A few weeks ago we brought home a bud and forced it inside the house to watch the changes. After I noticed it starting to open one evening before bed, I took a quick photo--sorry for the terrible lighting in those first two, but after a few days of no signs of blooming at all, it took me by surprise! The second photo was from about twelve hours later, when we woke up. And then I took pictures once a day in a bit better light to document the ongoing changes.
It ended up being a buckeye, as you can see from the palmate leaves. And it now sits happily blooming by my kitchen sink--like a cheerful bit of spring indoors. :)
Then last week, we noticed a tree with buds in different stages of opening during our nature study outing:
Yep, another California buckeye! No surprise, as they're one of the earliest-leafing trees in our area (and one of the most common). We found the same thing this past week at another park:
The kids had a great time scouring each tree to find good examples of the different stages these little buds go through. It's so nice to see that green amid the browns and grays of the rest of the winter landscape. And we'll be looking for flowers on these buckeyes in just a few short months!