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Poor Will's Almanack: June 7 - 13, 2011

Flickr Creative Commons user david_owen
Parsnip Blossoms

Poor Will’s Miami Valley Almanack for the third week of early summer.

When the canopy has closed above the woodland wildflowers, when winter wheat is a soft pale green, and the clovers and vetches are all coming in, then it's the best time of year for golden parsnip blossoms throughout the countryside.

Catalpas and privets and hawthorns and pink spirea bloom now, and the number of fireflies grows in proportion to the flowers on the day lilies. The first nodding thistle, first daisy fleabane, the first great mullein open. The first raspberry reddens, and the first orange trumpet creeper blows. Bindweeds and sweet peas color the fences with pastels.

This is the high time for the wetlands' poison hemlock and angelica. In the shade, fire pink, and honewort are flowering. At the edge of the forest, wild plants include blue-eyed grass, silver yarrow, yellow sedum, bright moneywort, daisies, yellow sweet clover, wild roses, wild iris, dock, and smooth brome grass. Oaks and black walnut trees and osage orange have set their fruit. There are bud clusters on the milkweeds, buds on the delicate touch-me-nots, buds on the giant blue hostas, buds on the yucca, the purple coneflowers, the mallow, the balloon flower and the gayfeather. Wild strawberries are red.

Young blackbirds and grackles join their parents to harvest the ripening cherries and mulberries. Painted turtles are out laying eggs. The fearsome (but harmless) stag beetle waddles across your porch after dark.

Next week on Poor Will's Almanack: notes for the fourth week of early summer. In the meantime, look for wild black raspberries to ripen along the paths.

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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.