How early is Spring this year? That’s a hard question to answer.
This morning we have snow again in Pittsburgh and heavy snow-cloud skies. Spring feels late and yet it was early at first.
The animated map below from the National Phenology Network (NPN) shows the emergence of leaves across the Lower 48 States. NPN uses honeysuckle leaves as their marker plant and so do I. The blue color shows late emergence, red means early. Our leaves were 20 days early in Pittsburgh.
Here’s proof from February 20, 2018.
Since then Nature did a 180-degree turn and handed us a series of cold snaps capped by snow. Our wildflowers have not bloomed yet. Last year they were two to three weeks early and had gone to seed by the end of March.
Fortunately NPN tracks first blooms as well, using lilacs as the marker plant.(*) On the map below you can see the Southeast bloomed 20 days early.
But we aren’t on the bloom map yet.
When will our wildflowers bloom? We’ll have to wait and see.
(photo by Kate St. John. Animated maps from usanpn.org)
* From the USA NPN website: These models were constructed using historical observations of the timing of first leaf and first bloom in a cloned lilac cultivar (Syringa x chinensis’Red Rothomagensis’) and two cloned honeysuckle cultivars (Lonicera tatarica ‘Arnold Red’ and L. korolkowii ‘Zabelii’).