Tuesday, March 14, 2017

'There Never Was a Spring Like This'

Peach flowers opened in February. PHOTO/AmyGWh
The flowers pictured to the right were on a peach tree at the community garden on the grounds of a church in Marietta. I took the picture a couple of weeks ago, at the very end of February.

On warm-enough days, I sometimes take my lunch to eat at a picnic table by that garden. It isn't too far from the office, and it is a beautiful place.

These flowers are beautiful, too, but I was not as happy to see them as I might have been in another spring.

The problem is that the flowers opened too soon, triggered, I would guess, by a February that felt a lot like April. Unfortunately, we are about to have two nights in a row of temperatures around 25 degrees F.

Even though bees and other tiny insects buzzed all around the open flowers, working their pollinator magic, the little fruits forming as a result of that work are at a high risk of damage from the impending cold. Apple and plum trees in my neighborhood have done the same thing, blooming too soon.

This is one of those times when I think of the poet Countee Cullen, and the poem that starts "I cannot hold my peace, John Keats; There never was a spring like this." Of course, he meant it differently, but this is definitely a spring that I have not seen before.


  1. My azaleas started blooming last week. I feel the winter temps we have this week this will cause some serious crop damage that later on we will feel in the grocery stores soon.

    1. Hi Mattie, I am concerned too, but I did find a freeze damage chart through Utah State University that shows the critical low temperatures for each stage of bud/flower development. The information is a pdf that may be slow to load, but it relieved my mind a bit, since our temperature did not go as low as was forecast, and since fruit usually needs to be thinned quite a bit anyway.


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