My friends, the Woodland Gnomes at Forest Garden, introduced me to a most interesting post by Cathy at Words and Herbs on the Ten Seasons of Phenology. That was a new term for me, and I submit that her post is a most interesting explanation. I hope you will read it. If I understand the word phenology correctly, it is defining seasons by something other than our traditional four annual seasons, but rather by their association with something else, including the plant world.
When I was writing Guess What’s in My Garden, could I have been practicing a form of phenology when I wrote:
“I mark the changes in my garden, not in terms of winter, spring, etc., but by the “seasons” of particular flowers. There’s camellia season, followed by daffodil season, then azalea/dogwood season, followed by iris/peony season, then daylily season, followed by phlox season, then crape myrtle season, then aster season, and back to camellias.”
This week, as I go about town, I have been much impressed with the changes in what I would call my flower seasons. Just a short time ago I was aglow seeing the cherries and forsythia and daffodils in bloom. Seemingly overnight they dropped their petals and became green with their new leaves. The redbuds have been beautiful…and are now just beginning to show their leaves.
The dogwoods are in full bloom.
Pink dogwoods and Carolina jessamin just add to the bounty of color.
And now most of the red maples I see around town have leafed out.
Probably a new color that seems to be cropping up all over town is one that most of us would rather not see. Invasive wisteria, gone wild in so many spots, also is showing its unwanted, alluring, grasping, but no less beautiful lavender vines, continuing to take over whatever seems to be in its way.
This is a time of rapid visible changes, both in my garden and around town. Azaleas are next, with iris and peonies right behind. I may not be quite the true phenologist (did I just invent a word?), but I do see the changing events in my garden and around town as a series of seasons.
My thanks to Cathy and the Woodland Gnome for introducing me to phenology.
Your description of the garden seasons seems right on target John. I spotted wisteria blooming yesterday along the highway for the first time this spring and though it’s a terrible vine to eradicate, I can’t help loving those purply clusters.
They are beautiful, no doubt. Seems like overnight it heaves itself out of the woods and is everywhere.
I have never heard of Wisteria going wild. But what a beautiful weed. I love the Cornus you seem to grow so well over there. It never looks so spectacular here.
The asian wisteria is extremely invasive in this part of the country. It seems like it is showing up everywhere. I agree with you that it is spectacular, but…please…not in my back yard.
Cathy’s blog is always a good read, John. The dogwoods are stunning…still waiting for mine to flower, hope they’re alright. What’s the Latin name of the Carolina jasmine? Looks great!
The Carolina jessamine Latin name is Gelsemium sempervirens. It’s a great plant, good climber (with support), and fairly vigorous grower.
Thanks for the mention John. And the word phenologist does exist! I was reading an article about how to prune your wisteria this morning… I don’t have any thank goodness as it can take over if not kept in check. I have never seen it growing outside well-tended gardens though. Those vines you photographed are tremendous!
What I photographed was growing “wild.” It’s not uncommon to see miles of it taking over trees, etc. along roads.
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Amazing how quickly things come to life in spring! And you sure have so much goodness happening in your part of the world! We aren’t quite there yet here but it is inspiring to see your blooms as for what’s to come!! Have a great week! Nicole
Thank you, Nicole. Things happen so quickly in such a short period after the weather warms, it’s fun to stay tuned on all that.
A beautiful post, John, and thank you so much for the link. I love the “phenology” approach to gardening seasons, as it is more authentic than gardening by a calendar. Our garden seems stuck on “fast forward” now. I noticed this morning that the daffodils so lovely a few days ago have browned out and leaves on all the trees are filling in. Our Iris have swelling bloom stalks now, so it won’t be much longer before the garden is filled with their fragrance. Looks like early summer in Charlotte 🙂 What a beautiful community!
Thanks, WG. My iris have just started to open…you will see them soon.
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