The Daybook for the Year in Yellow Springs
The 160th Day of the Year
And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays:
James Russell Lowell
Day’s Length: 14 hours 56 minutes
Average High/Low: 80/59
Average Temperature: 70
Record High: 94 – 1914
Record Low: 40 – 1913
The sun almost always (90 percent of the time) shines today, and there is a 15 percent chance for a high in the 90s, fifty percent chance for 80s, thirty percent for 70s and five percent for cold 60s. Thunderstorms come one year in three, but an all-day rain only one in 15.
It is high time for cucumber beetles in cucumbers and for powdery mildew on the phlox, for potato leafhoppers in the alfalfa and mites in the roses. Chinch bugs hatch in the lawn. Whiteflies attack azaleas. Weevils assault the yellow poplars. Rose chafers and two-spotted spider mites appear on rose bushes. Leafminers work arborvitae, birch, locusts, boxwood, elms, holly, and juniper. Eastern tent caterpillars leave their tents.
Inspired by all the insects, weaving spiders weave the first major network of cobwebs across the woodland paths. Long-bodied orbweavers set their webs across ponds and streams. Wolf spiders and toads hunt the fields and forest floor. Birds feast and feed their young with the great early summer insect hatch.
1982: First raspberry ripe today. First garden primrose unravels.
1983: Siberian iris bloom ends today.
1984: First two fireflies. First cucumber beetles seen.
1987: Wild multiflora roses gone by today. Staghorns noticed on the sumac, cherries ready to pick. Peaches half size. First great mullein and milkweed bloom. The seventeen-year cicadas are still singing. Blackberries have set fruit, red and orange berries coming out on the honeysuckles, elderberries full bloom, fire pink, Deptford pink full. First raspberries are coming in during the last days of the strawberries. Wild daisies strong, last long after those in the yard. First grasshopper seen. Two catalpas full bloom.
1988: Belize: Blackbirds whistle a half an hour after the first light on the horizon, half an hour before dawn, the same schedule as the cardinals in Yellow Springs. On the way to Altun Ha, the milpas have still not been planted with corn because the rains have not begun yet. Saw a few papayas turning red.
1990: First feverfew. First garden primrose.
1991: Doorweed, polygonum aviculare, open in the east garden.
1992: Catalpas full bloom, cherries ripen.
1993: Only five or six Siberian iris left, lupines almost completely gone. Chives tattered, drooping and brown, the yesterday’s perfect purple clematis shattered in the heavy rainstorm. The bright poppies gone, red pyrethrum becoming pale, decaying suddenly. First yellow sundrop (oenothera fruticosa) opens its season. Catalpas seen in bloom on the way to Dayton.
1996: Cherries green, the size of pits.
1997: The first yellow primroses and the first lamb’s ear bloomed today. Only four or five Siberian iris remain, and the peonies are beginning to lose their freshness. In the countryside, some locusts still hold their flowers. Along the bike path: blueweed in early bloom, the very first Canadian thistle, full Miami mist, fire pink, very late wild geraniums hold in the shade, burdock sending up giant stalks (at the same time as the yucca in town), dogbane budding (like the new gooseneck in the garden), blue-eyed grass, small-flowered and large-flowered cinquefoil. Rockets late but still dominant in South Glen. Parsnips and hemlock about equal with the number of flowers and seeds: maybe three-fourths still blossoming, the balance in green seeds.
1998: The first few black raspberries are now red.
1999: Yellow Springs to Utica, New York: Yellow sweet clover, crown vetch and daisies prominent along the roadsides. Near Erie, Pennsylvania, the very last locust flowers, iris, and rhododendrons seen, putting the lakeshore ten to fourteen days behind Greene County this year (but close to 1997 in Yellow Springs). All along the coast and into New York, grape vines with new leaves and parsnips, hemlock and multiflora roses in full bloom.
