In Bud

Plants need water, light, warmth and nutrients (generally found in soil) to grow. Our wet weather certainly gives them the water they need and the sun gives them enough daylight and warmth to grow. But after their winter ‘sleep’ how do they know when it’s time to wake up and begin growing again? Do the birds singing really wake up the trees?

As far back as the 1930’s, scientists have wondered how plants knew that spring was approaching. Recently, science has revealed that plants have an internal clock activated by sunlight and a sense of temperature. This lets them know when it is the best time for them to grow and have the best chance of survival. This is why some plants bloom or leaf earlier than others. For example - snowdrops flower before trees leaf, so they make best use of the available light beneath the tree before leaves come in and create shade.

Photo by Jonathan Clark

In the same way reducing the temperature and daylight tells the plant to lose its leaves, increasing daylight and temperatures tells the plant to grow again. The increasing day length also determines when it is time for the trees and shrubs to leaf.

Photo by Karen Oliver

Where to find it??

All over the Greenway (and anywhere where there is soil) there will be examples of new growth beginning or early growth blooming. Bulbs are peeking up through blankets of disappearing snow. Buds are swelling and ready to burst on trees and shrubs. Expect to see birds and bees make a re-appearance from last year.

Be Part of it…

Nature provides us with plenty of cues to let us know when spring has sprung and when it’s time to hang up the winter coat. While recent weather may have dictated otherwise, now that it's changing why not try and identify some of the Greenway trees with this guide to their buds.

Did you know it’s possible to identify a tree before it comes into leaf? How many can you find on the Greenway?

Here’s also our short list of Greenway plants that let you know spring has finally sprung. Daffodils, Cherry blossom, Tulips and Hyacinths. Please send images of your successful finds.