Monday, May 21, 2012

Project BudBurst Needs YOU

by Kelly

We're renting, and while I miss the garden I actually made with my own two hands, there are any number of flowering plants here for me to look at. And, since I'm not completely sure what some of them are, I spend a lot of time on the computer, using this plant identifier site.

That's why, when I saw an article about Project BudBurst in my local paper, I signed up right away. After all, it combines science and gardening - how could I refuse?

Project BudBurst is an online project which is tracking climate change and how that is affecting plants across the U.S. Basically, they want to know when certain plants leaf out, flower, seed, and drop their leaves in the fall. The official  word for this is Phenology (not to be confused with Phrenology, which is reading the bumps on someone's head - but if you want to find out if you have the bumps which denote spirituality or marvelousness, click here).

The list of plants they're tracking ranges from common ones like dandelion and lilac to things like Black Locust and Henbit deadnettle (which sounds like a goth band, but is actually quite a girly pink flower). I've signed up to track a few plants, which I would actually be doing anyway every time I walk outside.

Henbit via Wikipedia
Signing up is kind of a chore, since this is science, after all, and they need all sorts of specific information like latitude and longitude and your elevation. The site helps you figure out all this information though, and that can be interesting too, especially when you discover that your particular town is basically located in a great big mud puddle (something you might have suspected for years, but now you will be able to prove that scientifically). And they have an app (yes, there's an app for that) for Android, so it's easy to enter the information.

But if signing up isn't your thing, you can make a 'one time observation'. For example, if the lilacs just bloomed in your front yard, you can visit the BudBurst website and let them know.

Cherry blossoms via The Quilting Sword
This whole idea isn't new, though - the Japanese have been tracking cherry blossom bloom times for years, and they even have a special forecast for this event. For some absolutely stunning cherry blossom pictures, like the one above, pay The Quilting Sword a visit. And by the way, that is the coolest blog name ever. I wish I had thought of it.

So if you've got a bit of a garden, and you've noticed that your flowers are coming up early, why not visit Project BudBurst and let them know? Maybe the planting zones are changing for good, and those of us up here in chilly zone 5 will one day be able to plant all those pretty warm climate flowers. If that's true, it would be nice to know.

 Meanwhile, I'm going out to take pictures of what's blooming today. Flower pictures will be coming soon.

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