Breaking Dormancy: A Precocious Spring in Atlanta

Prunus campanulata...
(maybe) my favorite of the flowering cherries
In my last post I talked about the new 2012 USDA zone map.  There is already some discussion of it being outdated or inaccurate based on the 30-year span used to generate it, which may not accurately assess shifts in climate and warming effects that have appeared in the last 10-20 years.  I'm not qualified to make an assessment on the subject (not that that typically stops me!), but I certainly can recognize spring when it gets here.  It's here, and only just now early February.

Along with shorts and tank tops jogging along Freedom Parkway, I've seen cherry trees and Chinese Magnolias budding and blooming.  The fresh new blades of  ornamental grasses are tangling with last year's brown stalks.  I've been keenly aware of a strange humidity in the atmosphere, feisty songbirds acting like they're engaged in springtime nesting, a mosquito bite on my ankle (enough to put the fear of God in me in anticipation of an itchy summer).  Hospitable plants are opening their buds for eager pollinators to leave their calling cards.

As much as I've loved it (who doesn't enjoy sunny and 70 degrees?), I have to say I'm a little nervous.  Does this portend the summer from hell?  Is climate change speeding right up while we argue about whether it is indeed happening?  Sunday, thin winter light splashed on some young girls who were playing barefoot in the stream at the Morningside Nature Preserve.  In San Francisco, the rainy season hasn't yet gained momentum, just as our winter  hasn't here in Atlanta.  I'm hoping we don't get smited with spring freeze. I always feel like spring comes and goes before I'm ready.  Early as it is, there is no denying it--Spring has sprung.  Some garden shots saying it's so...

Fragrant Michelia flower

Buxus harlandii 'Richard' leafing out new spring growth

Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue' starting to peek out

The sedums (tectractinum, here, makinoi 'Ogon' below) starting to flush

I have a bloom on my aloe, which is still alive in Feb
Succulents still looking sharp.

Narcissus blooming through lavendar

Chaenolmeles in flower behind agaves at New Moon Gardens farm

Helleborus foetidus seedlings in spades
Helleborus niger Hybrid

Iris unguincularis at NMG farm that has bloomed all winter

Euphorbia chariacas in bloom

Senecio aurea in flower--one of the more surprising early blooms

Tricyrtis poking out from the leaf litter

Spirea thunbergii

Hypericum 'Brigadoon' with chartreuse new growth

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