Since ancient times cultures around the world have used phenology, the study of climate-related cyclical patterns in plants and animals, to track the natural world and organize the human one. In Japan, for example, the blossoming of cherry trees is associated with certain festivals, some of whose dates can be traced back as far as 974 B.C.
Phenological records are an important part of climate change research. By tracking and analyzing natural events scientists can contribute to the growing body of data on climate change. Project Budburst provides an easy way for gardeners all over the United States to contribute to this research. To take part in Project Budburst, simply select a tree or flower to observe and begin checking it several weeks prior to its average budburst date (the point when bud scales have opened and leaves are visible). Continue to observe the tree or flower and record the dates of the first leaf emergence and flower bloom. Then submit your records online. You can view maps of these same events as they occur across the United States.
Favorite or New Plant
'Arctic Beauty' Kiwi
'Arctic Beauty', or variegated kiwi, is a truly eye-catching vine. In early summer when it leafs out, the large, tapered leaves start out green. As the season progresses, the leaves look as though they've been dipped in pink and white paint. Some leaves have all three colors and others only pink and green or white and green. Exposure to full sunshine produces the most brilliant colors. Like honeysuckle, kiwi twines and needs wires or a trellis to cling to. I tie the vines to the trellis to direct their growth. I grow my variegated kiwi as a decorative vine. If you want fruit you'll have to plant both a male and a female kiwi plant.