Late Bloomers

Monday

  • Late blooming wildflowers like this thistle are now in full stride.  Their strategy is to avoid the mad dash of the early spring and summer when everything else competes for resources like mad; bide their time to bloom when insects and sunlight are guaranteed to be plentiful, the temperature is warm, and the ferocious pace of the earlier plants  has eased up or ended.  The downsides, of course, are that rain can be infrequent, solar energy each day diminishes, and the growing season becomes very limited.
  • I also love cultivated species which add color where there would normally be little.  Their particular strategy is to completely throw in their lot with humans.  If the people disappear, so do they.  And, yes, I know that is anthropomorphic drivel, but isn’t it fun?  Doesn’t that give us a better perspective?  Fairy tales exist to help shape our world view.

Tuesday

  • Admittedly, this time of August has few spectacular wildflowers or weeds.  Nothing equivalent to a Lady’s Slipper or Crabapple smothered in pink will be in view.  This sea lavender, with many lovely but extremely tiny flowers, is a good example.  As if more mature plants tend to have more somber displays.
  • At any age I thought I had it all figured out.  Ongoing circumstances always forced changes in attitude.  Now, like other older folks, I often claim to be mature, experienced and wise.  When I break out of such reveries, the only appropriate response is uncontrollable laughter.
Wednesday
  • Domestic and cultivated flowers now take up the slack in unusual outside colors.  Gardens are in full bloom with annuals and perennials and exotics, such as this hibiscus which somehow survived the harsh winter and is doing marvelously.
  • I do tend to concentrate on the wilder side of harbor sights, but the fact is Huntington is cultivated and mostly tame suburbs.  It’s silly to pretend that these man-made and beautiful landscapes are not just as much a part of the world as any roadside weed or springtime woodland wildflower.

Thursday

  • Queen Anne’s Lace has been opening its wide white heads for a while now.  Soon each will curl into a basket and brown up as it dies.  It’s one of the reliable signs that summer is well past midpoint and autumnal equinox is not far away.
  • As I have grown older, particularly since I turned sixty, it seems I have more time in each day to enjoy the outdoors.  Yet unfortunately my memories are less capacious than they once were, and no matter how much I pack in on each walk it seems to dribble away far faster then, for example, certain recollections of long ago and far away.

Friday
  • One of the few thistles along the harbor this year.  It’s amazing how the same apparently barren spot of cracked roadside can support an entirely different set of plants from one year to another, probably depending on rainfall, temperature, and the randomized dropping of birds and breeze.
  • Almost everything I find now is non-native, even “invasive”.  We feel sorry for the crowded-out original and less-hardy original inhabitants.  Of course, it is necessary to remember that this works both ways _ in Europe American ragweed is a tremendous problem _ we probably made out better on this particular exchange.

Saturday
  • Not sure what these are springing up in the narrow sands at a tiny beach at head of harbor.  Certainly showier than a lot of the other species which tend to be more tucked away than showy.
  • I used to know all the names, or rush to references if I did not.  But as Gertrude Stein said, what’s in a name after all?  Someone who first classified it christened it in some Latin nouns and adjectives, which almost nobody uses anyway.  And the “common folk name” changes from locale to locale.  Better to just accept it as the miracle all such things are.

Sunday
  • Another relatively tiny wonder, also now unknown to me.  Probably in the compositae or astor family.  Beautiful enough for its own needs of propagation, of course, or it would not be here.  This desolate area has nothing planted purposely except a few straggling pines and skimpy beach roses added by the town when they rebuilt the park next door.
  • The bees are now extremely busy in our gardens, crawling around phlox and dahlias.  I’m always amazed at the sheer number of different insects _ giant bumblebees, tiny honeybees, earwigs, and of course the unseen cicadas constantly singing from the trees above.  I often have trouble realizing how much independent life our little area supports, and it is somehow a comfort given the dire stories we are fed each evening.

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