We had a mild winter followed by an unusual two week stretch of 70's and 80's with lots of sun in early March. As a result everything is about 5 weeks ahead, but the downfall is that the aphids are becoming a real problem for 'Bonfire', 'Goshiki shidare', and 'Sekimori'. Luckily, I was able to keep the aphid problem under control before they did any real damage.
We are now cooler with highs in the 40's and 50's with lows in the upper 30's. This has resulted in a slowdown in the spring leaf development process. What would normally happen overnight is now happening in slow motion over the course of a week. This slowdown gave me the unique opportunity to take photos of the early stages of leaf development. I have posted these photos on Flickr and will continue to post them as more varieties begin to leaf out. Photos are in order of which varieties were the first to leaf out in 2012.