2000: Japanese honeysuckle still fragrant. The north garden’s roses are all open, healthy, no beetles yet. The lilies are blooming just in one small patch, the two orange Asiatics and one yellow daylily. First yellow buds on the tall south-garden yarrow. The first firefly tonight.
2001: First violet water willow opens in the pond. Apples start to come down from the old tree. As we sat in the back yard this evening, we could hear mulberries falling to the north garden behind us.
2002: Astilbe early full bloom.
2003: Tree lilac flowers are coming to the end of their bloom. Kousa dogwoods hold strong.
2004: First Frances Williams hosta has bloomed. Goosefoot has developed white flower buds. Lilies, achillea, roses, catmint, the new violet clematis, and astilbe transition the garden from late spring to early summer.
2005: First heliopsis and Japanese water iris unraveled overnight. Coreopsis is full now, another Asiatic lily starting (pale lavender), and the more delicate Turk’s cap. Rockets have started to seed. Achillea has turned yellow. The neighbors’ houses have pretty much disappeared behind the border foliage. Japanese honeysuckle coming in, just a few days behind the privets. Weigela suddenly gone. Yellow swallowtail seen.
2006: A cardinal woke me up at 3:55 a.m. Crows called in the back trees at 6:15, about the same time as usual. First monarch seen in the alley at 9:00 (Jeanie had seen one at school a week or so ago).
2007: First chicory open along Dayton Street this morning. Panicled dogwood and linden tree in full bloom along the alley. Lizard’s tail about a third in bloom. Drought developing throughout the region, especially severe along the Ohio River. Crops look good at the moment here, but gradual stressing expected over the next week.
2008: In the pond, I saw the first tadpole with legs. First small bud on the pond’s lizard’s tail. First pale pink astilbe is coming in under the redbud tree. First pink smartweed seen in the garden. The first red early phlox opened overnight. White mulberries falling into the undergrowth. A monarch and a question mark butterfly seen in the yard this morning. Tulip tree is still in full bloom along Davis Street. At South Glen, timothy and bottle grass sweet to chew, tall brome grass, chest high, with pollen, rockets almost gone, clustered snakeroot getting old, maple-leaved waterleaf and multiflora roses still in bloom, honewort flowering. Blackberries and black raspberries have set fruit, but it appears no raspberries will be ripe for a while. Wood nettle almost chest high. Along the river, one box elder tree has been uprooted, and the bottomland shows signs of major flooding after last week’s rains, the water up as far as I’ve seen it. East near Indianapolis, whole towns have been under water. Loud chattering of grackles in the back yard trees throughout the day. Strong robin song at dusk. Tick found on my leg before I went to bed.
2009: Robins at 3:15 a.m. Later, a quiet morning in the yard. Grackles in the alley but not here. Small green berries on the bittersweet. All the bells gone from the lilly-of-the-valley. Great mullein seen flowering in Wilmington. One Japanese iris blooming in the pond.
2010: The first flowers of the red phlox opened overnight. Some pink hollyhocks are blooming in the Phillips-Stafford Street alley.
2011: Robins at 3:45 a.m., doves at 4:30, cardinals at 4:40, sparrows at 5:30, with robins strong throughout the entire morning. A black spicebush swallowtail landed in the grass when I was moving the bird feeder, and a brown was resting on the shed door yesterday evening. But the yard and the village have little color. The fields, unplanted because of the rain, are dull. In the pond, a deep purple Japanese iris, the second to bloom, is open. The first two heliopsis flowers are coming in. Lizard’s tail is forming in the pond. Fireflies in the wet evening.
2012: To the Monastery of Saint Clare near Cincinnati: Hemlock holding strong along many roadsides, some patches, though, all gone to seed. At the monastery grounds, ramps were fully budded, the first orange jewel weed and poke weed seen in bloom. At home, the starlings were “scrawing” (had been silent yesterday), and Jeanie reported young robins and starlings begging for food from their parents.
