Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Thawing, Then And Now...

After a brief warm spell, winter has indeed showed up again at our doorstep, with freezing rain and colder temperatures. I seem to remember January thaws in my boyhood being rather more remarkable and beneficent events than the wimpy excuse for a thaw we've experienced the last couple of days... but then, I recall myself being a handsome, athletic, and well-behaved lad back then, while reminiscences I hear from my siblings on that topic are a little less spectacular, so perhaps the passing years have magnified and altered my impressions of that time.
At any rate, it has been called to my attention that a true January thaw is an event that rightfully is limited to late January; specifically the five days around January 25th. According to meteorologists, the lowest temperature of the year should, overall at mid-north latitudes, be January 23rd. However, more years than can be accounted for by randomness, see a brief rise in temperatures a little later in the month. Scientists call this a "singularity", meaning apparently that it is an isolated event without explanation, and therefore open to doubt as to its reality and significance. Others feel it is real; certainly the mechanics of the actual thaw are well understood: a brief switch to a flow of warmer air from the west or southwest, temporarily blocking off the polar air flow from the northwest. It may somehow represent some basic switch in air mass circulation from an early to a late winter pattern.
The one thing that is indisputable is that these winter thaws are far too brief; the deer today are shuffling around in the freezing rain, looking like they lost the winning lottery ticket, the juncos are sitting on the sidewalk staring grumpily at each other and at the sleet bouncing off the ground, and P.J. the cat just came thumping back inside through the cat door, meowing plaintively as if there was something I should do about the weather.
There is hope, as the long-term weather predictions call for a warmer than normal late winter here... we just have to first endure this little rough spot in the pavement, called January.
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Do you have any experience with a plant called Triteleia? (I'm browsing for Spring garden additions!) ;-)
Shady... I'm under the impression they're too tender for here (aren't they west-coasters)?
I'm getting mixed signals, as I do further searching around. About half the sites say Triteleia Queen Fabiola is zone 5-9 and others say 7-10. I'm sure there's something else I can find! ;-)
I planted Triteleia two years ago. It came up the next spring, but disappeared after that. We'll see if it makes a reappearance this spring. I've had that happen with a couple different things.

These are the days when winter gets really tough. A few teaser warm days then we get slapped back into reality again. Over and over until finally one day, spring stays for good.
You know I've run into that same big difference in what people say is the hardiness; I just know that I've never seen one in Iowa.
Hi Don,

Your post was pretty funny - I like the syrofoam cooler analogy.

I planted Queen Fabiola in TX and the bulbs never even sent up leaves, let alone flowers, but I saw a photo of Triteleia growing in Oklahoma and thought the flowers were charming.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose
Come to think of it, I have Dichelostemma ida-maia growing in the garden, and hasn't that been lumped into triteleia?
I'm not sure we're talking about the same thing. This is what I had, and that's where I got them, although mine were pale yellow, not white.
According to the Plant Files at Dave's Garden, Dichelostemma and Triteleia both have synonym classifications as Brodiaea, but it's a secondary listing there.
Kylee... yah, I see you're right. I knew that wasn't what you had, but I thought I read somewhere that dichelostemma and triteleia had been lumped in the same genus, and I was just correcting myself when I said I had never grown triteleia, but I guess these are still separated in the brodiaea group as you state, so I guess I've never grown triteleia after all, though the fact that something at least related gives me a little curiosity about what would survive here. By the way, if you want to see a cool listing of the bulbs in this whole group, go to Telos Bulbs website http://www.telosrarebulbs.com/

Oh boy, now you've gone and done it. I hadn't been to Telos's website in quite awhile. And now, I want this. Well, I want more, but that's screaming at me quite loudly at the moment.
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