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Climate Change Brings Earlier Blooms, Longer Growing Seasons

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Oh the sweetness of spring, the hopefulness of Easter and the delightfulness of longer, sunnier days!  I remember as a little girl being excited about the daffodils that grew on the hill outside our back door. Although they weren’t exactly Easter lilies, I recall a strong association between these flowers that my mother called jonquils and the Easter holiday.  Here they are, earlier than ever!daffodil flower

Granted, Easter can fall anytime between the Spring Equinox and the end of April because Christians plan the holiday for the first Sunday after the first full moon that falls in springtime.  At any rate, our jonquils have all popped up this year nearly two weeks before the start of spring and six weeks before Easter.  We’re celebrating our bright yellow spring flowers now, because they may not be around by Easter and they certainly don’t stand a chance if we have another biting frost.  I captured a brief moment on camera with a slightly confused bee; it had found the jonquil but not the nectar and pollen source.

BeeonJonquilFlourSackMam

My “Easter” flowers are reminding me what the Environmental Protection Agency has already been tracking.  Our growing seasons are steadily lengthening for most of the United States.  You may want to doublecheck your hardiness zone on this interactive map from the United States Department of Agriculture.  While the USDA says its maps are based on averages of extreme weather events over a 30-year period and not a reliable indicator of climate change, it has continued to adjust agricultural zones to reflect our changing growing conditions.

daffodil flower

On the upside, ambitious gardeners can potentially grow more local food.  The downside for asthmatics and others susceptible to poor air quality already is that these growing seasons produce more pollen. The Climate Reality project explains how longer growing seasons with increased threats from mosquito-borne illness and other factors are endangering human health.

Are you ready for spring?  The bees are curious and the bulbs aren’t waiting for Easter.

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