April 30, 2009
Paper Birch--An Alberta Plant Watch Subject
When I first started gardening, I took careful note of bloom times and foliage colors so that I could better co-ordinate plant combinations. These observations enhance plant layout to help ensure that there is color visible in all parts of the garden throughout our season. Unfortunately, I allowed this habit to fail when I became more involved in landscaping and gardening for other people. I regret this, because I have become aware of an additional reasons to track these changes: that is in the field of phenology and the role of citizen science.
Phenology is the study of the life cycle events of plants (or animals) in relation to the seasons and changes in climatic conditions. In the case of the home gardener, phenology can be practiced as a participant of the Plant Watch program, a joint endeavor of Nature Canada and Environment Canada.
From the Plant Watch site:
Canadians are fortunate to live in a country with a wide variety of plant species. By participating in PlantWatch, you can learn more about our country’s botanical diversity, while helping scientists track the effects of global warming and climate change in Canada.
The plants chosen for this guide bloom every spring, largely in response to rising temperatures. However, some species are flowering almost a month earlier than they were a century ago! Scientists believe climate change is affecting blooming times – a trend that is continuing. They predict that the greatest increases in temperature will be in Western and Northern Canada, while some parts of Eastern Canada actually may be cooling. By reporting on the PlantWatch species found in your community, you can help researchers discover how common plants are responding to climate change – and track where changes are taking place in Canada, and at what rate.
For more information and guidelines for participation, go to Plant Watch.
April 27, 2009
There are some who may say that this blog of mine lacks color. To remedy this, Mingfei, of the blog Easyparadise, has allowed me to post one of his wonderful photographs. This is one of a series taken in the Botanical Garden in Beijing, a stunning display that rivals that of Keukenhof in the Netherlands:
See more at Tulips in Garden.
April 26, 2009
As we sit here in Edmonton on another sub-zero morning, I contemplate my blogs and the photographs I have posted over the last few weeks. Our winters are white. Often blindingly white. During the short days and long nights in our northern hemisphere this brightness is appreciated. As we move to spring the days lengthen, our world thaws and the snow melts to reveal the colors between the seasons. Between the whiteness of winter and the live greens of spring we have the gold and browns of Tween.
Allium 'Purple Sensation'
One of the distinct joys of the Tween season is seeing the new life emerge from the decay of the previous year. I have been trying to document the new growth as it emerges, and the recent posts here and on my photography blog all resound with gold and brown. Outside the garden I have photographed the Sharp-tailed Grouse in the golden light of dawn. Inside the garden, I have been casually documenting the life as it appears in brown and gold: the Redpoll and the rabbit and the exciting first green shoots as they rise out of the wrack of the previous season. It is fantastic. It is not difficult to see why the minds of our ancient ancestors would bind the wonder of renewal into the myths and legends of religion.
So while other parts of the northern realm are already soaking up the greens of a true spring, I am still relishing an auburn Tween.
April 22, 2009
CLICK TO ENBIGGEN…
This Redpoll was picking through the leaf litter under our birch earlier this week. Probably looking for seeds from the birch catkins, one of their favorite foods.