GARDENS ON FRONT LINE OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Local gardeners do their part to record possible ‘global weirding’
An army of local gardeners is tracking the impact of climate change on backyard flora

Early flowering is just one symptom of what Colorado environmentalist Amory Lovins calls “global weirding.” When weather patterns don’t match the season, it disrupts plants’ natural rhythms, like having someone set your alarm clock differently every morning.

Changes in phenology also disrupt the important relationships between plants and animals, such as pollination. Some bees and butterflies feed on flower nectar at a certain time, and missed connections could starve the insects and leave flowers unfertilized, said David Inouye, professor of biology at the University of Maryland.

Late frosts damage early-blooming oak flowers, ruining acorns and starving animals that depend on the nuts. Hotter, drier summers may stunt the growth of native varieties of switchgrass, a proposed ethanol source.

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Readers, are you keeping records, diary, journals of the flora in your garden?  How has it changed in, oh, say the last 5 years.  Are you noticing that plants are blooming earlier, later or are your seasons changing slightly?

With gardeners on the forefront we are going to need to be more aware of the warning signs and what our natural surroundings are trying to tell us.

Comments(6)

  1. CIndie K. says:

    In our little town in West Virginia we have a beatiful, healthy garden, but the tomatoes have so far been rather reticent to turn red. By now we should be eating red tomatoes every day. We, too, are behind about a month.

  2. CIndie K. says:

    In our little town in West Virginia we have a beatiful, healthy garden, but the tomatoes have so far been rather reticent to turn red. By now we should be eating red tomatoes every day. We, too, are behind about a month.

  3. Sinfonian says:

    I haven’t kept records, but the effects have been well known around here this year. My family’s been talking about it and the media’s reported it.

    For instance, my magnoila tree bloomed this year in early April but then got a ton of late late snow dumped on it, breaking branches and bending others beyond repair.

    And Cindie is right, we’re behind on tomato harvesting by a month. Unfortunately, I seriously doubt our summer will extend out later than normal to compensate, so we’ll have a VERY short season it would seem. For me that’s annoying and disappointing. For folks that are self sufficient, it is devistating.

  4. Sinfonian says:

    I haven’t kept records, but the effects have been well known around here this year. My family’s been talking about it and the media’s reported it.

    For instance, my magnoila tree bloomed this year in early April but then got a ton of late late snow dumped on it, breaking branches and bending others beyond repair.

    And Cindie is right, we’re behind on tomato harvesting by a month. Unfortunately, I seriously doubt our summer will extend out later than normal to compensate, so we’ll have a VERY short season it would seem. For me that’s annoying and disappointing. For folks that are self sufficient, it is devistating.

  5. IndianaCraig says:

    Hey Everyone,
    Tomatoes seem to be a great example for most people. Slow going on the ripening. My sister in central Indiana says the same, as well as my Mom in southern West Virginia. Something that I’ve really noticed this year is that ALL of my root crops have turned out fantastic…best ever in some cases…onions, carrots, potatoes…great! Everything with above ground harvests have best extremely disappointing. Partly because I fell behind in some of my duties, but much had nothing to do with me.
    Anyone else see that at all?
    I saw a show on PBS about a thing called Solar Dimming…wonder if that’s part of the Tomato situation??
    Talk again soon.
    Craig

  6. IndianaCraig says:

    Hey Everyone,
    Tomatoes seem to be a great example for most people. Slow going on the ripening. My sister in central Indiana says the same, as well as my Mom in southern West Virginia. Something that I’ve really noticed this year is that ALL of my root crops have turned out fantastic…best ever in some cases…onions, carrots, potatoes…great! Everything with above ground harvests have best extremely disappointing. Partly because I fell behind in some of my duties, but much had nothing to do with me.
    Anyone else see that at all?
    I saw a show on PBS about a thing called Solar Dimming…wonder if that’s part of the Tomato situation??
    Talk again soon.
    Craig

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