Yes, I was aware that the weather has been abnormally warm in Kansas this season. I know that the Bluebirds have stayed put this winter rather than heading south for a month or two. A Kansas duck hunter told me that this season is the best hunting season he's ever known because the geese are staying farther north this year. I, myself, was about ready to start pruning roses yesterday (something I've never done in January before since I value the mobility and integrity of my fingers).
Even knowing all that, I was still surprised when yesterday, on January 29th, I discovered the flower pictured at the right above, giving me this solitary bloom on January 29th in an east-exposed bed next to the house. This is a Genista lydia, a shrub I planted some years back and then promptly forgot whatever was the actual cultivar name. I planted it originally due to some plant propaganda leaflet dropped upon me that raved about how drought and deer resistant the Balkan native was. In fact, I've found it so invasive here since I planted it that I've been trying to grub it out for the past 2 years. Part of the Fabacaea family, it is a low-growing deciduous shrub classified by some as a groundcover and by others as a pernicious pest. The pea-like bright yellow flowers bloom only a short time, but they bloom thickly, covering the plant.
I knew that Genista is one of the earliest in my landscape to bloom, but this time it has outdone itself for horticultural confusion. Blooming on January 29th? The earliest I've previously noted Genista to begin blooming was March 5th (in 2005). Based on that timeline, I should expect to see forsythia blooming within the next week and daffodils by mid-February. This goes far beyond the USDA's announcement last week, that my garden has moved an entire climate zone south, from Zone 5B to Zone 6A. I must have slept through the move because I don't remember potting things up and replanting.
On one hand, I hate it when WEE's (Wild-Eyed Environmentalists) get any evidence in their favor. I haven't been a big believer in the idea that Man, however stupid we are, can destroy the Earth, but I am starting to waver in my conviction. We may be setting record temperatures today, January 30th, when it is supposed to reach a balmy 70F in Topeka, but I always try to keep in mind that the previous record on January 30th was set in 1974, a time when I recall that scientists were predicting industrialization would result in a new Ice Age. If the experts can change their minds, why can't I?
On the other hand, why fight it? At this rate, a couple of more decades of global warming and I'll be in Zone 7 and can grow real antique Tea Roses in my garden. Wouldn't that be something?