Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Summer Ramblings - Days of Milk and Roses

It's the second week of July already.  Here in upstate New York, it feels like summer is already half over.

Around the 4th of July we had a gorgeous, low humidity weekend.  Now the humidity, bringing promise of severe weather, is back.  Sadly, the severe weather struck Madison County in New York (near Syracuse) last night, killing at least four.

My thoughts go out to all affected by the storms last night, in New York and Ohio.
Taken by my son near Maine, NY
My version, near Johnson City, NY
We ended up with rain, some wind, and interesting clouds. My son and I both got interesting pictures with our iPhones (above).

We may not like that kind of weather but some plants just drink it up.  Literally.

The milkweed is starting to bloom.

June 29
Common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, has a fragrant flower famously loved by monarch butterflies.   Its nectar is loved by many butterflies, and the plant has a lovely, decorative seedpod in the fall. It is moderately toxic, however, to humans.

A different plant, July 6.

Meanwhile, roses are still in bloom, including the later hybrid and heirloom varieties, at the free of charge Cutler Botanic Gardens in Binghamton, New York.
This, the Elmshorn rose, is a hybrid dating from around 1951.

Crested Musk, an heirloom rose from 1827.
Birdie Blye, from 1901.
Raubritter, a David Austin recommended rose.

Alas, the Japanese beetles are out in force, too.  When I first moved to upstate New York in the mid 1980's, they would arrive around July 4.  Now, they come a little earlier.  I saw a couple of rose bushes yesterday while exercise walking in the humid afternoon, and the rose flowers were infested.  It isn't only roses they eat - we haven't been able to ever grow sorrel, which I love to make a cold soup with.  The Japanese beetles consider it a gourmet delight.

So many flowers, so little time, as we continue to ramble through summer.

What have you been doing this summer?


  1. Beautiful update, Alana. I love those milkweeds! I am cheered by how many of them I'm seeing around our place, too.

    1. I am hoping it will be a good year for milkweed, Amy. The monarchs need all the help they can get.

  2. I'm really late with my post today- late post, late comment!
    I love your post Alana.
    As always your pictures are fantastic!

    1. Thank you for cyber visiting me from across the pond, Sophie. Your comments are always welcome!

  3. Gorgeous photos, Alana! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Laurel. It is fun to take pictures of natural beauty and share them.

  4. My neighbor grows milkweed every year, but has yet to find any monarchs on them. I will try a visit to Cutler Botanical gardens this weekend and see how they recovered after the floods.

    1. Cutler has recovered nicely from the 2011 flood, except I think they still don't have quite all the plant name tags restored. The master gardeners have done such a good job - they deserve a huge round of thanks!

  5. It been upper 90's and lower 100's...

    Coffee is on

    1. Not quite as hot here in upstate New York, Dora - today it was in the 70's. Perfect weather, for me.


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