Spring has come early to Northern New Jersey. That is a cause for concern. More about that later.
The early arrival of spring is also a cause for rejoicing. The furnace runs less, and we have more reasons and opportunities to step outside for what passes for fresh air in Northern New Jersey. The growing season may also be a bit longer. Although it is a bit of a risk, seeds for cool-weather crops such as spinach, lettuce, and peas can go into ground that later can be planted with tomatoes or summer squash.
The return of spring, early or not, is also a source of wonder. How are plants, and even some insects, able to survive temperatures well below freezing or to go through repeated freeze–thaw cycles? Funny you should ask. A post from two years ago about the mourning cloak butterfly describes how they do not migrate but are able to overwinter in temperate climate zones in their adult stage.
The parsley that was planted as seeds last summer has begun to send out new growth. The rose bush, a Valentine’s Day gift from a student of Jody’s is also returning to life. So is the raspberry bush transplanted from the original Jersey Backyard. Even the pussy willow twig, a cutting from a tree that grew from a cutting from a tree that grew from a cutting from a tree in my childhood backyard, has produced tiny catkins. The possibility for its survival was small, and remains small, but hope remains.
We have yet to see new growth from the transplanted lilies of the valley or purple coneflower grown last year from seed, but there’s still time.
April and May will bring the blooms on many of the perennials that are now beginning to return to life. While those blooms will cheer many, myself included, the sight of even the slightest bits of new growth on plants that were all new to the backyard last year gives hope now of good things to come.
But what about the concern? Why worry about the early spring? 2015 was the warmest year on Earth since the beginning of such records. Will 2016 be even warmer? What does that mean? Terrorism and the circus that is the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign have pushed climate change from the news. Despite that, those of us in Northern New Jersey should view the mild winter and early spring with the understanding that they may reflect the new reality of life on a warming planet.
Thanks as always for stopping by!