June 2020 Summer Nature Almanac

Here in Philadelphia…

Welcome to the June 2020 Nature Almanac. Here you will find summer solstice information, what native plants are blooming, birding activity, and much more.

The start of the summer in (May) has been cooler than usual and rainy. We’ve had plenty of rain. The last two months, I built raised garden beds in my community garden plot.

lavender hyssop seedlings
Lavender Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) seedlings I started.

I started around two hundred or more plants. Tomatoes (San Marzano and Cherokee Purples) top the list with jalapeno peppers, eggplants, and more. The seeds of Silver Queen corn, limas, and Kentucky Wonder beans. I still have to plant the okra seeds.

Lavender Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) is a good plant to attract pollinators. I bought a packet of seeds (company: Botanical Interests) and was so surprised when so many seeds sprouted. I should have twelve Lavender Hyssop seeds to plant in another few weeks.

Lavender Hyssop profile (Lady Bird Johnson WIldflower Center)

My gardens have given me peace and normalcy. I don’t know what I would do without them and the plants that live in them.


Baltimore Oriole, male. Laura Gooch / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)


In My Community Garden Plot

I saw a feisty Baltimore Oriole male chase a smaller bird last week. I’ve been scanning the trees, looking for the Oriole’s distinctive hanging nest in the surrounding treetops. No luck yet.

I have seen several Song Sparrows. And a pair of Robins frequent my garden plot and the next-door neighbor’s plot. We call the male, Robin. I call the female, Batgirl. Batgirl and Robin.

Both Robins are rather friendly. They’re not shy about foraging on the ground as we turn over soil. It seems an effortless way to find insects, spiders, and other arthropods, because Robin and Batgirl leave with full beaks.


my flower garden may 2020
My flower garden may 2020. Photo by Donna L. Long.

My Home Garden

It’s achingly beautiful! The Eastern Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) have self-seeded everywhere and bloomed their heads off for the past few weeks. Big fat bumble bees hang upside down as they gather nectar from Columbine blossoms.

Red or Eastern Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis L.) in my garden.

I was working in the garden, turned around and it struck me. I have achieved the cottage garden style garden I have been working toward for years. Doesn’t it happen that way? Something you have been aiming for ‘suddenly’ appears.



Summer Season Dates

June 20th – The Summer Solstice, the high point of the summer season. The slide into autumn begins.

On the Summer Solstice

June 20th is the 172nd day of the year.

  • Sun rises at 5:07 a.m. Sunsets at 8:25 p.m. (Boston time)
  • The day length is 15 hours, 18 minutes, and 14 seconds. (Boston time)- the longest day of the year.
  • The Moon rises at 4:33 a.m. The Moon sets at 8:03 p.m. (Boston time)
  • The Moon is 29 days old. The next day June 21st is the New Moon.
  • June 24th – Midsummer Day

There are 93 days and 15 hours from the summer solstice to the autumnal equinox.

Midnight Sun At the North Pole – the Sun never sets from March 20th to September 23rd.

eastern_colmbine_Aquilegia canadensis
Red or Eastern Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis L.) in my garden.

In the Sky This Month

  • June 5th – Full Strawberry Moon – Strawberry harvest taking place.
  • June 13th – Last Quarter Moon
  • June 21st – New Moon 
  • June 28th – First Quarter Moon


  • The Moon is closest (perigee) to the Earth on June 2nd and June 29th
  • The Moon is farthest (apogee) from the Earth on June 14th.
  • New moon always rises near sunrise – June 21st
  • First Quarter rises near noon – June 13th
  • Full Moon always rises near sunset – June 5th
  • Last Quarter rises around midnight – June 13th
  • Moonrise occurs about 50 minutes later each day

Best Fishing – When the Moon is between New and Full

May 22nd – June 5th

June 21st – July 5th

Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) in my garden. May 2020
Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) in my garden. May 2020. Photo by Donna L. Long.

Comets and Meteor Showers

July 30th – Delta Aquarid

August 11th – 13th – Perseid (very prominent)


Laura Gooch / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

Birding This Month

It’s the peak of nesting season.

Almost all local (year around) species have established their territories.

In early to mid-June species still migrating are semi-palmated sandpipers, olive-sided and yellow-bellied flycatchers, gray-cheeked thrushes, and blackpoll warblers.

Between June 18 and 28th migration almost ceases.

The last few days of June or the first days of July fall migration begins again. The birds that nested in the far north move south.

By mid-July birds stop singing as much as they were earlier in the season.

Eastern Prickly Pear (Opuntia humifusa) in my garden,
Eastern Prickly Pear (Opuntia humifusa) in my garden, May 2020.

Native Plant Activity, In Bloom in June (in Philadelphia, Pa)

  • Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor)
  • White Beardtongues (Penstemon digitalis)
  • Hairy Beardtongues (Penstemon hirsutus)
  • Rosebay Rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum)
  • Swamp Azalea (Rhododendron viscosum)
  • Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia lumifusa)
  • Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
Fringed Bleedingheart (Dicentra eximia) in my garden. Photo by Donna L. Long.
Fringed Bleedingheart (Dicentra eximia) in my garden. Photo by Donna L. Long.

Native Plants in Continuous Bloom May to September

  • Fringed Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia)
  • Goldenstar (Chrysogonum virginianum)
  • Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)

Check out Bowman’s Hill Native Plant Preserve for “What’s Blooming Now” information.


Nature Journaling This Season

You can find a list of blog posts related to summer at Nature in Summer: Table of Contents

Nature in Summer Overview discusses the what happens in this season.

Summer Nature Journal and Prompts


Citizen Science Events to Take Part In

Project Budburst (year around)

Project NestWatch  (April throughout nesting season) Cornell Lab of Ornithology

SciStarter – citizen science project database

That’s it for the June 2020 Nature Almanac. Look for the next issue of the Nature Almanac, June 24th.

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