Project BudBurst Cherry Blossom Blitz
Become a citizen scientist! Join the Gardens in participating in the Project BudBurst Cherry Blossom Blitz March 20-April 30, 2012. Project BudBurst is a "citizen science" project, conducted by a network of people - from schoolchildren to gardeners to amateur naturalists - across the United States who monitor plants as the seasons change. Get motivated by exploring the cherries (Prunus sp.) here at the Gardens (see map). You can participate by observing the life events of one or more cherries and share your observations on the Project BudBurst website or the Android Mobile BudBurst app. Kiosks are available in the Boettcher Memorial Center to upload data.
The data you collect will help scientists learn more about the responsiveness of individual plant species to changes in climate locally, regionally and nationally.
Spring is in the Air, and Living Things Show It
This time of year, you can’t help but notice the changes happening in the landscape. Despite the occasional spring snowstorm, trees bloom and start to leaf, migratory birds return, and spring bulbs burst into bloom. Scientists are interested in the timing of biological events like these and their relationship to our climate. This discipline, called phenology, examines phenomena that are relatively easy to observe and extremely sensitive to variations in the climate.
Temperature, water and nutrient availability are all affected by climate change, which can result in changes in leafing, flowering and fruiting of plants (phenophases), as well as in the life cycles of animals. These changes ripple through the ecosystem, affecting things like interactions with pests, diseases and pollinators. In ecological research, understanding phenology is critical to the timing of seasonal work like seed collection and plant population monitoring, while agricultural scientists and farmers use it to plan everything from planting to pest management to crop harvest.
Cherries in the Gardens
The genus Prunus includes a large group of deciduous and evergreen shrubs and trees such as almond, apricot, cherry, nectarine, peach and plum. The two main cherries grown for their fruits are the sweet (P. avium) and sour (P. cerasus) cherries. Numerous species have been bred for their blossoms, which are the flowering cherries. Flowering cherries bear flowers that are white or varying shades of pink, during mid- to late spring.