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.
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.