Has anyone observed any climate-change related impact upon the length of growing seasons?
Not here. We had a cold winter, a late cold spring and things are still trying to really get going with a long warm spell.No-- I could use a bit of global warming.
We had a late cold spring too. I'm hoping for a late fall to go with it to extend the growing season.
Cold spring here too coming from a cold winter. I don't know if you can attribute just a few years of data and blame it on global warming though.
But, last year we really didn't have any frost until after October 1st, which is late for us. A few years ago there was no major spring frost after May 1. Every year there seems to be some "hit and misses" though, you know, they forecast frost but it might not hit your particular part of town.
But, this year, due to the cool spring, we had frost even after the May long weekend. Fortunately, I covered my plants that night.
We keep photo records of our garden and this year we are about a full week behind the average. Our end of seasons (Fall) are hard to measure. It's diffuculy to put an ending date as 'Killer Frost' is a nebulous term for most gardens. Some plants (tomatoes and begonias) tolerate no frost whereas other annuals are often hardier than given credit.
The impacts of warming are evident in BC with the Pine Beetle in the interior and the coastal flora. The impacts of global warming are evident in loss of BC glacier ice and the northward progression of palm trees north of Victoria, BC such as Nanaimo, Parksville, Sechelt and Comox.
I asked a plant grower in the Nanaimo area to tell about his northernmost palm purchasing client. He replied Coal Harbour near Port Hardy is home to an established palm. Probably the most northerly along North America's coast. Port Alberni did grab my attention because of its distance from open ocean water. Yet there are palms in the small community. Having said that... I haven't seen specimens match taller specimens in Oak Bay, Saanich, Esquimalt, Colwood, Vancouver, Richmond, North Vancouver and Tofino. The oldest & tallest palm in Tofino was planted by Ken & Dot Gibson.
Vancouver has embraced the concept of global warming by surprising tourists. The city has planted palms in an area of English Bay. The Weather Network sometimes shows glimpses of the plantings. They should explain why these trees have made an appearance this century in locations north of California. They should also explain why Victoria, BC can get so dry in summer.
Nova Scotia is now more prone to hurricanes while BC is more prone to yuccas, cacti, kiwi and palms. Some people have started planting olive trees. Fresh, local kiwi fruit can be purchased in Saanich, BC at the end of summer. With all the damage associated with global warming there's at least benefits in crop selection further north. But then again more twisters and hailstorms (like this year) in southern Ontario might do away with that advantage.
Here is a link that might be useful: Palm trees in sexual reproduction (Parksville, British Columbia)
We have friends in Campbell River who successfully grow kiwi in their garden.
It's nice to see kiwis north of Salt Spring Island. Great image, Triple_b. Here's an image of global warming in Comox, BC. This tree (below) could not be further from the subtropics. Comox is more northerly than Ottawa, Ontario where winter is the real thing. But this image looks more like it was taken in San Francisco. Notice the crop of seeds.
Here is a link that might be useful: Global warming in Comox, BC
That would make kind of a neat painting wouldn't it? The kiwis.
Yeah it's pretty bizarre. But I guess as to Comox being further north than Ottawa, the ocean proximity makes a huge difference. Certain seaside places in southern England almost look mediterannean (sp?). They have palms there too.
I'd also try to get the kiwi vines on a painting when they flower.
The sw tip of England was a key to growing exotics in Vancouver because of the similar winters. The word "Canada" was a barrier for many and still is. But some transplants had climate facts in hand and keen observation. Homework done in sw England was applied to Vancouver.
It's time for another of my pseudo-California images. This time it's a nice Vancouver property.
Here is a link that might be useful: Vancouver, BC
I have noticed in Toronto at least, it gets warmer earlier in the spring. Last fall was very long and pleasant and enabled me to do a lot of work outside. I only regret when we went back to Standard time and 6:30 or 7am was still dark. I have an Albizia Julibrisin (hope it's right spelling), every winter it dies to the ground and appears in early June. If it continues to get warmer I may still see it blooming. For people who might like to see one in bloom, there is two trees on the street in St. Catharines blooming. Don't remember the street. The man who planted the trees also has over twenty varieties of Magnolias in his yard.
I hear on occasion that gardeners in southern Ontario or Halifax try Vancouver-ish garden plants and trees. It's always interesting to see what is tried across the country.
The Mimosa tree is native to Asia. This image of a flowering specimen was taken on Vancouver Island. It's not the best image of a coastal specimen but it gives the general idea. Look for pink flowers in a tree on the left hand side of the image (link). Click on image for larger version.
Visitors or new gardeners to Victoria & Vancouver, BC or San Francisco, CA can keep an eye out for specimens.
Here is a link that might be useful: Albizia julibrissin (Vancouver Island)
Although I didn't have any success in getting an Albizia to winter in my garden there is at least one that I know of in the Nanaimo area here on the island. It is well established and seems to thrive no matter what kind of a winter we have.
Last year it seemed like our winter started in September, not looking for a repeat of that and, I wouldn't be surprised if we haven't broken the record for the coldest spring on record. Spring seemed to arrive here this year around the 15th of June, let's hope for a long Indian Summer.
Aftermidnight, maybe it's bad luck. Some trees suffer from dry conditions in summer... or could it be pest? They are strong trees for zone 8.
Gulf island specimen:
April was cool on average. Actually the 3rd coolest (on record) on the island which was a bad surprise. But the La Nina winter was rather benign in Greater Victoria, milder than most La Ninas. The lower mainland did see wet snow like in classic La Ninas. Victoria would be on the fringe during those days but no lows like the previous winter which was the coldest in a decade. That did help me understand what I could work with in Greater Victoria. I would observe broadleaf evergreens and flowering plants during and after the cold spells. The cold used to occur more often but by the time I had moved to Victoria the colder lows were already further apart. I've noticed that many conifers in Greater Victoria are dying. I think it relates to the drought summers that have occurred more often in later decades.
Here is a link that might be useful: Pruned specimen in Vancouver
Landscaping can occur as fast as weather these days. An "instant garden" is being created on Vancouver Island with global warming in mind. Snow & frost still do occur on Vancouver Island at sea level. But the ocean has warmed a little over the years and that affects plants and animals on land. One palm in a garden does not seem significant but a grove of them gives the impression of a tipping point of the southern Vancouver Island climate. The weather this year does not indicate a tipping point on the island but the pine beetles in the BC interior seem to think so.
Here is a link that might be useful: Global Warming Garden
I live in Winona, Ontario, just at the southern tip of Hamilton. I have had a Albizia julibrissin for the last 6 years, it grows about a foot a year. It is now 15 feet tall, with beautiful, pink flowers all summer long. The tree is planted next to one of my lawn sprinklers, thus has no shortage of water.
I had always thought it was in the Mimosa family, especially the way the leaves fold up at nigh. However, I just learned it is in the Pea family, such as the Laburnum (Golden Chain Tree).
I am now experimenting with Cape Myrtle (Zone 6) and a hardy orange, the actual name escapes me, (supposedly zone 5). The orange is supposed to have a medium size, bitter fruit. At the moment is a very young plant, that has yet to see a winter. So whether is fruits or not is my least concern.
Here is a link that might be useful: Stanford's Albizia julibrissin page