Phenology (contraction of phenomenology) is that science which considers the relationship of local climate to the periodicity of the annual phenomena of nature. It usually studies climate and the progression of the seasons in terms of plant and animal life, as the dates of migrations, of blooming, leafing, ripening of fruit, defoliation, and the like. If observations are to have permanent value, they must be taken with a definite purpose. The particular objects of phenological observations are the following: —

1.    To determine the general oncoming of spring.

2.    To determine the fitful or variable features of spring.

3.    To determine the epoch of the full activity of the advancing season.

4.    To determine the active physiological epoch of the year.

5.    To determine the maturation of the season.

6.    To determine the oncoming of the decline of fall.

7.    To determine the approach of winter.

8.    To determine the features of the winter epoch.

9.    To determine the fleeting or fugitive epochs of the year.

Good phenological observations upon plants should satisfy the following tests, as given by Hoffmann: —

1.    They should represent as broad a distribution as possible of the given species, selected for observation.

2.    Ease and certainty of identifying the definite phases which are to be observed.

3.    The utility of the observations as regards biological questions, such as the vegetative periods, time of ripening, etc.

4.    Representation of the entire vegetation period.

5.    Consideration of those species which are found in almost all published observations, and especially of those whose development is not influenced by momentary or accidental circumstances, as is the dandelion.

The epochs of vegetation that should be observed for most phenological purposes are these: —

1.    Upper surface of the leaf first visible or spread open.

2.    First blossoms open.

3.    First fruit ripe.

4.    All leaves, or more than half of them, colored.

Typical and average plants should always be selected for observation, and they should be few in number. A dozen well-selected species will afford more satisfactory records year by year than observations made at random upon a great variety of plants. For the sudden moods of spring, the peach and dandelion are useful for observation, but such plants — those which respond quickly to every fitful variation of the early season - are not reliable for the staple records of the years. Useful plants for study are the following: Apple.                                            Cultivated Strawberry.

Pear.                                              Lilac.

Quince.                                           Mock Orange (Philadelphus).

Plum.                                             Horse Chestnut.

Sweet Cherry.                                Red-pith Elder

Sour Cherry.                                  Common Elder.

Peach.                                            Flowering Dogwood.

Choke Cherry.                               Native Basswood.

Wild Black Cherry.                       Native Chestnuts.

Japanese or Flowering Quince. Privet or Prim.

Cultivated Raspberry.                   Red Currant.

Cultivated Blackberry.                  Cultivated Grape.

Climate and Crop Production; keeping Records (Wilson)

Every farmer understands that a very intimate relation exists between climatic conditions - the average temperature, rainfall, and sunshine - and the growth of plants ; but not all farmers appreciate the full significance of the climatic factor in crop production.

An officer of a state college of agriculture recently asked five members of the faculty to assign respective values to the three main factors affecting the average yield of corn under the climate of the forty-second parallel. The factors considered were: soil, including texture, fertility, and cultivation ; climate, including temperature, rainfall, and sunshine ; and seed. The average of the five estimates on the basis of 100 were for soil, 46; climate, 36; and seed, 17. Three out of the five gave to climate a value of 40, one 35, and one 25, and two out of the five gave climate and soil equal values.

If these estimates are near the truth, it becomes apparent that climate is nearly, if not quite, as important a factor in crop production as soil, and much more important than seed; yet it receives but scant attention from the average agriculturist, probably because climate, unlike soil and seed, is beyond the control of man.

The weather is a variable factor, because it changes from day to day, from week to week, and from season to season. But climate is a permanent factor ; for climate, which is the average of all the weather, does not change, except possibly through long geological periods. When the climate of a locality has been once determined, it may be counted on absolutely. What the climate is for this generation it will be for the next, and the next, so far as we can see. It could not be otherwise, for climate in the large is the result of the sun's heat, modified by the topography of the earth's surface — the mountains, the valleys, the oceans; and " so long as the sun shines with his accustomed vigor and the hills and the seas abide in their places," so long will the climate of every locality remain unchanged. The fact that crops now are grown successfully in what are considered arid regions, and are being pushed farther and farther into the frosty north, has been cited in support of the contention that the climate is changing ; but these changes in the area of successful production have not been brought about by an increase of rainfall on the one hand, or of temperature on the other, but by new methods of cultivation and seed selection, and better adaptation of human practices to natural conditions.

We may rely, therefore, upon the permanency of the climatic factor in crop production. The weather may vary by a small margin from year to year, or from one season to the next, but the average temperature, rainfall, and sunshine for so short a period as ten years will depart so little from the true normal climate that the departure may be neglected in actual practice.