2010-03-27 / Front Page

It's Finally Spring!

Photos by Scott Rawdon

JACKSONTOWN – Saturday was the first day of spring, and it didn’t disappoint. Other than some chilly mornings, the season is off to rousing start. For all of you who wish you could skip school or work and wander Dawes Arboretum to view the early blooms, here’s a taste of how it looks.

According to Horticulture Magazine, there good reasons why some plants bloom before others. Early-blooming trees and shrubs—such as winter hazels, daphnes, wintersweet, forsythia, Cornelian cherry, winter jasmine and heaths—bloom so early that their blossoms are sometimes damaged by late freezes. What possible benefit could come from unfurling one's buds when snow and ice are still possible? The answer is that pollinators pay them special attention by blooming in advance of the spring rush. Winter-blooming trees and shrubs get immediate service. On any day or night when the temperature is above freezing, insects are out and about. The resulting gain in fertility for early bloomers outweighs their periodic losses from cold damage.

For the insects, too, there are benefits to a life lived out-ofseason. The night-flying owlet moths that pollinate native witch hazels, for example, enjoy a batfree existence (bats, so abundant on summer evenings, spend their winters hibernating in caves).

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