In bud, in leaf, and in between

Every year I am intrigued by three mature oak trees at the top of Willis Street in Wellington city on the fringe of the business district.  This area, Te Aro, was settled early on and has some impressive old houses.  The trees stand in front of one of these, on a busy road - a rather unprepossessing spot.

The thing that catches my eye is the distinct sequence of spring growth that occurs every year, with the tree on the left starting first.  In the photo it is in leaf, the middle tree has baby leaves with that soft golden colour of fresh new growth, and the tree on the right is in bud, with only a few signs of bud burst.  Why?  Is it because the first tree to show spring growth faces north and therefore gets the sun most?  Is it then like a chain reaction? - I have read recently about how much trees and other plants communicate and sense changes in their environment.  Whatever determines this pattern, it happens reliably.  I took this photo in less than perfect conditions because a gale was predicted.  It eventuated - another regular spring feature of Wellington - damaging gales that the plants, and we, are somehow not daunted by.

A closer view of the tangle of branches and branchlets and wires, with the leaves, leaflets and buds in their green, gold and reddish hues.

Looking up to the branches - in leaf and in between

.....and in bud

The most advanced leaves and flowers in more detail - they were the only ones I could get close to!