I have been in the habit the last few years of using my garden photography and blog posts as virtual markers for the seasons, and the arrival of the first tiger lily of 2010 sent me back into my blog archives. The first of these orange beauties arrived on June 21 in 2009, on June 18 in 2008, and on June 17 in 2007. Tiger lilies, which have the scientific name of Hemerocallis fulva, first bloomed in my yard on June 17 in 2006.
Thus, in keeping with the early arrival of an especially mild spring in 2010 in Northwest Ohio, it should not be surprising to find that the tiger lilies (also known as "ditch lilies") are beginning to bloom in my yard a full eight days ahead of the earliest date I have recorded.
No, I am not attributing any change in blooming schedule to global warming, though one might make a case that the 2009 El Niño could be involved. Many meteorologists blamed El Niño for the subtropical conditions at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, and we went frost-free in Northwest Ohio after about April 10 or so this year. Normally I use Mother's Day as my guide to start planting seeds, a date after which there is less than a 10 percent chance of frost, but this year I rolled the dice and started planting seeds around April 12.