In Creative Homeowner's Gardening For All Seasons, it states that the "Common lilac is a good phenological indicator".
"Phenological indicators are natural timekeepers" supposedly better at telling us when to plant rather than going by the calendar or last frost dates.
It states, "Because weather conditions vary from year to year, timing some of your plantings by the development of lilacs in your neighborhood can be a more reliable guide than mere calendar dates."
"When lilacs begin to leaf out, (that is, when the widest part of the leaves grows out past the bud scales that had enclosed the leaf), it is safe to plant hardy annuals such as sweet alyssum, pansies, and calendulas. And when the lilacs are in full bloom it's time to plant tender annuals, such as impatiens and marigolds, as well as summer bulbs such as dahlias, gladiolas and tuberous begonias."
Considering we have a freeze warning again tonight and my lilacs already have significant bud formation, I wonder if this is truly a reliable indicator of when to plant tender annuals. I sure hope so, because I have a lot of plants inside that are getting huge and desperately need to go into the flower beds. A few plants have wilted and dropped over dead, I've probably over-watered and caused damping off disease. I also have an infestation of aphids, white flies and gnats on my indoor seedlings. I am so ready to move these plants outdoors!
I was wondering what you thought. Do you think this is a reliable method for determining when to plant tender annuals?