Connecticut's woodland undergrowth is beginning to green. Unfortunately, much of this color is due to invasive Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii de Candolle). This thorny shrub dominates unmanaged wooded areas. Deer don't eat it and birds spread it by eating and dispersing the prolific red berries it produces each autumn. Japanese barberry quickly grows into large thickets that provide cover for mice and an ideal environment for immature blacklegged ticks - the very ticks that carry Lyme disease. In their early life, ticks are susceptible to desiccation – they need high-humidity at the ground level to thrive. Japanese barberry accommodate the high-humidity needs of young ticks by leafing out earlier than most native shrubbery, thus maintaining ground-level moisture by blocking drying sunshine.
I love filling my living spaces with vases of fresh-cut daffodils. They cheer up the darkest mood and warm the chilliest room. But I learned that cut daffodils (narcissus is their botanical name) don't play well with other cut flowers in the same vase.
Spring is springing early in Connecticut and I have more than anecdotal observations to prove it. I have multiple years of plant phase data recorded by me and other citizen scientists on the Project Budburst website. Project Budburst is a very cool project that asks plant watchers across the US to record first leaf, first flower, first ripe fruit, end of season leaf color changes, and other plant phenophases. Trained scientists then use these observations in their research.
- Categories: Gardening Education (RSS), Project BudBurst (RSS)
- Tags: citizen scientists (RSS), columbine (RSS), dandelion (RSS), gardening in Connecticut (RSS), Jack-in-the-pulpit (RSS), lilac (RSS), phenology (RSS), plant phases (RSS), Project BudBurst (RSS), spiderwort (RSS), tulip tree (RSS)