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Poor Will's Almanack: April 9 - 15, 2024

Peter Stenzel
via Flickr Creative Commons

Poor Will’s Almanack for the days of middle spring when the sun lies in Aries, and it's the time of the tadpole moon.

The effects of middle spring’s rising temperatures and longer days are always cumulative. Suddenly, the tree line is greening. Maples, oaks, mulberry, locust, tree of heaven, viburnum and ginkgo send out their first leaves.

Tulip season peaks and the delicate fritillaries blossom. Although some snow trillium and twinleaf are done flowering, middle spring brings budding time for peonies, meadow rue, large-flowered trillium, trout lily, Jacob's ladder, ragwort and sedum.

Bellwort leaves unravel. Hepatica, periwinkle, toad trillium, cowslip, rue anemone, shepherd's purse, ground ivy, violet and small-flowered buttercup are now all in bloom.

Pastures are filling with golden winter cress, purple henbit and dandelions. Blossoms could be out on a few strawberry plants, and hearts are forming on the bleeding heart. All the pussy willow catkins have fallen. Asparagus is coming up in the sun. Summer's jumpseed and zigzag goldenrod sport four to six leaves apiece. Comfrey and lily-of-the-valley are seven inches high. Wood mint is at least eight inches tall, and sweet for tea. Chives are ready for salads.

Turkeys gobble, and the earliest grasshoppers and tadpoles swarm from their eggs. The first goslings are born. Tent caterpillars appear in the wild cherry trees. Aphids hatch, and ladybugs come looking for them.

Skunk cabbage leaves are more than half size, ten inches long, eight across. June's chicory is six to nine inches. Ragwort and garlic mustard are forming clumps. Curly dock is almost fully grown. Watercress has filled the shallow brooks. Half the ginger in the woods has emerged. Cabbage moths are out laying eggs on the new cabbage, kale, collards, and Brussels sprouts. Grape vines are just starting to break dormancy.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the fourth week of middle spring. In the meantime, watch the fruit trees come into bloom all across the country.

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Bill Felker has been writing nature columns and almanacs for regional and national publications since 1984. His Poor Will’s Almanack has appeared as an annual publication since 2003. His organization of weather patterns and phenology (what happens when in nature) offers a unique structure for understanding the repeating rhythms of the year.