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Poor Will's Almanack: July 3 - 9, 2012

Rose of Sharon
Flickr Creative Commons user Forest Mind

Poor Will’s Almanack for the Second Week of Middle Summer.

When corn is tasseling, and tomatoes are ripe and zucchini are spreading like lemmings, then all the middle-summer flowers are in bloom. Purple loosestrife, lizard’s tail, Queen Anne’s lace, purple coneflower, wild petunia, bouncing bet, dayflower, sow thistle, white vervain, dogbane, black-eyed Susan, leatherflower, figwort, lesser stitchwort, germander, pokeweed, St. John’s wort, teasel, wild lettuce, wood mint, wood nettle, leafcup, touch-me-not, lopseed and avens are all blossoming in the woods and fields.

The potato and summer apple harvests begin under the auspices of the field corn tassels and red tomatoes and giant zucchini . The number of vegetable varieties increases at the farmers’ markets, and locally grown sweet corn appears on roadside stands throughout the Miami Valley.

The first of the midsummer hostas and the gayfeather show in the garden as the thistledown unravels. Asiatic lilies enter full bloom. The rose of Sharon and the phlox are opening.

May's goslings and ducklings are almost grown. Tiny waterstriders hatch in the ponds just as alewives head back to the Atlantic from their estuaries along the East Coast. The behavior of raccoons, opossums and groundhogs becomes erratic in the heat. Fledgling robins, blackbirds and blue jays are in the honeysuckle bushes eating red and orange berries. Young great blue herons leave their rookeries. Soon the rough-winged swallows will lead the fall migrations south.

As July deepens, Rose Of Sharon Season takes over the hedgerows, and Phlox Season opens in the gardens. Out in sunny fields, wander in search of Purple Loosestrife Season, Queen Anne’s Lace Season, Purple Coneflower Season, Wild Petunia Season, Bouncing Bets Season, Blue Dayflower Season, White Vervain Season, St. John’s Wort Season, Germander Season, Pokeweed Season, and Wild Lettuce Season.

In the shade of the canopy, find soothing Tall Bellflower Season, refreshing Wood Mint Season, and surprising Touch-Me-Not Season. In the ponds and creeks, Water Plantain Season and Arrowhead Season, Water Hemlock Season and Water Horehound Season complement the water.

This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the third week of middle summer. In the meantime, listen for cicadas to be singing, the sound of the year’s high tide.

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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.