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Something Wild

Spring Foliage
By Dave Anderson

The Other Foliage Season

Air date: April 23, 2010

Welcome to this week’s edition of Something Wild. I’m Dave Anderson for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

Consider the fleeting beauty of "spring foliage"… I say the charms of this "other" foliage season exceed those of the more famous autumn display. 

Why do more busloads of tourists prefer October? Yellow, orange and red leaves are garish. Autumn leaves are dying. It’s depressing; particularly if you haven’t gotten the cordwood split and stacked.

Leaf-peepers should visit New Hampshire in April to see the emerging tree flowers and foliage in soft pastels, like an array of Easter candy. In a few short weeks, hills are transformed by a gauzy rising tide that imparts a soft watercolor wash to the hardwood canopy. Maple, birch, beech and oak transition from lavender, pale lemon-yellow, soft pink and light gold into an astonishing array of colors - all of them green!

Spring foliage is as magical as ephemeral. The less-celebrated "foliage season" arrives on the heels of "mud season" on the cusp of our dreaded "blackfly season." Hardwood buds burst into tiny flowers and tender leaves unfurl like tiny banners. In wetlands, fern fiddleheads unravel into delicate neon green fronds overnight.

The fairest days of summer all lie ahead - not a single weekend is yet squandered doing yard work or washed-out by rain. All the promise of sun-ripened summer is contained in the first rustle of emerging leaves on a warm evening breeze as shade returns to the forest.

State tourism officials could perhaps promote this traditionally slow season with a quaint new slogan or marketing campaign. Spring foliage - call it “Pollen Time!” Yet another way to turn "green" into gold? Or vice-versa!

Something Wild is a joint production of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, New Hampshire Audubon, and NHPR. For Something Wild, I’m Dave Anderson.


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