Spring seems to be in a hurry here in southern CT, as if she is late for an appointment with Summer. It’s now nearing the end of April and all my early daffodils and naricssi have finished or nearly finished blooming and my Poet’s Daffodils (Narcissus poeticus recurvus) are in full bloom. Yet last year, I posted about an early narcissi bouquet of yellow tinged blossoms on April 22, 2009 and my Poet’s were still at least a couple of weeks from bloom.
When I investigated further I pulled up a May 12, 2009 post about a lilac bouquet. This year lilacs are blooming now, on April 27. Early yes, but without the vigor and numbers of blooms they produced last year.
For mid-May 2009’s Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day I posted photos of lilac, sweet woodruff, Eastern Red Columbine, and azaleas. In 2010, all the same are in bloom at the end of April.
So what gives? According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – better known as NOAA – March 2010 was the warmest on record. The January through March period was the 4th warmest. No wonder Spring sprung early. Globally, the land and oceans were both warmer by about 1.2 degrees F over the twentieth century average.
In New England, Rhode Island recorded the warmest March on record; Maine the second warmest; New Hampshire the third; and Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont the fifth.
But don’t throw those tender plants outside just yet. There’s still a chance for plant-stunting chills in even the most southern regions of New England. It’s best to keep your tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, coleus, houseplants, and other tender greens inside for at least a couple more weeks. And when you do move them out, do so gradually … perhaps to a covered porch protected from direct sun. Then, after a week or so, expose them to a little more sun each day until they are accustomed to the sun’s strong rays. And don’t forget to check their water needs daily.
Seeds of more hardy plants – peas, lettuce and other greens, radish, onions (sets too), etc. – can be planted outside either directly in the ground or in pots. They can take, and even benefit from a little chill.
With all the warm hugs spring has offered my region, I wonder what the summer will bring. In keeping with warm spring temps, we’ve already had a good summer-style thunderstorm or two – along with the phenomenal rainbow shown in my previous post – but we’ve also had winter/spring style cold fronts move through to remind us not to get too comfy with the warmth just yet – we’re still wearing sweaters and grudgingly allowing the furnace to run. Still, overall toasty temps have stretched out to the Atlantic so it’s now bathed in warmer than usual waters. Warm ocean waters means greater chances for hurricanes, and that’s just what the good scientists at Colorado State University have predicted. Though I still don’t understand why hurricane forecasts come from a land-locked mountain state rather than an eastern coastal one. But hey, I don’t make up the rules … I just ask questions and offer photos of my favorite flowers.