

The Lilacs Are Blooming

I had been a little worried about my lilac trees because while others were blooming mine were not. But Dave noticed a couple of days ago when he biked by them they were starting to flower and so on Sunday morning, we went back to take some photos so I could write another post about the four trees in my neighbourhood I am befriending for a year.

The lilacs aren’t only starting to look lovely they are smelling fantastic. I could have stood beside them for a long time taking in their heady scent. I did a little research and found out that the smell of lilacs is dependent on the heat which vaporizes their aromatic particles. If it is cold and damp you won’t smell lilacs. Since the weather has been very hot in Winnipeg for the last few days the lilacs are unusually fragrant. It seems people are pretty divided on whether they find the smell of lilacs beautiful or way too overwhelming and cloying.

I had wondered if my lilac tree was a special variety but when I put the blossoms into the Picture This app it just identified the tree as The Common Lilac. It was interesting to look at the flowers up close and realize that each bloom is made up of all these little four-leafed flowerets that kind of look like stars.

My aspen is really leafing out now and looking lovely.

I decided to look at the aspen leaves a little more closely. They have a pointy tip and then they round out towards their base and they have sharp pointed teeth all around their outer rim. They feel smooth and right now are a glossy bright green. Their stem is flat and thin which is why the leaves really flutter in the wind as I noticed when I made a video of them on my last visit. That fluttering is why the aspen is sometimes also called the trembling aspen.

My cottonwood had filled out even more since my last visit.

I know my cottonwood is a pretty old tree because its bark is so thick and deeply furrowed. The bark on a young cottonwood is smooth. Did you know cottonwoods can grow up to a meter a year?

My crabapple tree has lost all of it’s blossoms now

but I was delighted to see some lilacs blooming at its base.

Thanks for following along as I make friends with four trees in my neighbourhood. I’ll make another visit in about ten days or so. You can read all my posts about my four tree friends here.

As always thanks to my husband and tree photographer Dave.

Other posts……..

I’m Glad She Made A Mistake

Two Trees and a Marriage

I Don’t Want To Outlive the Trees

Leave a comment

Filed under trees

It’s Not An Elm!

The leaves on my first tree are so green and plentiful now.

As my regular blog readers know I’ve adopted four trees in my neighbourhood and over the course of a year, I am going to try to get to know them as friends. This is the third post I am doing about my trees and the big news is that the tree I thought was an elm is not an elm.

This isn’t an elm tree! It’s a cottonwood!

Tree expert Ariel Gordon whose book Treed inspired my tree friends project read my last post and commented that she was sorry but the tree I’d been identifying as an American elm wasn’t an elm at all. She had a couple of guesses about what kind of tree it could be but she wasn’t exactly sure.

So I put a photo of the tree’s leaves into my Picture This app and it said the tree was an eastern cottonwood also known as a necklace poplar.

However, when I put a photo of the flowers on the tree into the app it said the tree was a western cottonwood also known as a Freemont cottonwood. So my elm is actually a cottonwood although I don’t know for sure what kind eastern or western.

My cottonwood has grown so much leafier and greener in the last couple of weeks as you can see in these comparison photos.

Also, the flowers at its base that were hiding in their leaves the last time I visited have now blossomed and are looking lovely.

My prairie crabapple has some gorgeous blossoms now but it is not blooming nearly as fully as the other three prairie crabapple trees surrounding it.

I know I shouldn’t compare trees, but it’s hard not to.

I am wondering if my crabapple tree isn’t flourishing like its neighbours because I noticed the last time I visited that it had this scar on its trunk where a branch must have broken off in another year.

I was so sad to see when I visited now that another branch had been broken off. Who would do that?

I am a little worried about my lilacs. Other lilac bushes all over the city are in full bloom and mine still don’t look like much. My husband Dave says to be patient. They will bloom yet. I hope so.

When I visited my aspen the wind was blowing the leaves and it looked really lovely to see them waving in the breeze so I made a video. You can see it here.

I will visit my trees again in about ten days and will report back to you.

You can see all three of my posts about my tree friends here.

