Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This year, last year

Flowering Dogwood, brown leaves by July 2010
Last year, the drought was deep and parching, dusty leaves wilting, wilting, finally falling.

Spicebush lost leaves, whole stems. Flowering dogwood dropped leaves mutely tinged with scarlet, some chlorophyll returned to the tree, the rest browned out and squandered.

By July, hickory seedlings browned out on the shale barrens at St. Michaels.

Multiflora rose and barberry yellowed by late summer. Goldenrods flowered for an instant, then went to seed. Black cohosh knew in advance, didn't even try to flower.

From May until late September, hardly a drop fell on our side of the mountain. The only plants that looked good were the oaks, deep-rooted, thrifty, ponderous.

Last year's effects linger. Some plants responded with incredible seed production this year-- hornbeams, flowering dogwood. Spicebush is still reeling from last year, working on stem production, fruiting very scanty.

This year, we're somewhere near twenty inches of rain over the average. We'll see what that means... next year.

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