Friday, July 25, 2014

Phenology: Mixed-Up Wildflowers

(Reclaimed from Bubblews, now with a picture of the honeysuckle discussed below, Lonicera japonica, courtesy of Mrmac04 at

This morning I walked all the way to the store. I thought I really ought to go to the Friday Market, because this is the last Friday of the month. Retired and disabled people get their pension money on the first of the month, so on the last Friday people who earn money throughout the month by working really should go in and encourage the vendors. But I figured the owner of the store would be in the Friday Market already, so I'd better hurry up and open the store.

On the way I noticed an unusual combination of flowers. Earlier this spring, stupid people sprayed poison on the wildflowers along Route 23. (Apparently the men hired to add grooves to the sides of the road don't know how to recognize poison ivy, nor do they have boots and gloves as most laborers do, so they have to destroy all the plants within ten yards of anywhere they work. I don't know why anybody would hire laborers like that.) Many flowers died back and failed to bloom earlier this summer. Then the polar inversion brought cool weather and encouraged some autumn flowers to bloom a little earlier than usual, and now some of the flowers that failed to bloom in June are trying to bloom. The result is a combination of wildflowers that a little child might try to paint, while an older child would "know" that these flowers don't bloom at the same time.

Except that, this year, they did. What caught my eye was early summer honeysuckle and late summer jewelweed blooming on the same bank. The other wildflowers now blooming along Route 23, all at once, are red clover, thistles, Queen Anne's Lace, daisies, fleabane, chicory, sweet peas, milkweed, morning glories, and a mimosa tree.

I'm not seeing butterflies along Route 23 at all, and I'm seeing an unreasonable number of dead birds of different ages and species. Living birds I saw, above Route 23 up in Wise County, were a robin and two vireos, but closer to home all I'm seeing are crows and pigeons. What a lot of beauty and richness we lose when people are too lazy to protect themselves from their pathological fears of poison ivy, or of snakes.

It is something, though, to see honeysuckle and morning glories in bloom on the same bank, on the same day. Or fleabane and jewelweed.