The Tree of Life

The Trees of Tunnel Island

Wind Blessings


Filed under trees

Visiting My Tree Friends

Yesterday was my Grandma’s birthday. She always said one of the things she loved about her May 17th birth date was that all the trees were sure to be green and leafy by then. She was right!

It has been nearly two weeks since I last visited my four special tree friends. And oh my goodness how they have changed. Check out my first buddy the American Elm. This is what it looked like on May 4 and what it looks like now.

Two weeks ago there were just tiny buds on the elm and now it has beautiful leaves.

The other thing I am really excited about is that all around the base of the elm are these flowers just waiting to open. I am going to go back in a few days to see what they look like.

My second tree friend

Two weeks ago I wasn’t sure what kind of tree this was with its skinny trunk and reddish bark. But now that the leaves and flowers are bigger I was able to put a photo of it into this cool app called Picture This which has a data base of 17,000 trees and plants. The app scanned my photo and identified the tree as a prairie crabapple.

My official photographer getting snaps of the lilacs

The changes in my lilac bush friends aren’t easy to see.

You have to go up pretty close to discover that there are all kinds of buds on the branches getting ready to bloom and there seem to be kind of spidery webs on them in places.

I have left my dear aspen for last because now that the leaves are starting to sprout it is clear the little aspen grove where my tree lives is in some trouble.

There is one healthy aspen to the far left, two pretty much leafless bare aspen in the middle and then mine which has some leafy branches but lots of bare ones too.I did a little reading and found out aspens are prone to leaf blight which can cause defoliation. Not sure if that is what is happening.

Dave thought I should pick another tree but I don’t think that would fair. I figured I should stay the course with the trees I originally chose and be faithful to them.

I got a little side tracked last week with my book coming out for sale unexpectedly but I promise I won’t wait as long before my next official tree visit.

Other posts…………

A Pool of Possibilities in Our Own Backyard


A Musical Walk in a Bamboo Forest

Leave a comment

Filed under trees

Meet My Tree Friends

Inspired by Ariel Gordon’s book Treed I have initiated a friendship with four trees in Winnipeg’s urban forest. I want to follow them through all four seasons and bring you updates. There are many magnificent trees in the city but I decided I should pick four near my home in Winnipeg’s Exchange District. That would make it easy for me to check up on them regularly.

Dave is going to be my official photographer for the tree project

I know almost nothing about trees and so I will be learning along the way and would appreciate any help and suggestions from my blog readers. By the way my husband Dave said he would like to be included in this project of mine and offered to be my official photographer. I am thrilled!!

Check out the face I found hidden in my tree friend. The knot is the eye, the fuzzy seed pod the nose, another knot forms the mouth and the branches and twigs hair.

Dave and I thought this was a birch tree when we took the photos. But then I checked out those fuzzy seed pods online and they didn’t belong to a birch tree. I read that the birch and aspen are very much alike but the aspen have scars or knots that look like eyes. That made me pretty certain my first tree friend was an aspen. There are at least five different kinds of aspens but I’m thinking this one is a quaking or trembling aspen because they are the most common in Winnipeg.

I am pretty sure my second tree friend is an American elm. It stands at the end of my street by the river and has this huge umbrella canopy.

I wasn’t sure it was fair to choose these lilac bushes for my third tree friend, but I went ahead and did so anyway because I know just how beautiful they are going to get. Lilacs aren’t technically trees but they are relatives of the olive and ash tree. There are some one thousand kinds of lilacs and when these bloom I will try to figure out what kind they are.

I picked this last tree friend because it is in the woonerf in my back lane and it is as young as the American elm is old and as spindly as the aspen is sturdy and as narrow as the lilac bushes are wide. The little leaves just starting to bud are delicate and lovely and such a deep crimson red. I will need help to identify it. Could it be a cherry tree of some kind?

So those are my four new neighbourhood tree friends. In about ten days I’ll do an update to see how each one is looking and to share anything new I might have learned about them.

Other posts……..

Among the Birch and Pine

Lessons From Trees

Dad’s Sacred Trees

Leave a comment

Filed under trees