I had been thinking that this year’s spring was late.1 Apparently not. I was just checking records of last year’s spring via this blog and saw that the cherry trees looked about the same in 2007 as they do right now–about three weeks earlier. They were in bloom in the middle of April in 2007.
Now, with almost a week of March, 2008, remaining, the Royal Rainier and Stella were already at their peak earlier in the past week. Meanwhile the Craig’s Crimson and Bing have their first few blooms.
Many other trees have indeed bloomed later this year.
The winter just ended certainly resulted in more chill overall, notwithstanding that in 2008 we had nothing remotely like the highly concentrated cold snap of January, 2007. The best evidence of greater chill is that this year, the bloom dates of different fruit trees are more closely aligned than last year. That should be good news for pollination.
The Canadian White Blenheim apricot has its best bloom by far.
It has bloomed before, but usually staggering a bit, and before last year, it tended to bloom only after being almost fully leafed out–very unusual for a stone fruit. It has not fruited since planting (2003). Immediately behind the white apricot is the Flavorella plumcot, always one of the first to bloom and here seen almost finished blooming and leafing out. In past years it has fruited only sporadically, despite good blooms. It evidently needs cross-pollination, despite what the catalog said when I bought it. This year, with so many more trees in bloom simultaneously, things are looking up. There is clearly fruit that has set, though I have been growing fruit long enough to know that an apparent set in March is no guarantee of fruit to eat come summer.
There is even hope for the Hunza apricot. It has a few blooms, and appears to have set at least one fruit. I would not count on its holding, however.
Even in this year of significant chill, the Hunza’s delayed leafing (note the still-bare long whip branch off to the right) suggests it really did not get the chill it needs.
Spring is by now very well sprung!
- Measured by when fruit trees are blooming, that is. The equinox always arrives on schedule. [↩]