March 3, 2013

Maine Gardener: Seasons greeted with study of species

By Tom Atwell

(Continued from page 1)


9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay Harbor

March 19 at Maine Audubon Society's Gilsland Farm, Falmouth

March 21 at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center, Belfast

June 14 at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay

PARTICIPANTS ARE ASKED to register in advance for the volunteer sessions by calling 832-0343.


Red maple
(acer rubrum)

Sugar maple
(acer saccharum)

Common dandelion
(Taraxacum officinale)

Common lilac
(Syringa vulgaris)


Wild strawberry
(Fragaria virginiana)

Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

Monarch butterfly
(Danaus plexippus)

American robin
(Turdus migratorius)

Common loon
(Gavia immer)

(Archolochjus colubris)

(Ascophyllum nodosum)

Beach rose
(Rosa rugosa)

Everything is happening early,” Stanicoff said, “but not all species are changing at the same rate, and that could make things interesting. For example, it may occur that the Monarch butterfly and milkweed are not in sync, that they are mismatched, and that could create problems.”

Monarch butterflies are dependent on milkweed for food, and without the milkweed being available at the right time, the Monarchs could disappear.

Stanicoff hopes Signs of Seasons will continue for a long time. She said some researchers are looking at journals that gardeners wrote many years ago to figure out what the climate was like back then, but the scientific recordings from many parts of the state will be invaluable.

People who have participated in the program have both enjoyed it and learned from it,” Stanicoff said. “Even the Master Gardeners who have taken part have said they have learned a lot. It involves a step-by-step program that is put into a very sophisticated online database that is kept at Boston University.”

Part of the training teaches people how to submit their information to the database. The training sessions are free, and volunteers have to attend only one of them.

People can register for the training sessions at the botanical gardens through the gardens’ website,, or by calling 633-4333, Ext. 101.

They can also register for any of the sessions by contacting Stanicoff at 832-0343 or
For information about the program, go to or

Tom Atwell has been writing the Maine Gardener column since 2004. He is a freelance writer gardening in Cape Elizabeth and can be contacted at 767-2297 or at:


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