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Northern Gardeners Worried About Radical Warming

Yesterday, I noted the very odd early growth of papaver somniferum seedlings in the unprecedented early heat we’ve experienced in the last weeks of winter. I’m not the only gardener who has observed the freak events.

freakish garden growthsIn New York City, Martina worries about her grape hyacinths, writing that over the winter they “lost their flowers to the freeze but oddly kept growing their leaves, even though the last few years they’ve lost all leaves for their winter dormancy. Now their still-growing leaves are longer than I’ve ever seen for these flowers, and I wonder how long they can keep growing without their ‘sleep’. Will the flowers even come back this year?”

Gloria in Chicago observes, “Not just air temperatures but soil temperatures and night temperatures have caused the garden to go into hyperdrive. Everything is greening up…fast. Flower buds formed and bloomed within days. The insects are responding as well. Bees and butterflies are sipping at blossoms.”

Candyce in Dearborn, Michigan “hardy weeds have survived with gusto”, and Mike in Northern Ohio sees cherry trees flowering, and writes, “now, we all have to keep our fingers crossed. These plants are leafing out way too soon.”

“Northern Gardener” sums up with this question: “How do you garden in weather that no one has seen before?”

2 comments to Northern Gardeners Worried About Radical Warming

  • Stephen Kent Gray

    Sounds like a positive effect on the plants.

    • It does, unless you pay attention. First of all, the rapidity of the growth and bloom of some plants is far beyond normal. The rhythm of the year is far faster than normal, making ecological resources available for shorter amounts of time than normal.

      Animals that rely on hibernation are out of whack as well, with bees having depleted their food stores throughout a warm winter that led them to leave the hive in search of food when no flowers were out. Now, in this heat, some spring flowers are folding after having been out only for a few days.

      Cherry, apple, peach blossoms are now out… and if there’s another frost, which is likely, the fruit crop will be wrecked. Soils are much more dry than normal, too, as there has been no significant snow pack to slowly drain into the ground and supply streams and lakes, which are running extremely low.

      Agriculture and gardening are kind of like gambling. Some years, there’s a great combination of conditions that leads to an excellent harvest, and some years, disaster follows disaster. It’s too early to say where this bizarre hot weather in March will lead. It could come out for the positive, this time. However, there are many threats to plants as well.

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