The 153rd Day of the Year
When June is here – what art have we to sing
The whiteness of the lilies midst the green
On noon-tranced lawns? Or flash of roses seen
Like redbirds’ wings? Or earliest ripening
Prince-Harvest apples, where the cloyed bees cling
Round winey juices oozing down between
The peckings of the robin, while we lean
In under-grasses, lost in marveling?
James Whitcomb Riley
Day’s Length: 14 hours 50 minutes
Average High/Low: 78/57
Average Temperature: 68
Record High: 98 – 1895
Record Low: 41 – 1910
Most June 2nds are pleasant and warm with highs in the 70s or 80s (35 percent chance for each), with the remaining 30 percent evenly divided between 90s and 60s. Completely cloudy conditions occur four days out of ten. Rain falls half the time on this date, but this is the last day until June 20th that chances of precipitation are so high.
Not long after peonies and the flowers of the yellow poplar end their seasons, just past the close of poppies, 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 are in full bloom, the last Osage and black walnut flowers fall, clustered snakeroot loses its pollen in the shade, and parsnips, goat’s beard and sweet clovers take over the roadsides. Rare swamp valerian blossoms by the water, and common timothy pushes up from its sheaths in alleyways.
Delicate Miami mist, pink yarrow, yellow moneywort, silver lamb’s ear, poison ivy and the rough Canadian thistle bloom. Wild onions and domestic garlic have their seed bulbs. Catalpas are in flower. Daisies, golden Alexander, groundsel, sweet rocket and common fleabane still hold in the pastures, but garlic mustard and ragwort are gone. The bright violet heads of chives decay. Tall buttercups recede into the wetlands. Petals of mock orange, honeysuckle, scarlet pyrethrum, blue lupine and Dutch iris have dropped to the garden floor.
At ten o’clock at night, Virgo lies due south, and bright Arcturus, the largest star in the central sky, is almost overhead. The Milky Way fills the eastern half of the sky, running from the north and “Z” shaped Cassiopeia, through Cygnus the Swan, then through Aquila and finally to Scutum and Sagittarius deep in the southeast. Before dawn, the Milky Way is in the center of the sky, the Great Square moving in from the East, fertile Pisces right behind it. To the far west, the spring planting star, Arcturus, is the brightest setting star.
1981: First strawberries from the garden for breakfast.
1982: First peonies decaying.
1983: Yarrow budding in far South Glen, sweet Cicely, garlic mustard, winter cress, spring cress declining, sweet rocket strong, a few wild geraniums left, touch-me-nots and nettles three feet tall, angelica six feet and blooming, tall meadow rue four feet, poison hemlock still not open, parsnips beginning, wild petunia foliage becoming prominent, about a foot high. First baby blackbird in the yard.
1984: First young blackbird in the yard today. Catalpas budding, Siberian iris bloom, first yellow sweet clover, buckeyes with smooth fruits.
1986: First Canadian thistle and blueweed found blooming along the railroad tracks. End of the peonies today
1989: First strawberries for breakfast.
1992: All iris, small and large, in late bloom. Mock orange holding, second tier of daisies opening, red pyrethrum older but still beautiful, rockets going to seed, some ranunculus gone, bright orange geum holding. Peak of strawberries. Multiflora roses seen from the road.
1993: All locust flower clusters are brown now. Sycamore leaves seem full size. Wild cherry gone on Dayton Street, most iris done. Long fence rows of white blackberry flowers along Grinnell. Feverfew open along High Street.
1994: The first Asiatic lily opened along the north border today, flowering pale orange from a short stalk. Sweet Williams are at their height now, only four or five iris left, peonies full bloom. In the south garden, the sweet rockets are almost finished. This week, the flicker in the back woods has been calling all day, loud, steady, raucous sounds.
