June 12: Phenology Daybook

The Daybook for the Year In Yellow Springs

June 12th
The 163rd Day of the Year

Among the crooked lanes, on every hedge,
The glow-worm lights his gems; and, through the dark,
A moving radiance twinkles.

James Thomson

Sunrise/set: 5:06/8:04
Day’s Length: 14 hours 58 minutes
Average High/Low: 81/60
Average Temperature: 70
Record High: 95 – 1902
Record Low: 42 – 1888

A cold and rainy June 12th can occur once in a decade (that happened in 1985: precipitation and a high of only 52), and thunderstorms pass through half of all the years. But the sun still shines at least a little three days in four, and highs reach above 90 on 15 percent of the afternoons, are in the 80s fifty percent of the time, in the 70s thirty percent. A minimum of 100 frost-free days remain in the growing season of the Ohio Valley.

Natural Calendar
Sawfly larvae eat the leaves on the mountain ash. Head scab and glume blotch develop on the winter wheat. Lace bugs cause yellow spotting on sycamores, oaks, and azaleas. The first generation of sod webworms is usually born near this date.

1983: First orange daylily noticed along Grinnell.

June 1984: First daylily seen on Grinnell. First raspberry turning red.

June 1986: Thimble plant and hobblebush blossoming. Wood nettles dominate the undergrowth, with clovers, elderberries, panicled dogwoods still full bloom along the roadsides. Tall meadow rue is still open at South Glen. Angelica and parsnips have as many seeds as blossoms. Milkweed is budding, timothy full bloom, cherries and black raspberries are reaching their best. Only a few sweet rockets are left. First chigger bite this afternoon.

June 1987: First hemlock is rusting.

June 1988: Worst drought since 1934. All the northwest Ohio crops are ruined. Lawns and pastures are drying up, thistles wilting by the side of the road. More animals have been run over on the highways. Few insects about, no water available besides the rare morning dew. At home, the strawberry peak is over, yucca is budding. Lizard’s tail is developing small bud heads along the river.

June 1989: Caye Caulker, an island one hour into the reef off the coast of Belize, at the beginning of the rainy season: 18 wild flowering plants, seven different shrubs and trees found. Familiar horseweed starting to bloom a month before it comes in at South Glen. I wandered along the mangroves, swam in the hot, clear water at the southern tip of the land, collected what appeared to be verbenaceae, eleusine indica, fabaceae, and ageratrum conyzoides.

June 1993: First carnation, and garden lily, last pyrethrum. Hawthorns are in full bloom throughout Yellow Springs and Wilberforce. On an oak branch fallen in the wind, acorns have set tiny green nuggets. Pink spirea shrubs are in full bloom. Silver olive flowers gone.

June 1997: Flickers call throughout most of the morning in the woods behind the yard. Cardinals are quieter now. Robins still chirping near dawn. Mourning doves calling, too. At the village pond, goslings half size, the size of adult ducks.

June 1999: Acadia, Bar Harbor, Maine: A late pink lady slipper found by the campsite. A local writer says they come out around the 1st of June. Lambkill/sheep laurel identified, circle flour, four petal moss flower, haircap moss. Blueberries: some still flowering, and some have set fruit. Tall meadow rue up but not flowering. More plants: tall Robin’s ragwort, three-toothed cinquefoil, columbine, wild flags, spreading dogbane, beach pea, white Labrador tea, pink herb Robert, witherod (viburnum cassinoides), yellow-flowered bush honeysuckle, wild strawberries, mountain laurel budded, yellow water lily, pink marsh cinquefoil, snowball viburnum, bridal wreath spirea, and full poppies (almost exactly 30 days behind Yellow Springs).

June 2000: To Springfield, then John Bryant Park: Wheat is rich green-gold. Chicory is finally open. Trumpet creeper seen blossoming on a telephone pole. Yarrow and elderberry full bloom. Orange honeysuckle berries under the canopy, leafcup and hobblebush ready to bloom. Last of the old maple-leafed waterleaf and clustered snakeroot, full honewort. Black swallowtail seen.

June 2001: Yucca in the yard, planted years ago, finally blooms, the first yucca in town, from what I can see. Elderberry seen open on the way to Chillicothe, forty miles southwest of Yellow Springs. Tall cressleaf groundsel dying back in the fields near Jamestown. In the countryside, parsnips and hemlock dominate, although the hemlock around Yellow Springs has come to the end of its cycle. In the water garden, lizard’s tail has formed its flower.

June 2002: First heliopsis bloomed in the north garden. Honewort full bloom in the North Glen.

June 2003: First chicory seen in bloom along the freeway this morning. First black raspberry eaten. Tattered, dark pink peonies still hold on the west side of Mrs. Lawson’s old house on the corner of High and Dayton Streets. No fireflies seen yet this cool early summer.

June 2004: Greg told me that the first butterfly plant (not bush) bloomed in his yard today. Very last cressleaf groundsel cut back in the north garden. Many Canadian thistles to seed along Dayton-Yellow Springs Road. Yucca full bloom in Xenia.

