When are spring flowers not flowers?
When they're not blooms, but rather buds. Or more specifically in this case, the leaf buds of an Ohio buckeye tree and a box elder.
A week or so ago, during the time when about all I could manage was an occasional short-term gimp around the yard, I made several photos of just-opened leaf buds on a Ohio buckeye tree. The medium-sized tree grows up by the road at the top of the steep bank, and is so surrounded by other trees that I didn't even notice it the first year I moved here.
I think the buckeye's terminal buds—its now peeled back yellowish outer layer of protective scales, tipped with rusty-orange, which covered everything while the bud was dormant over the winter, and the still tightly furled green leaves—are as pretty as any wildflower.
The box elder—one of many, big and small, on the property—grows a few yards away from the buckeye. Its axillary bud clusters, a contrasting Christmasy mix of red-and-green against a clear-blue April sky, are nothing short of spectacular. Don't you agree they'd give any spring ephemeral a run for its money? Of course the deep-red color of the brand new leaves will only remain red for a brief period before turning vernal green.
Blooms? Buds? Who cares? Both are part of spring's magical beauty.