1996: Privets budding. Late peonies, late iris, late blue flags, late honeysuckle, full mock orange. Late full daisies. Poppies gone. Pyrethrums waning, sweet rockets waning. Snow-on-the-mountain full along Dayton Street. Locust flowers falling to the sidewalk, their rich season finally disintegrating. I saw yellow sweet clover for the first time two days ago. Black medic full bloom, red and white clover too.
2000: On Kelly’s Island in Lake Erie, red sunrise exactly at 6:00, eight to ten minutes ahead of Yellow Springs. The fish bit in the barometric trough before the storm, then disappeared as the high pressure moved through. The wind blew chilly and hard all night, high waves lifting the boat off the sand beach and tumbling it south along the shore.
2001: Walk through the Glen in the rain: petals of the yellow poplar common on the path, the woods deep green for summer.
2002: Yellow swallowtail sighted today. White moths at the front porch light.
2003: Returning from Santee-Cooper in South Carolina, I came across a swarm of red periodic cicadas at the first rest stop across the Virginia – North Carolina line. Through the mountains, locusts, wild cherry, and blackberries were in bloom, weeks behind Yellow Springs. When I arrived home, the first yellow sundrop was coming out, the last blue flag shriveling.
2004: To South Carolina: Full summer in southwestern Ohio, canopy complete. Banks of yellow stella d’oro lilies in Cincinnati. Staghorns reddening. Sweet clover and crown vetch throughout. Poison hemlock in bloom, and golden staghorns, daisies. Catalpas still flowering in Kentucky. Seeding time for locusts and ashes. Elderberries in flower.
South of Cincinnati, hemlocks were seeding and Japanese honeysuckles were in full bloom Parsnips tall and gold. Teasel and milkweed two to three feet. Full Canadian thistles. A few miles north of Lexington, white sweet clover coming in, cattails thin, emerging, full of pollen. Chicory opening by 7:15. Trumpet creeper in Lexington. Nodding thistles full throughout. New tawny hay bales rolled in the fileld. Queen Anne’s lace three hours south of Yellow Springs at Berea. Roadside tiger daylilies at Knoxville, some nodding thistles holding there, many going to seed. Mimosa trees and milkweed blooming. Teasel headed. Kousa dogwood in the mountains of North Carolina. Fields of purple and orange poppies high in the mountains. Below Spartanburg, wild lettuce, horseweed. Near Columbia, myrtles. At Santee Cooper, water willow in bloom – at the same time as in Yellow Springs. Corn tasseling here, some ears formed. Some wheat dark, most fields cut. Water lilies open – American lotus early bloom. Catalpa beans nine-inches long.
2007: Primrose sundrops completely full and bright. Transplanted stella d’oros have first blossoms. Pale violet pond iris have ended, Japanese pond iris in early full bloom. Rockets closing very quickly, mostly gone. Daylilies and Asiatics budding throughout. Two purple coneflowers have unraveled; the Heliopsis is starting to unravel. In the water garden, the first water willow bloomed today. Lizard’s “tails” have developed over the past three or four days.
2008: Madison, Wisconsin to Yellow Springs: Parsnips, hemlock, yellow sweet clover, fox tail grass dominate the roadsides. Red-winged blackbirds nesting throughout the 500-mile drive. Wheat turning pale green-gold near Indianapolis.
2009: Hundreds of tiny spiders, pale gold on the top of the garbage can, hatched from about 11:30; then in about 30 minutes, the were gone, having climbed out and floated away on their own silk, vanished into the woods. Later, grackles chasing a hawk that seemed to be carrying one of their young.
2010: Cathy wrote from Vermont today: “Just as a point of interest, the Friends of the Horticulture Farm at the University of Vermont sent a notice last week that they had had to cancel the annual Lilac Walk because all the lilacs were gone. I presume they mean the blooming is past. I can’t remember this ever happening before.”
