This week we’re celebrating blossom time in the Niagara region, which is Nature’s sign that spring has truly arrived.
Every May fruit trees all over our farmlands cover themselves in gorgeous flowers. The blossoms don’t last long, and the timing is tricky if you want to see them — like fall colours, it’s all dependent on the weather. This year, with plenty of mild weather, sunshine and rain showers, the blossoms have arrived right on cue, and I thought I’d share them with everyone who can’t come and see them in person during the continuation of the pandemic.
Our sublime May light makes the blossoms look almost incandescent — rows of glowing colours in orchards, lining our parks, and dotting our city streets.
In the photo below, cherry trees line the fringes of a historic site called McFarland House, built in 1800, and the thick showers of pink blossoms contrast strikingly with nearby red maples also flaunting their best spring outfits.
The resplendent clusters of pink flowers pop against the trees’ craggy grey-green bark.
I believe these are Japanese flowering cherries; here’s a closeup of the blossoms and new leaves for anyone who might have a better idea than I do.
It’s not just fruit trees that are livening up our landscapes; here at Queenston Heights in Niagara Falls, vibrant tulips are showing off their best colours. This historic site, which commemorates the first major battle in the War of 1812, is also the southern terminus of the Bruce Trail, the famous hiking trail that runs for 900km (about 560 mi) from Niagara northward to Tobermory on the shores of Georgian Bay.
I’m partial to variegated tulips…
…but all of the flowers were putting on a grand display of their lush petals and intriguing variety of reproductive configurations.
Niagara Falls also boasts quite a pretty 10-acre lilac garden.
The garden is free to visit; you can spend an entire morning or afternoon there, inhaling the wonderful perfume of the flowers…
,,,and admiring the different varieties. There were a handful of us getting some outdoor exercise on a lovely day, although rain was on the horizon.
I loved the pretty variegated leaves on this shrub.
Turning back toward Niagara-on-the-Lake, I found numerous pink-strewn cherry orchards…
and white apple orchards lining the roads.
Clusters of white apple blossoms were bursting out on all the branches, their sprays of delicate pistils making them look like lace.
Even the other trees are sporting froths of bright new leaves. I love this time of year, when the air is fresh and invigorating, and the sunshine begins keeping its promises.
Heading to the Fonthill area, numerous farms are studded with the stubble of last year’s corn stalks.
Even though the region is starting to drown under the weight of wineries (over seventy in about 700 square miles), if you take the time to wander the back roads you can still find pretty farms tucked away.
In fact, a leisurely wander is the best way to see the region’s spring beauty when you have a chance. You might even spot some of the area’s wild turkeys searching a field for lunch. There used to be one that patrolled an intersection near where I live, stopping traffic for the better part of an hour as it strutted up and down the road. (If you’ve never seen one for yourself, they’re huge birds, up to four feet tall and rather ornery.)
Hiking trails abound; this section of the Bruce Trail is twinned with a trail project in South Africa, surprisingly enough.
Even here the trails were luminous in the afternoon light.
At some time in the future, when life has returned more closely to normal, you may want to visit the Niagara Region in the springtime, when it shows all of its prettiest colours. In the meantime, I hope you have some lovely areas to explore and let Nature work her magic.