3.26.12 Phenology, or the Art of Observation

Phenology is new to me, and my knowledge of it is only superficial. However, I like the idea of having a larger context for understanding plant life cycles and the seasonal changes that occur with climatic variations. With the dramatic shifts in temperatures we’ve experienced these past few months, this seems an especially important year to pay attention to what is coming up when, and with what.

New growth on the sage.

Garlic chives have reemerged.

The garlic bed, with the later Phillips in the foreground.

Forsythia in full bloom.

Apple tree beginning to bud out.

Daffodils are up and beginning to blossom.

We’ve been listening to the Canadian geese flying north for some weeks now, and the sound of birds chattering increases daily. When I was out late last Monday, the nighttime presence of peepers could be heard as I returned home. Overnight temperatures are to dip below freezing the next couple of evenings, and I’ve covered the garlic bed with a layer of floating row cover in hopes it will afford some protection from the expected hard freeze. I’m most concerned with potential damage to the apple tree, which could mean the loss of this year’s crop for us, as well as others in our area.

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12 Responses to 3.26.12 Phenology, or the Art of Observation

  1. Oh, yes! Cover the garlic! I might have forgotten, without your reminder. While I’m out there, I’ll check that sage. Thanks! In my tiny garden, the prospect of losses is not too dramatic, but I worry about the farms and orchards. What a strange season.

    • leduesorelle says:

      24° this morning — the garlic looks fine so far, but the bud tips on the apple tree look damaged. Time will tell if we get any fruit this season…

  2. maryhysong says:

    Our weather is crazy too warm then freezing; plants don’t know what to do. My daffies have been out awhile and the lilacs are beginning to bloom; seems the only thing that won’t be early this year are the iris!

    • leduesorelle says:

      Given how much has appeared, what’s notable is what hasn’t, I don’t know what triggers them but still no sign of rhubarb, asparagus or tarragon.

  3. kitsapfg says:

    I hope the hard freeze spares your plants from too much damage. Normally you don’t have the long spell of really warm to get things growing so much before the last real frost/hard freezes are done for the year – makes so many of the emerged items very vulnerable.

  4. Liz says:

    I’ve just finished writing about how annoying the weather can be for gardeners – yet more evidence. I hope its not too destructive.

    • leduesorelle says:

      Weather’s always been a fairly unpredictable element for gardeners, but climate change really throws us in uncharted territory. How do we adjust or adapt to phenomena like out-of-synch seasons, higher winds, more frequent rain, and hotter spells? We’re also seeing a whole host of pests that we didn’t use to. It seems this is something that is affecting us all, far beyond just being a localized problem.

  5. Daphne says:

    Our daffodils are in bud right now, but not yet in bloom. It won’t be long. Sadly the crocuses started blooming right before the heat spell and the heat wiped them out. A very short bloom period.

    • leduesorelle says:

      This season does feel accelerated, and your weekly forum reminds me to get out, pay attention, and enjoy it while I can, for which I am grateful!

  6. Beautiful warm days here in Wales at the moment but still chilly first thing in the morning. My garlic have all survived the cold frosts but I lost my Tuscan cabbage in the last cold snap and the Ruby chard is also not looking too great…

  7. leduesorelle says:

    With our somewhat similar growing conditions, I always think of us as being at the same latitude. But I just checked a globe and you’re so much further north! Hard to believe that I’m at the latitude of Northern Spain/Southern France…

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