Spring is here, but with all the snow still on the ground, I’m not certain the ephemerals will be too eager to show their delicate blossoms.
The first thing that typically shoves through the ground here at my home is the Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaira). I have some that grows naturally, along the east fence line around the pool area, which typically shows itself first thing after the spring equinox. But not yet this year!
Other patches have been transplanted, from plant rescues, into the wooded area I created many years ago, and probably because they get less sun, they bloom a tiny bit later in the spring.
The next thing that typically pokes itself through the ground is the Virginia Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum). Although often considered a weed, it is a native plant and a god-send for our early pollinators looking for nectar. So don’t be too eager to get rid of this rather aggressive native plant.
Do you keep a history of when your plants bloom? I prefer to take photos, but many people write and/or draw in a journal or enter data in a log. Keeping this type of a history is called phenology.
“Phenology is the study of the influence of climate on the timing of biological events, such as annual plant flowering and seasonal bird migration. These events are partially driven by changes in temperature and precipitation; therefore, phenology studies how these events may reflect changes in climate. Since events are partially driven by shifts in temperature and precipitation, studying phenology can provide insights into changes in climate.” (USGS)
I find it interesting to see how the seasonal variations in our climate affect the blossoming of our plants, trees and shrubs. If you don’t currently track the blooming times of your native plants, give it a try. You will be surprised by what the data shows you.
Note: If you’d rather use the Internet, instead of creating your own history, go to Project Budburst and become one of their citizen scientists.
Leave a comment and let me know what’s coming up in your yard.