The first daffodils of the new year burst into flower in mid-January after a period of mild weather. The buds on some of our trees and shrubs are swelling too, waking up for spring, although they might be nipped by frost this week.
The weather swings wildly from mild to cold at this time of year in mid-Atlantic states, according to the flow coming from the warm Gulf or frigid Canada. A century of temperature records for the Williamsburg area show huge standard deviations for the interval between last frost of winter and first fall frost. The growing season here is 30 days longer than it was as recently as the 1980s, and the maximum summer temperature in the past couple of decades mirrors the new peaks in national data. A longer growing season helps farmers and gardeners, but for every gain there is a pain—more exposure to ticks and invasive plants, and shrinking habitat for beneficial birds, etc.
Next post: Coping with grief from climate change