Annals of Global Warming: Mexican plums blooming early in Dallas

February 17, 2017

Spring comes a few hours earlier every year as the planet warms; plants that used to blossom in March and April, now blossom in February. Mexican plum blossoms in Dallas, Texas, February 17, 2017. Photo by Ed Darrell, please share with attribution

Spring comes a few hours earlier every year as the planet warms; plants that used to blossom in March and April, now blossom in February. Mexican plum blossoms in Dallas, Texas, February 17, 2017. Photo by Ed Darrell, iPhone 6; please share with attribution.

Spring comes earlier every year in Dallas. Our Mexican plums used to blossom in March and April; for the past three years, we’ve had blossoms well before spring even comes. Last year we had a cold snap that took the young fruit out, after a premature blossoming.

It’s a sign of creeping global warming. Every year I marvel at Al Gore’s powers to convince our Mexican plum to blossom early, part of the “global warming conspiracy” so many fear.

That is, this is a symptom of global warming that cannot be faked, that is from observation, and not from models.

With flowers on fruit trees come hopes of a bountiful harvest. Dreading the underlying meaning of such an early blossom does not change our hopes, nor the birds’ hopes, for a good plum harvest.

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Maggie rose

July 22, 2009

Exquisite blooms of the "Maggie" rose (bourbon class) - in Kathryn Knowles' garden, summer 2009

Exquisite blooms of the "Maggie" rose (bourbon class) - in Kathryn Knowles' garden, summer 2009

Yes, I intended to leave the spent blossom there.  This is a real garden, where the flowers grow and fade.

Maggie is a “found” rose, robust in much of Texas, and a favorite of my wife’s.  The blossoms tend to glow, even at mid-day.  It will blossom all summer when it’s happy.  Maggie’s fragrance earns it a spot in Kathryn’s garden.

Maggie was one of five roses designated by Texas A&M’s horticulturists in 2005 for testing as one of a handful of roses easy to grow (read:  “difficult to kill, really”) in Texas.  Many rose varieties do not do well in southern heat and humidity — Maggie is one exception.

Maggie is a “found” Bourbon rose. It was collected in Louisiana by Dr. William Welch, Extension horticulturist from College Station. Maggie reaches 8 feet in height and 4 feet in width. Its flowers are medium red, very double, very fragrant, and it is a repeat bloomer. Researchers have found Maggie does best when trained on a pillar or fence. It is designated for zones 6-9.

“Arethusa, Jaune Desprez and Maggie are winter hardy throughout the entire state,” George said. “Bon Silene and Comtesse du Cayla, however, are winter hardy across most of the state except for Amarillo and the northern Panhandle area.”


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