Even though the temperatures are still flirting with winter, it’s almost May and spring is really, truly here. Can summer be far behind?
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Park is waking up and a lot of new species are in bloom.
Let’s check them out.
Earlier this week, novelist Jonathan Franzen wrote an essay for the New Yorker wherein he bemoaned what he sees as the disproportionate focus on climate over nature- specifically birds. This prompted Grist’s David Roberts to respond that in his wide experience writing about the environment, everyone has a climate thing. And that’s a good thing.
Even though it may not necessarily feel like it, spring is here! Finally! And that means it’s time for the Park to wake up and start going through its fascinating bloom cycle. This year, we’re going to let you know which plants are in bloom and some information about each one.
Then we hope you’ll visit the Park to see each species live and blooming in person.
First the good news: Monarch butterfly populations, which had fallen to alarmingly low levels in 2013, rebounded slightly in 2014. But we need to do a lot more to insure that these amazing little creatures can thrive. They’re very good indicators about the health of the environment in general, and if they fail, it’s likely that we will soon follow.
However human development continues to consume more and more Monarch habitat. So what can we do to turn this situation around?
The answer? Milkweeds.
After a number of years of studying mysterious bee behavior and colony collapse disorder, this past May Harvard researchers announced a connection between massive bee die-offs and neonicotinoid pesticides. Bees are responsible for pollinating as much as a third of our food supply- without them, foods like strawberries and almonds would disappear completely, along with many other favorite foods. Gardeners and fresh food advocates have been lobbying for something to be done, and now Home Depot and BJ’s Wholesale Club are responding by agreeing to limit or eliminate neonicotinoids from all nursery plants by the end of 2014, or else have suppliers add warning labels like “caution to pollinators”. The hope is that this will add a cost burden to the production of pesticide-laden plants.