"And since all this loveliness cannot be Heaven,
I know in my heart it is June."
-Abba Goold Woolson (American writer and poet - 1838 - 1921)
Can it be June 2011 already? Have we gone from winter to spring and then to summer on such as fast and turbulent weather train?
The weather that brings beauty to one region, brings devastation to another.
The abundant rain in our gardens produces the most beautiful lush plants we've seen in years while rain floods many of our neighbors to the south.
The winds that strengthen the cells of our trees are wreaking havoc in areas where tornadoes have taken life and substance.
While planting gardens and flowers in our good black soil, others have had their soil tumbled and ripped by earthquakes and tsunamis.
And nature goes on in it's series of internal calendars. In the world of nature in Illinois, we may see:
Young beavers emerge from lodges, young raccoons forage with their mothers, box turtles and blue racers lay eggs, adult Canada geese molt feathers, gray squirrels breed for a second time, whitetail bucks grow antlers, bullfrog breeding peaks, chigger season starts, quail and turkey hatching peaks, pheasants incubate eggs, most deer are born and the bucks separate from the does and fawns, red fox pups leave their dens, most bats are born, American gold finches nest, American toads turn from tadpoles to adults, and channel catfish spawn peaks.
Of the native species: Purple coneflowers and butterfly milkweed bloom in prairies, cactus blooms in sand prairies. Other species such as peonies, poppies, and daylilies start full bloom. Clematis will put on a show.
I've found most of my perennials are blooming about 1 or 2 weeks later than last year. The heavy rains have beat down many of my iris and their blooms are now on horizontal stems. Peonies are traditionally ready for Memorial Day bouquets on graves but mine are just now coming on strong.
Insects are in full force already; beneficial as well as pest. Heavy winter snow cover and heavy rains are insuring this mixed blessing. (We've had ticks already.) These two weather factors are also insuring a heavy crop of weeds. Crabgrass is taking over the world - OK, an exaggeration but close!
The June Solstice will be on the 21st. Hummingbirds have stopped at many feeders on their way north and some may decide to make your yards their summer home. As the two butterflies pictured show, they are sporting their fresh wings and bright colors.
Whether panic, pest or pleasure, Mara Beamish had it right: “A garden always gives back more than it receives.”
(Garden facts from Jeff Lampe, formerly of the Peoria Journal Star)