The Southeastern Virginia Phenology Network is a joint Old Dominion University and Norfolk Botanical Garden scientific study involving phenology. This network was created in support of the USA National Phenology Network which collects and compiles phenological data from around the country and maintains a database for scientists, researchers and the public. Several important plant species are observed regularly at the Garden and other sites in southeastern Virginia. Information on bloom times, leaf out and other phenological information is collected. Plants being monitored in the Garden are located in the Virginia Native Plant Garden, Mirror Lake and Enchanted Forest.

Monitored Plants

The following species are being monitored for the Southeastern Virginia Phenology Network:

  • Acer rubrum (red maple)
  • Cephalanthus occidentalis (buttonbush)
  • Cornus florida (dogwood)
  • Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)
  • Pinus taeda (loblolly pine)
  • Podophyllum peltatum (mayapple)
  • Vaccinium corymbosum (highbush blueberry)


Phenology is the study of recurring plant and animal life cycle stages called phenophases. In plants, commonly studied phenophases include flowering, fruiting, leaf emergence and senescence of deciduous and perennial species. The timing of individual phenophases can be monitored using human observations on the ground as well as remote sensing with satellites and aerial photography.


Phenological data helps us understand the timing and fluctuations of seasonal cycles using biological components of the environment. Phenophases are biological representations of seasonal cycles and can provide evidence for changes in the Earth’s climate and the effect these changes have on biological systems. Phenology can be a valuable tool for many disciplines including agriculture, horticulture, recreation, conservation, natural resource management and health. Phenological data has been used to estimate the onset of spring, the length of growing seasons, the peak fall color season. It is also used to predict bloom times for individual species which can provide information on allergy seasons and garden bloom times. To learn more about how phenological data is collected and used, visit the USA-NPN Web site.


If you see plants blooming in the garden let us know! While we only submit observations to the national database for a few species right now, we hope to add many more soon. Submit NBG observations and photos to:

You can also visit Project Budburst which accepts any observation on any species and will post your name and photos.