2013: Italy: Spoleto into the hills near Campello: birdsfoot trefoil; a violet flower with five petals, maybe up to an inch and a half across, large golden flower head, leaves curled, stem hairy, soft; wild mint and thyme and fennel; many ginestra plants, many having lost their yellow flowers, one seen with seed pods formed; varieties of small, yellow composite; a type of Japanese honysuckle with large pink flowers (lonicera caprifolion); a variety with flowers similar to crown vetch; a shrub with berries very much like elderberries, some starting to turn black; what appeared to be St. John’s wort; a tree with elm-like leaves and hops-like, layered flower heads; the ubiquitous red and orange poppies; some bindweeds, pink or white; small, thick-leafed ferns attached to the stone cliffs; Queen Anne’s lace.
And Judy writes from Goshen, Indiana: “It’s raining today, and the goose families just finished their waddle from one pond to the next. The goslings have morphed during the last week into miniatures of their parents–no more drab down but handsome little featherings that make them look even cuter. One family has only a single young one left, still wearing downy beige fluff; it is not as far along as its adolescent colleagues. I wonder what happened–did a raccoon get the others, still in their eggs, or did they just have the single gosling? In any case, it is a feisty little thing and hurries to keep up with its parents and relatives. “Yesterday we went for a bike ride along the race and saw yarrow, wild roses, fleabane, lots of crown vetch, buttercups , wild viburnums and a lovely pink swamp flower that grows in clusters at the water’s edge, maybe swamp milkweed? Very nice display. The Stella d’oro daylilies are blooming already, and mock orange, just as the peonies are fading.”
2014: The deep purple Japanese pond iris are fading quickly now, only two flowers left. The iris at church were gone several days ago, but Moya’s violet and yellow ones are still open.. In the north gardens, six different lily plants in bloom, three orange Asiatics and three stella d’oros. Three astilbes flowering in the southwest garden. The only weigela in bloom is the Danielsons’ red one across the street. In the old north garden, Jerusalem artichokes are spreading and tall, may provide some screening this summer. The castor bean plants by the trellis are starting to take hold, well past two feet now. The bright yellow primroses and the spiderwort remain in full bloom.
2015: Three blossoms left on the pond iris. In the north gardens, the orange Asiatics and stella d’oros are at the same stage as last year and the first yellow re-bloomer opened in the circle garden overnight. Mateo’s weigela, the last one on the block, is gone. Spiderwort and primroses like last year. The very last peonies shriveled yesterday. In the rain last night, the first Osage fruit, the size of a large marble, fell to the sidewalk by the Lawson’s. Six heliopsis flowers. White mulberries, blushing a little, falling to the weeds along the west property line. Penstemon lagging, last petals of the Japanese wisteria. Throughout the village, the standard blossoms, zeitgebers for the second week of early summer: pink spirea, catalpa, stella d’oros, ditch lilies, panicled dogwood, oakleaf hydrangeas.
2016: Three blossoms on the pond iris, a few more buds. Eleven lily plants open today: three ditch lilies, seven stella d’oros and one rebloomer. Peonies cut back two days ago, a disappointing year, the plants shaded and choked by the encroaching bamboo. Heliopsis not quite open yet, penstemon holding pretty well, a few pink petals of the north wisteria, all so much like last year (except no Asiatics this year), Jill’s red mulberry tree shedding to her driveway. In the woods: honewort, clustered snakeroot, clumps of fire pinks, a few late white violets, budding hobblebush, mint tall and soft but not budded.
2017: The garden’s lily run picks up now: twenty-one stella d’oro blossoms, the first two yellow flowers on the reblooming lilies, the first two ditch lilies and the first Asiatic lily open. The last pond iris opened after lunch. Two heliopsis plants are flowering. Spiderwort and primrose full. The first black raspberries are ripe at the corner of Davis and High. A patch of feverfew wide open along Phillips Street. A few cabbage butterflies, one azure seen today. Once again, the grackles came together chattering and grackling in the back trees at the end of the afternoon, repeating their Pentecost pattern of early summer.
Sleep not, dream not; this bright day
Will not, cannot last for aye.