Sunday, February 7, 2016

Warm Christmas brings flowers to Concord

Posted by Richard B. Primack

“Snow driving almost horizontally from the northeast and fast whitening the ground.”  
-Thoreau’s Journals, December 25, 1855

In contrast to the white, snowy Christmas day that Thoreau experienced and that we typically expect in New England, record-breaking warm temperatures in autumn and December triggered a surprising flash of flowering throughout Concord and metropolitan Boston this winter. 

Common groundsel flowering on the edge of Walden Pond on Christmas

On Christmas day of 2015, a visitor to Concord could note the open pink flowers of Japanese quince in the center of Concord and the white flowers of hellebores in gardens. The Blue Hill Observatory reported that the temperature on Christmas day reached 64 degrees, beating the old record of 62 degrees and around 30 degrees warmer than normal for this time of year!

Brussel sprouts still green in the Hugh Cargill Community Garden in Concord on Christmas

This autumn in Boston is tied for the second warmest on record. As a result, some garden plants from the past year, such as Brussel sprouts and lettuce, were never killed by hard frosts, and were still growing and looking ready to eat on Christmas day. Around the edge of Walden Pond, red clover and common groundsel also continued to produce flowers throughout the autumn and into winter.

Yellow wood sorrel plant still growing actively because of the lack of killing frost

After our astonishingly warm week of Christmas, our classic New England winter finally arrived. A snowstorm on December 29th deposited an inch of heavy slush on the landscape, and a cold night then froze the slush to the ground. So long, warm Christmas; so long, flowers—we’ll see you again in the spring!

Read my full article about the uncommon winter in the Concord Journal: HERE

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