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Poor Will's Almanack: June 4 - 10, 2024

Goatsbeard with white flowers and green leaves
Goatsbeard

Poor Will's Almanack for the time of early summer, with the sun in Gemini and the moon is now the fledgling moon, when young birds leave the nest.

Not long after fledglings leave the nest and the exotic flowers of the yellow poplar open, the last leaves of the high canopy of leaves cover the land.

When the high foliage is complete, then the wild multiflora roses and the domestic tea roses bloom, the ripe black mulberries cover the sidewalks and the streets, and the last osage and black walnut flowers fall.

Clustered snakeroot hangs with pollen in the shade, and parsnips, goatsbeard and sweet clovers take over the roadsides. Rare swamp valerian blossoms by the water, and common timothy pushes up from its sheaths in all the alleyways.

Pink yarrow, yellow moneywort, silver lamb’s ear and the rough Canadian thistle bloom. Wild onions and domestic garlic get their seed bulbs. Poison ivy and tiger lilies and are budding.

Daisies, golden Alexander, groundsel and common fleabane still hold in the pastures, but garlic mustard and ragwort are almost gone. The bright violet heads of chives droop and decay. Tall buttercups recede into the wetlands. Petals of mock orange, scarlet pyrethrum, blue lupine and Dutch iris fall to the garden floor.

The columbines unravel as astilbe reddens. Nettles and grasses tangle with catchweed. Giant yucca plants send up their firm stalks not only in Kentucky but also deep in the Caribbean. July’s wild petunia foliage is a foot tall.

May apples have fruit. Tempting but bitter.

This is Bill Felker. I'll be back again with notes on the seasons and nature. In the mean time, skip the May apples and look for fledglings, peeing and flapping their wings.

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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.