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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Before Its Time

When you live in Laramie, you quickly learn that springtime can be such a tease.  One day it will be sunny and 60, the next a blizzard - and this lasts usually through May!  
The emotional rollercoaster of springtime in Laramie.

But this year, we've had an unbelievably warm "spring," and the plants (and insects - my first honeybee sighting was March 14!) are falling for her tricks.  In fact, one poor soul on the green roof - the Devil's Gate Twinpod (Physaria eburniflora) - began budding out in February, only to get frozen out a few days later.  It became the laughing stock of the garden plants, poor buddy.

But one plant in particular, the Fewseed Draba (Draba oligosperma), is a tough plant that is consistently the first to bloom.  This year was no exception!  This year it began blooming particularly early: March 23.  Last year, it bloomed on April 21, in 2013 on April 30, and in 2012 on March 30.

Fewseed Draba in bloom

Draba buds - more flowers to come!

Maybe it's just not the warm weather though... the blooming plant in question is located on a south aspect of one of the berms we installed last year (inside the red circle below).  That means it likely gets more sun and warmth than other locations on the roof.  Or maybe the mulch is allowing all plants to move ahead in their phenology - and other plants will bloom sooner than normal too.  

What do you think?

Location of the flowering plant in question.

Can't even see the little Drabas from here - but they're there!

We have a long ways to go until Spring actually arrives, and we look forward to seeing how the Berry Prairie springs to life!

Written by Brenna Marsicek, UW Biodiversity Institute

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