Twenty five years ago I left New York for the Midwest Archipelago island of Peoria and every spring I am amazed by the blooming of the Eastern Red Bud trees.
We first saw these slender trees in western Ohio, on our move to Peoria. We were impressed by their number as well as their gorgeous color. Cercis canadensis are nowhere to be seen in New York, which added to the surprise.
When I owned my restaurant, Dominic’s, I gathered their flowers, added them to salads and garnished the plates with them. Their flavor is on the bitter side but they add a wonderful splash of color.
There are two plants native to New York that are equally dramatic in their flowering. In spring the elegant dog woods add delicate washes of white to the leafless woods. They always brought to my mind a landscape from a Japanese wood cut print.
The second are the mountain laurel that bloom in June on the Shawangunk Ridge in Ulster County. These are as spectacular as the Red Buds but bolder in appearance. The blooms are pure white and the size of softballs. When you drive through a forest thick with them it looks like snow had fallen.
It would be really extraordinary if all these flowers would bloom at the same time and the same place!
Thank God for spring.