When locust trees flower, then snow-on-the-mountain blossoms and sweet Williams, clematis, and spiderwort open. White spotted skippers and red admiral butterflies visit the garden. Gold-collared black flies swarm in the pastures. Leafhoppers look for corn. Scorpion flies make their appearance in the barnyard.
Bright green six-spotted tiger beetles race along the deer paths of the woods. Grasshoppers come to the fields. Northern Spring Field Crickets, the first crickets of the year to sing, are singing. Baby robins are out of the nest. The antlers of white-tailed bucks are a third grown. Reckless adolescent groundhogs wander the roadsides.
When locusts blossom, then multiflora roses, pink spirea, yellow sweet clover, Canadian thistles, privet, and yellow poplars are budding and blooming. Evergreens have four to six inches of new growth. Sycamore and ginkgo leaves are almost full size, and the rest of the maples are filling in. Rhododendrons follow the azaleas, joined by the raspberries and blackberries. Wild strawberries climb, bright yellow, through the purple ivy and the sticky catchweed. Blue-eyed grass is open. Grasses along the riverbanks are waist-high and more. Poison hemlock reaches your chin, angelica over your head.
Wood hyacinths and spring beauties disappear during honeysuckle week. Violets stop blooming until autumn. Hydrangea snowballs lose their luster. Sweet Cicely is going to seed. Garlic mustard and winter cress weaken under the closing canopy, spring phlox is getting old. Ragwort flowers turn to fluffy seed heads. Watercress flops over in the sun.
This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the final week of late spring, the transition time to early summer. In the meantime, look for farmers to be cutting hay and for thistles to flower in the fields.