This photograph was taken last year in the David C. Lam Asian Garden at UBC on April 10. If the weather forecast for this week is correct, a similar scene should be visible this weekend. The cool spring weather in the local area has contributed to a closer-to-average timing of flowering for many plant species, unlike last year’s early display. While such phenomena as flowering times vary from one year to the next, studying the long-term trends can help inform about climatic changes on scales from micro- to regional to global. The recording and comparison of the timing of recurring natural events is known as phenology.
One of these days, I’m going to whip up a quick database to help the Friends of the Garden post the results of their fifteen year (or longer?) phenological observations of the magnolias at UBC.
Another note for local readers: I’ve two presentations in the next two weeks, both to the Vancouver Natural History Society. This Thursday, I’m presenting to the VNHS Botany section on “Plants of the Southwestern United States” featuring photographs from my recent trip. On the following Thursday, I’m presenting on John Davidson at the VNHS Annual General Meeting.