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April Showers Bring May Flowers… Or Do They?

“April showers bring May flowers”: That saying is thrown around a lot at this time of year. But have you ever wondered if it’s really true? Today, I’m taking a closer look at this well-worn phrase to see if it’s really true. Enjoy!

The Origins of the Saying

You may be surprised to know that this phrase can be traced back to a Thomas Tusser poem from 1557. The poem contains the line, “Sweet April showers do bring May flowers.” It also shows up in a proverb recorded in 1886, “March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers.” It’s largely believed that this phrase originated in the U.K. or Ireland because of the large amount of rain those countries receive in the springtime.

Is the Saying True?

This phrase is not as much a scientific fact as it is a hopeful thing to say when dealing with the many, many drippy days in April. The growth of spring flowers depends on more than rain: In fact, temperature plays a more important role in flower growth. As temperatures rise in the springtime, this signals flowers to bloom, whether it rained a lot or a little in the month of April. A rise in temperature combined with more hours of sunlight and a reasonable amount of rain prepares plants thrive through the spring and beyond!

Where Do Flowers Bloom in May?

Lots of plants respond to the warm temperatures and pop up in the month of May. In northern states like New York, some flowers that bloom in May include dahlias, geraniums, grape hyacinth, and peonies. In southern states such as Florida, some May bloomers include oleander, gardenias, African irises, and southern magnolias. Tulips, blue flag irises, yellow irises, and daisies are just some of the flowers that bloom in May in the Midwest.

Blooming at Different Times in the Northern and Southern States

Many flowers bloom sooner in the southern states than they do in the northern ones. This is simply because of the warmer climate in the south. As an example, the French hydrangea blooms in the late spring in Florida. However, it doesn’t bloom until early summer in Maine.

Super Bloom!

Maybe you’ve seen something on the news about a super bloom in central and southern California. A super bloom is a spreading collection, or carpeting, of wildflowers that is WAY larger than the normal amount seen during the average spring. This abundance of wildflowers is caused by a high amount of rainfall in the winter, cold nights, and cool days. The super bloom is going on right now but began many weeks ago. Orange poppies, desert lilies, sand verbena, desert sunflowers, and monkey flowers are just a few of the flowers that can be seen in the super bloom of 2019. I have a feeling the pictures and video on the news don’t begin to capture the beauty of these flowers.

Interesting Facts About This Famous Saying

  • A song written by Louis Silvers entitled “April Showers” was released in 1921.
  • The position of the jet stream in Ireland and the U.K. brings on the heavy rains in April.
  • There are 41 people in the United States with the name April Showers.

I hope you put aside a few minutes each day to admire the flowers appearing all around your home this spring. Every flower deserves to be appreciated, even if it’s not part of a super bloom. Thanks for reading. – Alan

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