In reading my latest mystery book, I came across a word that caught my eye: “vagaries”. I had a vague notion of its meaning, but went on-line to be sure. According to Merriam-Webster, it means “an erratic, unpredictable, or extravagant manifestation, action, or notion.” What a perfect word to describe this winter weather we’ve been having. My poor rose bush has sent out shoots of green, only to have them turn to black from the cold. The spring bulb garden has sprung, with one lonely flower already wilted and spent. The Helleborus Orientalis (Lenten Roses) in my side garden haven’t bloomed at all, most likely wondering if winter will ever arrive for good. Snow blowing sideways on Sunday, and tomorrow the high will be 57. The vagaries of weather indeed!
Last week, the USDA set forth the revised planting zones for the United States. These are the 13 zones that help gardeners decide what plants should survive in their yards. The previous 1990 map (see picture below) used temperatures from the period 1974 to 1986 while the new map uses temperature from between 1976 to 2005. Ohio, which was split between zones 5 and 6, now is mostly in zone 6. The USDA is distancing itself between the changes to the map (where everything seems to be shifting northward) and global warming. Granted, the latest map uses temperature extremes and better weather information such as acknowledging cities are warmer than rural areas and large bodies of water can affect temperatures, making the data used in 1990 less sophisticated than what was used in 2012. Personally, I think it’s just another indication that our planet is changing. That’s why it’s so important to do whatever we can to reverse the trends.
So, what do you think about the revised USDA planting zones?
Until next time!