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Susie Malone

Club Chronicles: Do April showers bring May flowers?

The Cultura Garden Club will not meet the month of April because of restrictions prompted by the coronavirus. Nevertheless, members continue to promote community beautification through their spring plant sale fundraiser.

Deadline for ordering spring baskets and gardens is April 10, and delivery will be approximately the week prior to Mother’s Day. The funds raised will be used for beautifying the pots downtown.

In the meantime, we’re busy getting the soil and pots ready for planting.

April is here, and that’s no fooling!  There’s one phrase you’re likely to hear in April, especially when it’s raining, and that is, “April showers bring May flowers.”

However, our area has not had to wait until April for rain. It has rained almost every day during the past three months.

But where did this phrase come from?

Historians believe this phrase dates back to a 1610 poem, which contained the lines “Sweet April showers, do spring May flowers.”

The reference to April showers likely originated in the United Kingdom or Ireland, where the month of April tends to be especially rainy because of the position of the jet stream. The cooler climate in these areas tends to push back the appearance of many flower species to late April and early May.

Do April showers bring May flowers?  Scientists note there’s one factor much more important than rainfall in determining when a particular flower will bloom: temperature.   

When the average temperature begins to approach spring-like weather, flowers will begin to bloom, regardless of exactly how much rain they received in April or the month before they began to bloom.

The exact effect of rainfall depends on the type of flower.

For example, perennials die off in the fall and bloom again each spring. These are the flowers one think about when spring flowers start bursting forth. Since their bulbs have been in the ground all along, their growth and health depends on the rainfall over the course of many months.

Annuals need to be replanted each year. They are different than perennials in that they can’t be planted until after the threat of frost passes. Once planted, what matters is the amount of rainfall in the months after they’re planted – not the month before.

In some areas, a “false spring” can trigger flowers to begin to bloom early. If those warm spells are short-lived and are followed by a hard frost, flowers might die and not bloom again until the following year.

So it is best to hold off until a couple weeks before the final frost or when there’s no chance of frost for the rest of the season.

So now is the time to start planning your flower gardens. Besides, gardening is good therapy while you’re confined at home during this pandemic.