From “May Day” in The Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“When trellised grapes their flowers unmask,
And the new-born tendrils twine,
The old wine darkling in the cask
Feels the bloom on the living vine,
And bursts the hoops at hint of Spring.”
This is the second of four posts featuring two grapevines growing in my garden. For the first post and more on the series, see Tales of Two Grapevines (1 of 4). For this post, I selected images where I photographed the smallest leaves I could find.
Here are a few wee leaves from my Catawba Grapevine. The magenta color that will adorn the back sides of the leaves for a few days is evident even in the leaf bud, as in the first photo; though by the time the vine gets as large as shown in the last photo, the magenta will be gone.
On the Concord Grapevine, the unopened leaves (most of which were half the size of a thimble) are about the same color as they will be when they grow up, but even at this stage show the complex structure that the vine retains throughout its lifespan. The first two photos — whose buds always remind me of creatures from the Alien movies — show that intricacy. If you would like to see the detail in full-sized versions, click here and here — or select “View full size” when looking at the images as a slideshow.
You can also see in these two photos that the tendrils emerge from the same leaf cluster as the leaves, appearing as tiny scythes (curving to the left in the first photo and to the right in the second) in its early days. As the leaves continues to open, the tendrils stretch out on their own from the same connection points, then split into two or more independent threads.
If you would like to read more about how tendrils work (they have lives of their own, I swear!), check out Tendril (plant anatomy) from the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Thanks for reading and taking a look!