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Warm Winter Confusion

Winter BlossomsHow will the mild, dry winter experienced in many parts of the country and Canada affect plants? Links from around the country suggest that mother nature is confused, something we doubt. It’s us humans who are usually the ones confused. Mother Nature always seems to know what she’s doing even if it’s different than what we’re used to. In New York State, gardeners are worried that late snows after dry winter months will endanger tulip and other bulb shoots as well as early blossoms on fruit trees. A Raleigh, N.C. nursery expects the warm winter will affect the number of peony blossoms. Peonies need a minimum number of cold dormant days to flower. On the other hand, the nursery expects a banner year for magnolia blossoms.

In the garden city of Victoria, B.C., plants were blooming and even bees were spotted working plants’ February! While there can be a downside to the warmer than average winter, Tim Johnson, director for horticulture of the Chicago Botanic Garden, says there isn’t much to do — or worry about — when it comes to plants and the mild weather. Those plants that are native to any area, he suggests, are best suited to surviving whatever nature throws its way. Now that spring’s sprung, what effects of winter are you seeing?