Sunday, January 8, 2012

Signs of Spring?!

A crocus greeted me when I walked out the side door. Normally, I enjoy seeing crocuses, an early sign of spring. But I am somewhat disturbed by signs of spring the first week of January. 


While watering the potted pansies out back, I noticed green shoots of daffodils poking up through the leaves. Again, I was more dismayed than excited. The daffodils are the Ice Follies variety that bloom in early to mid-spring. Has this winter been so warm that the plants are fooled? It was 70 degrees yesterday.


The neighbors' Japanese quince has begun blooming. 


I hear that the winter in Maine has been so mild that people are still playing golf and snowmobilers are upset by the lack of snow. In Florida at Christmas we experienced near-record warmth, with highs in the low 80s. I didn't complain, but I do wonder. Where is winter?


On December 9, I took this photo of a Prunus mume in bloom at the Coker Arboretum. I haven't had a chance to check back to see if the blooms got nipped when the temperature briefly dipped below freezing, but I have noticed other Japanese apricots in bloom in town.


Could this be another sign of global warming? Yes, I know that we cannot draw firm conclusions from one season of unseasonable weather. But it seems that we've been having many, many seasons of unseasonably warm weather. I trust plants (and my senses) far more than politicians.

Has your winter been unusually mild, too? 

12 comments :

Karin / Southern Meadows said...

My apricot tree is blooming, well until we got two days of temperatures down in the 20s. This time last year we were under a blanket of snow and my kids were out of school for a week and this year we are wearing T-shirts.

Pam's English Garden said...

Dear Sheila, Yes, we are seeing signs of spring in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, also. Not good. Your photography is stunning! P. x

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

we have had far too many very cold days mixed with mild days in the 40s to get anything to flower...here the flowers are apprehensive to flower and good thing...while mild for us is little snow and weather in the 40s it has not been sustained but a few days a week...I hope to see snow crocus in Feb perhaps...that will be a treat.

gardenwalkgardentalk.com said...

The weather is changing and has been for the last few years, I am convinced. I posted images over the last five years on the same day, and the snow went from a couple feet to nothing, less and less each year. I know that means nothing, but too many gardeners are seeing it the same way.

PlantPostings said...

Oh my--way too many blooms even for you in early January! The only thing that's near blooming here is my Hellebores. I'm sure if I pulled away the mulch they'd burst with the 50-degree weather we're supposed to have in the next two days. And then we'll be getting an arctic blast at the end of the week. We've had record snowfalls for the past several winters, but global warming sure seems like a reality this winter! I hear La Nina has something to do with it, too. Weird, weird weather!

HolleyGarden said...

Yes, it has been very mild here. No crocus blooms yet, thank goodness! I agree, instead of a sign of happiness, like it normally would be, that is a little disturbing. I don't know if winter will arrive late, or just won't arrive this year. Texas is generally fairly warm in the winter, so until February is over, I am kept in suspense about what winter will bring, if anything! I remember one year, many years ago, that it didn't freeze here and the bugs were horrible - we always want a few days of freeze so that won't happen again!

Stacy said...

Our weather has been all over the map--record cold in mid-December, and now a few degrees above normal. Things are coming up here earlier than usual, but nothing like what you're experiencing! I'm seeing crocus leaves about a month early but no flowers. What do they know that we don't know...?

Sheila Read said...

Thanks for your contributions. Sounds like it's been a mild winter, at least off and on, most places. Though I know winter has weeks left to show its face...

Bridget said...

It has been a very mild Winter here in Ireland, wet though. Daffodils usually bloom in March/April but this year they are about to flower in low-lying areas. In the Arigna Valley they will be a bit later.

Juliet said...

Hi Sheila, and a belated happy new year. I've just been catching up with your blog - haven't had much time for blog-reading for a while - and I really enjoyed seeing your autumn photos especially.

And yes, we have unusually mild weather here in the UK too. I've had Narcissus out since the end of November and Crocus since Christmas eve (in both cases they are early ones, but neither are supposed to be that early). I still have Roses in bloom, and some of my winter-flowering plants haven't come out yet, I imagine because it just hasn't been cold enough. It does make you wonder about how fast and how much things are changing - will we be able to grow the same plants in a few years' time? What will happen to the insects which rely on them? Spring here is a little earlier every year, and it's already making things difficult for some species which are no longer co-ordinated with their food sources.

Sheila Read said...

Bridget and Juliet, thanks for your reports from Ireland and the UK. Sounds like a mild winter so far in many places. Juliet, you raise good points about whether we'll still be able to grow the same plants if the warming trend continues and what will be the effect on insects (I would add birds and entire ecosystems).

linniew said...

I fear you are right about the warmer weather Sheila. And science and many politicians agree with you.