Sunday, July 21, 2013

After the Rain

Last week was very hot and humid.  I am a cool weather person so I don't like the heat and especially the humidity.  I was looking forward to the weekend.  They predicted low humidity and much lower temperatures.  It was wonderful.  It was supposed to be dry, but today we got some much needed rain.  We had thunder and lightning and at least 1 1/4 inch of rain.  I love going out after the rain.  Everything is clean and fresh.  This afternoon I took a walk and noticed how even without much rain earlier, everything is flourishing and some plants are actually growing out of control.

The first thing I noticed was the buttonbush is in full bloom.  I have lived here for eleven years now, and I first noticed this bush last summer.  I guess it was a small bush and now it has grown, but I don't know how I missed it before.  The buttonbush is easy to identify.  It grows in water or moist soil near marshes.  The flowers are white balls that are about the same size as a ping pong ball.   Ducks and birds like to eat them when the flowers go to seed. The little brown balls in the photo below are flowers that have already gone to seed.

Buttonbush in full bloom.  Some of the brown balls have already gone to seed.

The buttonbush is self contained and I like it.  What I don't like are the wild grape vines growing out of control.   In years past we were able to keep them under control, but this year conditions must be perfect. They have grown on the trees and over the sidewalk.  They are producing a few grapes.  I'm sure the birds will like the grapes but I wish there wasn't so much foliage.

Cluster of unripened grapes.

Wild Grape Vine growing on an Oak Tree.

A good thing I noticed is the blackberries.  They are growing well this year.  Most years they blossom beautifully but dry up before they actually ripen.  I think this year will be different.  The blackberries are still green but look very healthy.  If we get regular rain, they should turn purple in a few weeks.

Blossoming blackberry bushes in the spring.
Green unripened blackberries.

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