The white violets are blooming, at least next to the house.

It’s really starting to feel like spring here in North Pole, Alaska. Sunrise this morning was at 4:01 am and sunset will be at 11:37 pm this evening for 10 hours 36 minutes of potential sunlight, but civil twilight now lasts all night. Thanks to our screwed-up time zones the sun will set after midnight by the end of the month. Daily gain in day length has slowed down and will continue to slow until the solstice. Not that it makes a lot of difference, since it never gets darker than civil twilight.

Greenup has unquestionably arrived for the native trees.

We could still have frosts or snow, and I’m planting only the really cold-hardy plants like mint. Everything’s out hardening, though, and I’m no longer bringing the hardening plants in at night—at least as long as there is no frost warning in the forecast.

Native plants such as this wild rose have leafed out, though it's still a little early for flower buds.

The photos were all taken this morning, with the sun going in and out (mostly behind thin broken clouds.) It’s t-shirt and shorts weather. It’s been dry—the first local fire is being mopped up and I hope it’s not a warning of a smoke-filled summer to come. Still, this time of year makes Alaska a great place to live.

Imported plants such as this Amur Maple are much slower, and I still can't tell whether some survived.

Those time zones? Alaska standard time is 135° W, an hour west of California. According to my GPS, I am currently at 147° 27’ W. Add in daylight savings, and local time is almost 2 hours ahead of what it should be by the sun. Hence sunset the following day at the height of summer. (Already, in Nome, which is officially on the same time zone as Fairbanks.)

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