Of candles and new beginnings

As children, we look forward to every birthday. That one day in the year when we become the focus of attention of our family and friends. Each year, with great anticipation and excitement, we draw in a deep breath and blow with fierce determination to extinguish the candles burning atop the cake.

Birthday candles bring back many memories of years past. They also cause me to think of the days ahead – the new things to learn and experience, the new friends to make and the new plants for my garden. 

Conifer candles have a similar effect on me. 

Pinus thunbergii Thunderhead candles emerge in spring
Pinus thunbergii 'Thunderhead' candles emerge in spring

Have you ever noticed when Pines begin their new push of growth in spring? You will begin to see long narrow “candles” emerging out of the terminal ends of the main trunk and branches. Those tight candles will elongate, sometimes resin coated, sometimes with a papery wrap or tightly woven silky threads, growing and stretching until the needles begin to unfold creating the foliage for the current season. The showy candles on the pines in my garden are perhaps the first of the conifers to wake up in spring creating an early show as the daffodils and tulips begin to fade.

Keep an eye on your pines this spring and watch for the candles to emerge. Maybe you too will catch a happy memory from your childhood or ponder what life may have for you in the coming months.

Conifer Lover


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