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Poor Will's Almanack: May 29 - June 4, 2012

Flickr Creative Commons user celestria

Poor Will’s Almanack for the second week of Early Summer.


Not long after cottonwood and elderberries and thistles come in, the last leaves of the canopy cover the land. When the high foliage is complete, then the wild multiflora roses and the domestic tea roses reach full bloom, the last osage and black walnut flowers fall, clustered snakeroot hangs with pollen in the shade, and parsnips, goatsbeard and sweet clovers fill the roadsides. Rare swamp valerian is blossoming by the water, and common timothy pushes up from its sheaths in all the alleyways, sweet for chewing.


Delicate Miami mist, pink yarrow, yellow moneywort, silver lamb’s eark, orange wild day lilies, oakleaf hydrangea, catalpas, hollyhocks and great mullein are in bloom. Wild onions and domestic garlic have their seed bulbs. Poison ivy and tiger lilies are ready to open. Daisies, golden Alexander, groundsel, sweet rocket and common fleabane still hold in northern pastures, but garlic mustard and ragwort are gone. The once bright violet heads of chives and tall alliums droop and decay. Buttercups recede into the wetlands. Petals of mock orange, honeysuckle, scarlet pyrethrum, blue lupine and iris fall to the garden floor. Nettles and grasses tangle with aging catchweed and chickweed.


This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the third week of early summer. In the meantime, watch for the orange day lilies to bloom, a sure sign of Early Summer.



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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.