I know this Spring is different from all other Springs, with five consecutive days at 80 degrees or higher here in Chicago alone, but nothing illustrates this to me quite as concretely as what’s happening on Michigan Avenue. Exactly one year ago, we posted a ‘Never Fear, Tulips are Nearly Here’ post about the tulips emerging oh-so-cautiously along Michigan Avenue. On March 29, 2011, this is what you could see on the southern end of Michigan Avenue, which typically blooms earlier than the northern end because it gets more direct sunlight

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Today, one year later, Steve Gierke took some photos of the medians further north, which typically bloom a little later than those on the south. (Side note: Steve is a great photographer – please ‘like’ these photos I posted on our facebook page if you agree so he has something to smile about!)

While the agreeable temperatures have me wavering between feeling delighted and unnerved, landscape designers, nurseries and landscape maintenance crews are responding like a bride whose wedding has just been moved up a month. Nurseries can only dig plants to be replanted in your landscape before their leaves and flowers have emerged. Designers have lists pages and pages long of things that need to be dug for projects going in the ground this year and the early, sustained warmth means that nurseries have had their window of time to complete these digs drastically shortened. More than one nursery has been up all night trying to get things out of the ground in time.

Landscape architects need this time, too, to identify or ‘tag’ what’s needed for various projects. To illustrate, this is a photo from early-April last year of John Evans and Mike Ciccarelli in their Wellies tagging redbuds for a project that was to be planted that summer.

And here is John and a nursery rep in front of a redbud exactly one year later. No Wellies.

I’ve written before about the importance we place on emphasizing seasonal change in our design and as I prepare to have several of our projects photographed, I’ve been bewildered by the way that bloom times are out of whack. The sudden warmth means that the progressive sequence in bloom times that make Spring a season of measured unfolding didn’t happen. Instead, snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils, and tulips are all clamoring for the spotlight at once.

And in honor of the spotlight, one last photo from Steve. Every tulip deserves its own glamour shot!

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