Winter showers bring …March flowers? It doesn’t sound right, but this year it’s true. The strangely mild winter followed by what can only be described as an early onset summer has everyone a bit befuddled, including Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy gardener, Angela Masters. Her entire planting schedule has been altered. “It feels like everything’s moved up a month,” she says, “trees, shrubs, and perennials are all starting to grow”. She’s thrilled to be getting a lot of her flower bed maintenance done early – such as the massive amount of mulching she must complete with the City – because it will free her up later in the season to focus on details she may not otherwise have time for.
As thrilling as 80 degrees in March may feel, there are concerns for our plants. “We could end up with some insect problems since it didn’t get cold enough for them to die,” Angela worries. Of primary concern are thriving insects such as the Emerald Ash Borer which threaten our City’s trees.
Another concern is that spring will “go out like a lion” as the saying goes, and the beautiful flowers we see blooming around us will be short lived when a late frost takes them out. “It doesn’t upset me as much if the frost takes them after they’ve bloomed, because we’ve had the opportunity to enjoy them” says Angela, “but if they freeze while they are still budding they never get to show their beauty.” Angela says that this is often what happens to Magnolia trees in this area, but thankfully Pittsburgh’s streets have already been lined with their striking pink blooms this year.
Enough doom and gloom. Let’s focus on the positive. There are beautiful flowers everywhere! Angela took some photos to show us what’s in bloom on March 15th 2012. If you love Pittsburgh’s park flower beds consider donating to our Daffodil Project.