Friday, October 5, 2012

Diary of a Dry Summer



From Illinois State Climatologist

From Illinois State Climatologist
Here are a few journal entries from this summer. Today it is 48 degrees, damp, gray; small chance for late green tomatoes to ripen. Was the summer really so extreme?

April 1 -- Cloudy, 50s. Weeded for 2 1/2 hours -- bindweed, creeping Charlie, dandelions, quackgrass, the occasional ginkgo seedling. So many plants just kept growing, this winter that wasn't. It was as though we'd migrated to zone 6B or 7 - now I know why people south of us dread, sweet autumn clematis, English ivy, butterfly bush: all usually kept decently within bounds by a properly cold winter, but not this year. So I see first-hand how some invasiveness happens.

I also notice that certain plants--bleeding hearts for example, have bloomed early, before they got as large as usual. Other things seem to be on a more-or-less normal schedule -- because they respond more to photoperiod than warmth?

May 27 -- 95 degrees today, a record. Have been watering for a couple of days. We are in something of a drought, and with the unseasonable temperatures many plants seem stressed: strawberries flopped over and may not have any fruit to speak of, raspberry looking pale, butterfly weed leaves curing. Rarely have I had to water this early. Of course I've never seen a winter or spring like this one.