Saturday, January 23, 2016

Cherry Trees @ NW 19th & Lovejoy (2016 Edition)


Every January, I pay a visit to the two cherry trees at NW 19th & Lovejoy, just as they're starting to bloom. These two trees bloom absurdly early for a cherry tree here; it'll be weeks before the usual early-spring flowers like daffodils and crocuses appear, and normal cherry trees don't do their thing until April or so.

At first I couldn't explain this phenomenon. Then I blamed it on global warming. Then I noticed a maple tree on the same block that doesn't lose its leaves over the winter, and blamed it on some combination of global warming and a weird one-block microclimate. When I posted this year's photos on Twitter right after taking them, someone pointed out that there's an oddball variety of cherry tree from Japan that normally blooms around now. Which is a disappointingly un-magical sort of explanation, if you ask me, though I suspect it may be the correct one. Though that still doesn't explain the weird maple tree down the block. So I have two competing hypotheses now:

  1. We're seeing the combination of three independent factors: Early-blooming variety, weird microclimate, and global warming.
  2. The maple tree is an oddball cold-climate variety that barely notices Pacific Northwest winters, there's no weird one-block microclimate after all, and whoever planted the trees here may have done it to troll people.

I have no idea which of the two is more likely.

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