Mar 16, 2009

Showing of the green

One of the more common meteorological pieces of folk wisdom we are taught early on as children – and recite often through adulthood (at least “up north”) – is that "April showers bring May flowers.”

But down here in south Florida we see the outburst of green start a month earlier in March …

Even without the presence of any rain, or not much of it, from January through the first half of May.

In fact, it was fire – not water – that was the catalyst for our biggest burst of green thus far. (Ground cover sprouts in a vivid shade of green reminiscent of what you may see at a St. Patrick’s Day parade.)

Without rain, that re-growth will eventually wither on the vine – so it’s not that it isn’t a vital part to keeping growing plants green – it is, it’s just that the primary “curtain pullers” behind the springtime showing of the green are (1) increase daylight hours and (2) the slow warming trend.

You can clearly see the warming trend in the daily temperature graph of Naples, Florida. Winter temperatures bottomed out in mid January at its long-term average daily high and low of 75º and 53º F, respectively.

Fast forward two months later, to where we are now in mid March, and the long-term average daily high is already poised to rise back over the 80º mark. That doesn’t happen “up coast” in Baltimore, Maryland until early June.

Then of course there is the increased sunlight too.

If you believe the saying that “children grow like weeds” … or is it “weeds grow like children,” (I can never remember), then “sleep” to the first is like “sunlight” to the second, as plants grow and green through the power of photosynthesis – and the sunlight hours which fuel it are now growing longer and longer with each passing day.

(Meanwhile, sleepy time hours are receding with each new night for those poor children!)

And don’t forget daylight savings!

That gave the plants a “free” extra hour of sunlight, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day – thus explaining this year’s especially green display.

What would those plants do without us?

(If anyone is scratching their heads on this last point, also consider this my April Fools Day entry.)


Betsy Banks Adams said...

HA HA Bob... You are just too funny... Wonder if the plants get all messed up in their minds when the time changes???? It takes me time to get used to the change---so I'm sure those plants have the same problems... Ya think????? ha ha ha

You'll have to give us that one again on April 1st. In the meantime, Happy St. Patrick's Day to YOU.

jozien said...

Ohhhh, I forgot how green, green can be, beautiful.
And as i understand it also has to do with the light. I am happy to know we are gaining daylight fast here now.

Bruce said...

I am ready to get some green on our lawn, but then of course, we'll have to mow it!

RA said...

The shift of seasons also occurs here in Indonesia. Today was extremely hot. I wouldn't mind if the green season with fresh breeze of air lasts a little longer :)! Best wishes.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Rob: That was an interesting post with the green and Saint Patties Day.

Deborah Godin said...

Those are gorgeous greens! We're still waiting up here (April shower country!)

Anna Carson said...

Your second photo shows how fire gives a new variety of flora the opportunity to emerge even when the water is scarce. As much as the increasing daylight and warming temperatures bring springtime showing of the green, the recovery from fire shows a third force: the tenacity of life. After fires--even after volcanoes--green returns rapidly, soil forms, and people forget the violence in which the new landscape was born.

Shelley said...

LOL Bob on the plants enjoying daylight savings too! Enjoyed your "GREEN" photos. I need to see some green here in Michigan. Think I have another month to go...

h said...

Great pics and an interesting read.
But we'd save a lot of cash/energy if we eliminated DST as Arizona did.

Janie said...

Ha! You're always teasing us, but your readers seem to like it (me included.)
Nice shot of pretty spring green.
The April showers thing doesn't work here, either. We might just as likely get snow in April.

Unknown said...

Thanks for your comments.

It seems to be a universal observation of winter guests, and almost as important as its warmth -- that south Florida abounds with green through the winter.

Up north the green of St Patrick's Day almost seems like the real thing, but we're knee deep in it ... so much so that we almost take it for granted.

And so true about the recovery of green after a volcano. That's a perfect analogy to the rapid regrowth following the winter burns.

walk2write said...

I would say pity the poor parents for whom the night-time hours are receding. Those (grand)kids don't want to go to bed at the usual hour, and now the dormant grass is growing and needs mowing!

Dave Coulter said...

Nice post...send some green up here will ya? :)