2011: Spoleto to Castelluccio, Italy: Linden trees exuding sap on the car. We drove northeast through fields of poppies, late elderberries. At Castelluccio, the “great flowering” had not begun there – was predicted for two weeks from now, but numerous lintel plots were bright yellow with blossoms, and on brief walks into the hills I found red clover, white campion, a strange new plaintain that had a long, pink inflorescence, a buttercup similar to the variety that blooms at home, burdock tall and budding, a plant that looked like a lone grape hyacinth – possibly an orchis moio, a bright purple vetch – maybe veccia cracca, white caryophillaceae and so many more small yellow, white and violet flowers all across the vast expanse of this immense valley. Crickets were very loud at one stopping place, absent in another.
2012: First four raspberries from the garden. First three yucca blossoms in the north garden. Hollyhocks budded in the park gardens. One last weigela flower on our north garden bush. This morning, the cabbage whites number about a dozen, all feeding and playing together in the bellflowers and the catmint. Yellow daylilies, yellow rebloomers, and one orange daylily joining the gold stella d’oros, encroachment of color. Red admiral butterfly drinking at the hummingbird feeder, then a hummingbird comes and joins her. At twelve o’clock noon exactly, a loud flock of crows descends on the north end of the village, crescendo of sound like a truck coming down the street from Dayton. The red “Indomitable Spirit” hydrangea continues in full bloom, opened maybe two weeks ago?
2013: Flew into Sicily this afternoon with Neysa and Ivano, the land so dry and brown compared to Umbria and Tuscany. Instead of small hills with villages and castles and small landholdings of grain and olives: vast rolling valleys and huge crags and cliffs near the clear, clear sea. The towns so far do not have the color of Italian towns, most of the buildings unpainted, gray or drab earth tones. There are few trees, but the sidewalks are often lined with large pots containing assorted tropical plants. Many cacti here, the largest ones, the opoatia ficus indice L in bloom. Fennel found, and a kind of blackberry with pink flowers. Many orange, pink, red flowering shrubs (oleanders) near towns and farms. In some areas, tall grass like Johnson grass, which is really “canya” that feels and looks like bamboo when it is cleaned off. (A man was stripping off the thin bark and preparing it for use at one of the places we visited.) A Sicilian cress with pale pink petals growing in San Vito do Capo on the coast. Many bright orange poppies and drifts of yellow ginestra like in central Italy and hedges of blooming jasmine. Watched the Corpus Christi procession through the streets of S. Vito do Cabo.
2015: Madison, Wisconsin to Yellow Springs: Roadsides lush with fresh hemlock, parsnips, daisies, foxtail grass and yellow sweet clover. The first nodding thistle seen in Fairborn, and catalpa flowers close to home. Returning to the village, I am struck by the clear difference between the season I left five days ago (the last days of late spring) and the season in Madison (the full middle of late spring). Here at home: the first ditch lily in bloom, several stella d’oros, two of the low, orange Asiatic lilies; the first open blossom on the hobblebush hydrangea; full late pond iris (only one in bloom the morning I left); the first water lily – large, yellow; lizard’s tail with its first tail;s the first yellow tea rose from Jeanie’s ancient bush; the first quickweed flowers; full bloom of spiderwort, penstemon, waterleaf, celandine, bright primrose, lamium, catmint, snow-on-the-mountain; peonies, rockets, perennial salvia, tall ragwort, Japanese wisteria, garlic mustard almost gone; geranium gone with the rhododendron and sweet Cicely; resurrection lily foliage flopped over like that of daffodils or hyacinths; buds showing a little gold on the helliopsis. And all of that contrasting with the full seasons of iris and peonies and lilacs and mock orange and drifts of sweet rockets I left in Madison.
2016: Peonies in the yard drooping, privet flowers falling from one hedge, one of Moya’s white yarrows blooming,
2017: Grackle fledgeling chasing its parent, begging at the back porch. Milkweed has started to bud in the yard, the buds more prominent in the downtown gardens. The first deep purple Japanese water iris bloomed today – in spite of having been transplanted from the pond to the south garden.