Here in Philadelphia…
Nature Almanac June 2022 -June’s moon is the Strawberry Moon and the strawberries in my garden are beginning to ripen and turn red. The peas should be ready this month. Hopefully, I’ll dine on snow peas and sugar snap peas in stir-fries, salads, and straight off the vine.
Tiny brown ants are everywhere in my garden. There seems to have been a population explosion. Ants are march along their trails some carry tiny balls of food(?) high over their little heads. I can’t tell what the food substance is they’re carrying. And they bite. They’re so tiny I can take a good photo of them.
May 15th, my area’s last frost date, saw an explosion of plant growth. As a gardener, no matter what seeds I germinated or plants I started, nothing makes plants grow like the Sun and Mother Earth.
Did You Know?
When plants project their seeds it’s called, ballistichory? Ballist in the word tells us that seed dispersal can be explosive! Watch the video to see more. Read more on ballistichory in this article from Oxford University entitled, Exploding Myths about Seed Dispersal on Oxford U.’s website.
Native Plant of the Month (NEW Feature!)
Philadelphia Fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus)
This indigenous native plant has a home in Philadelphia and is widespread across North America. It can be found in almost all the fifty states. It has been introduced to Eurasia and is considered a invasive species there.
Philadelphia Fleabane goes by many names, Common Fleabane, Daisy Fleabane, Skervish, frostroot, marsh fleabane, and poor robin’s plantain. In the British Isles it is know and robin’s plantain.
Philadelphia Fleabane has many medicinal uses. Indigenous peoples have long used it for headaches and epilepsy. The roots are used to treat colds and flu.
Description (from Wikipedia)
“Erigeron philadelphicus is a herbaceous plant with alternate, simple leaves, on hairy stems. The flower heads are borne in spring in arrays of as many as 35 heads. Each head may sometimes contain as many as 400 pink or white ray florets surrounding numerous yellow disc florets. The blooms are less than one inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. The stem is hairy with rough hairs. The middle to lower leaves are heart shaped, and the plant is about 0.5–2.5 ft (15–76 cm) tall. Its active growth period is from spring to summer (April to July). This plant grows on roadsides, in fields, in thickets, and in open woods.” (Wikipedia.com)
This plant voluntarily grows in my garden. I’ve seen it since I was a young amateur botanist and was curious to know more about it. For more information of Philadelphia Fleabane, the USDA Plant Database has a free downloadable pdf.
Invasive Species of the Month (NEW Feature!)
Corydalis spp. I can’t identify the specific species.
I volunteer at my local environmental center maintaining a native plant rain garden. My native plant group and I have spent the the two springs pulling this biennial plant up by its’ roots. This month we spent the first few weeks removing Corydalis or snipping off the flowers before they set seed. There are many Corydalis species. Corydalis is related to native Bleeding Hearts are their relatives.
Last week I was determined to get rid as many of Corydalis as I could so I won’t have to weed it next year. This spring there was a lot less than last year.
The creepy thing about this invasive, spreading biennial species is the seed pods. At first I didn’t see them since the green pods perfectly match the foliage. But as I pulled up plants I kept getting hit in the face with something. It was like little fairies where throwing small objects at me for uprooting the plant.
I discovered the seed pods pop off and project themselves at least a foot into the air, hitting me in the face as I leaned down to remove the plant. I learned to grab the seed pods with both hands and quickly pull them off as they pop off into my hand. Talking about fighting back. No wonder this introduced plant is invasive. Creepy, creepy. And it makes a little noise when it shoots. Or was that my imagination? Any way it is a pretty little plant but once it takes a hold it may take you several years to eradicate it.
And for some reason I can never pronounce the name right. I keep saying CORD-DEE-AL-US. It’s kr·i·duh·luhs.
Nature Almanac June 2022: What to Observe, Draw, and Photograph Right Now
Keep track of plant visitors – bees, flies, aphids, butterflies, etc.
Make your own reference pressed plant herbarium, a collection of seeds, leaves, and whole plants.
Sketch and draw seed pods.
Try to identify the birds which are singing and calling during the Dawn Chorus.
Identify 10 indigenous species and 10 invasive species, plant or animal.
Learn the medicinal or food uses of 4 plants in your garden or backyard.
Pick a couple rocks and see who’s under there? Can you identify them?
Observe squirrels, what are they eating? Where are they living?
Search for butterfly larva
Can you find three species of ants?
Season Dates – Nature Almanac June 2022
Summer Solstice June 21 at 5:14 a.m. EDT in the Northern Hemisphere. For natural-living people this is summer’s midpoint not the beginning.
Summer last 93 days and 15 hours from the Summer Solstice on June 21, 2022 until the Autumn Equinox on September 22, 2022.
June 5 – World Environment Day
June 24 – Midsummer Day the midpoint of the growing season between planting and harvesting
In the Sky This Month, June 2022: Full Strawberry Moon
May 30th – New Strawberry Moon
June 7th – First Quarter Strawberry Moon
June 14th – Full Moon Strawberry Moon – low in the night sky
June 20th – Last Quarter Strawberry Moon
June 28th – New Raspberry Moon (also called Buck Moon when Male deer antlers are fully grown)
- New moon always rises near sunrise
- First Quarter near noon
- Full Moon always rises near sunset
- Winter Full Moons are high in the sky
- Last Quarter near midnight
- Moonrise occurs about 50 minutes later each day
From the Farmer’s Almanac
“From the 16th until month’s end, all of the planets form a line like a string of pearls.” (2022 Edition, p. 134)
Citizen Science Events to Participate In
SciStarter.org – for more citizen science projects
That’s it for this issue. Look for the next issue at the end of June.
Last month’s Nature Almanac – May 2022
Last Year’s Nature Almanac – June 2021