Field of Science

Petunias finally encounter the Grim Reaper

The petunias in the window boxes outside our front bedroom windows after producing a pink cascade for at least 5 months died two nights ago. This is not so surprising actually since petunias are not cold hardy at all, so the first good frost or freeze of the fall always does them in. But what was surpising is the date, November 18th, a very late date for the first killing freeze (about 25 F). The weather had flirted with frost a few times, but here in our urban heat island it was never frosty enough. Most gardeners recognized how late the season was in a variety of ways, and then they nod and say "global warming". While the Phactor is positive global warming is real, such departures from normal averages are just weather. Over the long haul more frequent deviations produce a climate trend. Models of global warming predict more extremes, hotter hots, colder colds, wetter wets, dryer drys, early snow storms, late freezes, and so on, but greater amplitude in weather may not cause a change in the means as they tend to average out. 2011 had a late spring, cold and wet, and it pushed flowering back (in comparison to 2010) but then a very late mild fall that was very good for the baby bok choi.

1 comment:

Beth at PlantPostings said...

Oh, sad about the Petunias. But, alas, it is almost Thanksgiving. Yes, the spring was late so we've been pleased with the mild autumn!