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Unusual Plant Behavior

Earth News: Rhode Island, USA
Jan 03, 2007
Cherry trees and roses are blooming now, nearly two weeks into winter. Pansies are popping, too. The warm weather fooled Mother Nature, tricking some plants and trees into growing and blossoming abnormally early. Similar happenings are going on at the Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth. Nearly 2,000 pansy plants are in full bloom. In addition, the Thousand Shine Rambling Rose is still producing deep pink flowers, even though it is off season. One white rhododendron is blossoming and there are a few bees in the air. “I can’t help but look at it every time I go out there. That it’s just bizarre it’s in bloom in December. No foliage, just blossoms all over. You wonder if it’s a larger trend or a freak of nature.” If there is a gradual drop in temperature, most of the early blooming plant varieties in the garden should be fine. However, “One day, if we wake up and it’s 15 degrees and it stays that way, we can see some damage.” This December was THE WARMEST ON RECORD in Providence. The average temperature for the month was 40.7 degrees at T.F. Green Airport — 6.8 degrees higher than normal. Another Providence record was almost broken in 2006: the warmest year. The total average temperature was 53.3 degrees for 2006, second only to 54.4 degrees in 1949. The strange climate is the result of cold Arctic air gathering around the North Pole and Russia. As a result, the Northeast part of the United States got warm air from the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. “Our [weather] patterns are like a see-saw. If we get our patterns from Mexico, the cold air goes to the Rockies and the rest of the Midwest."

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