Our Bushland Diary

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Here comes the rain!

The rain gauge has been dry for over a month, and we've had unusually high temperatures (up to 28 ~ 300C) during that time. We've been looking wistfully at the weather charts for Qld, which have shown heavy showers, and even flood warnings. But this week looks like the end of the dry spell for Ellenbrook; the Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting showers for the next few days. Hopefully this will be the start of the "winter rains".

The little kangaroo paws known as Catspaws (Anigozanthos humilis), and the local daisies called Golden Longheads (Podotheca gnaphalioides), have started to push their new green shoots out through the dry soil. Most likely it's the lengthening nights that are triggering this. Plus the cooler temperatures at night. I used to think that it was rain that stimulated winter growth in plants, but today I remembered about "photoperiod" and "day length" (which should actually be called "night length"). Soon we will see a flurry of botanical activity in our bushland and gardens, as seeds germinate, new leaves appear, and mature plants start to develop flowers for the coming spring.

Now, here's an interesting thing; "photoperiod" affects animals too. And people. There's evidence that too much artificial light at night is probably harmful to humans, and could affect weight, metabolism and mental health.
Perhaps we should go with the flow of shorter days and longer nights in winter; go to bed early, fall asleep to the sound of rain, wake up to a misty sunrise.

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