I’d say Giverny’s pendulous wisteria clusters and tranquil Japanese footbridge combine to make for a proper muse, wouldn’t you? For those who didn’t catch a glimpse yesterday, our homage to this garden landmark is coming along nicely.
With the warmth of spring comes new growth. It’s a basic concept. But how plants know to flower as soon as the seasons change hasn’t been as crystal clear until now.
U.K. researchers have come across a plant gene—designated PIF4—that actually activates or deactivates depending on the ambient temperature.
According to the scientists involved, this is just one of two possible ways a plant can determine when the time has come to give up winter dormancy: measuring day-length and measuring the temperature. And for the plants with an “active PIF4” pathway, success in the wild is proving easier to come by. For the other guys—those that rely solely on the length of the day—the game is getting away from them.
“In the past 100 years or so, many plants that have just used day-length have become locally extinct,” says Dr. Philip Wigge, co-author of the study. Meanwhile, the plants with internal thermometers are increasing their range. —MN
What do you love? Erik Knutzen, urban farmer and urban farming blogger, gave us a tour of his homestead to show us all the little things that inspire his work. “I love too many things,” Knutzen says. “Way too many things.”