June 2005: The first monarch butterfly seen in the sweet Williams today. In the pond, the Japanese iris reached full bloom, then were beaten down by rain. The first water willows were open beside them. In the north garden, the first yellow daylily came in overnight and the first tall mallow flowers. John reported that mayflies emerged today at the Santee Cooper reservoir in South Carolina. He added that catfish were only biting on the flats, not in the channel.

June 2006: First fireflies in the cool evening.

June 2007: Last night was the first night of more than just a few fireflies. Today, the perennial yellow primrose is declining quickly. Monarda is heading up in the north and south gardens. Birdsong continues to change: doves still call, and the grackles are loud and steady, but the cardinals have stopped singing after dawn. First pink mallow bloomed by noon. Japanese iris finished their season with yesterday’s blossoms. This afternoon several young robins and fledgling grackles enjoyed the water from the sprinkler in the back yard. Adults continue to feed both the baby robins and grackles. One milkweed plant opening near the park this evening.

June 2008: The first Japanese iris opened overnight. The oakleaf hydrangea reached early bloom. The third daylily, a freckled orange, flowered. Panicled dogwood is coming in and Mrs. Timberlake’s feverfew is in full bloom along the Stafford Street alley, Don’s multiflora rose completely done, and his pie cherries showing some reddening. The first three red hollyhocks opened in the alley by the church, kousa dogwoods full bloom along Xenia Avenue. Some catalpas still in bloom. Ellen said she had found three cicadas when she dug the grave for her cat that died this week. She said she put the cicadas back where she found them. I got the first chigger bite of the year on my ankle this morning. I sat outside after dark, the robins singing strong until about a quarter after nine, and then the back yard was full of fireflies. They must have started mating at least a week ago – I just wasn’t there to see them.

June 2009: A hairy Osage fruit, about an inch in diameter, fallen to the sidewalk. Grackles still active in the alley trees. First flowers on the pokeweed. Groundsel flowers gone. Sudden bloom of tall, orange “ditch lilies.” Oakleaf hydrangea early full, wild onions headed. Some bright yellow Asiatic lilies open.

June 2010: The cottonwood near Lawson Place continues to shed.

June 2011: First red raspberries noticed at home, the few that escaped the deer. The east hedges are filled with full-blooming Japanese honeysuckle, flowers covering up the forsythia and the vines underneath. Pink spirea is full behind the peony bushes. Daylilies and purple coneflowers are budded in the southeast garden, and dahlias that I planted in early May are two feet tall among them. Privet flowers are gone along High Street.

June 2012: Yellow garden primrose. pink spirea, sweet Williams, astilbe, Heliopsis, stella d’oro lilies, catmint, roses, all the hydrangeas (pink and white), spiderwort, rugosa roses, still full bloom. I cut webworms cut down from the redbud. A monarch (or maybe it was a viceroy) came to the butterfly bush. What sounds like gray tree frogs calling from the honeysuckles. More day and Asiatic lilies slowly coming in. Starling fledglings still being fed, the yard loud with bird calls, especially the scrawing of starlings and the peeping of robins orienting their young. More zinnias transplanted, hellebores transplanted.

June 2014: A small fawn, maybe just a weeks old, legs so thin and delicate, wandered onto the front sidewalk from the south edge of the property, then into the east garden, ran when it saw me. Its mother has eaten almost all of one of our oakleaf hydrangeas. In the north garden, the hobblebush has put out its first white side flowers. At Ellis Pond, panicled dogwood (cornus racimosa) in full bloom.

June 2015: The very first two sundrops (oenothera fruticosa) opened overnight. Great spangled fritillary on the Anna Belle hydrangea at 7:30 this morning, a viceroy crazy in the west bushes at 8:45. The north garden’s hobblebush has all its white side flowers this year. Penstemon cut back, all its flowers suddenly gone. Catalpas coming down all along Polecat Road. Canadian thistle blooms soft and purple. Wild black raspberries about half ripe. First great mullein flower seen pacing the first sundrops. Deer in and out of the garden much more than usual today.

June 2016: Twelve lily plants blooming today, the stella d’oros nine of those, two ditch lilies and one everbloomer. First purple daylily seen behind Jill’s house. First Canadian thistles along East Enon Road. One great mullein starting to flower off Talus Drive.

2017: Thirty-one stella d’oro blossoms, two everbloomers, three Asiatics, five ditch lilies. On the road to Xenia, hemlock definitely fading. The last pond iris has withered. Sundrops/primroses hold, bright yellow patches in the north garden. The Anna Belle hydrangea has half of its flowers, hobblebush full. The pink-blossomed Indomitable Spirit hydrangea is reaching full bloom. One carpenter bee in the north garden: insects becoming so rare, I am counting them like lilies. Walking down Dayton Street, I saw a Great Spangled Fritillary, the only butterfly other than cabbage whites that I’ve seen in over a week.

Sweet June, dear month, while yet delay
Wistful reminders of a dearer May;
June, poised between, and not yet satiate.

Vita Sackville-West

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