US (MA): A mild winter and weather variability got plants tricked

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Karen Daubmann was wide-eyed when 50,000 tulip bulbs at the Garden at Elm Bank started sprouting 16 days earlier than last year.

This is just the second year the Massachusetts Horticultural Society has done “Tulip Mania,” a time when the bright spring-blooming perennials take over the Wellesley property, so there’s a dearth of historical data to draw any significant conclusions.

But Daubmann, director of garden and programs for the society, was alarmed nonetheless, particularly coming off the fourth-warmest winter on record in Massachusetts.

“It was very, very surprising that they sprouted so early,” she said. Even more interesting, perhaps, is the actual flowering of the tulips occurred on the very same day as last year because temperatures eventually turned cooler, stifling growth.


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