The Difference a Week Makes

A week ago, when I left home for a trip to Washington and Oregon to gather information for a 2017 garden tour, rain had finally returned to the Upstate, thank goodness.  Afternoon thunderstorms had popped up in our area in June and July, but my garden received no measurable precipitation for nine weeks.  Not even a sprinkle.  Temperatures, on the other hand, reached into the upper 90s almost every day.

The relief of those first rains continued throughout my absence (it was even drizzling when my plane landed just before midnight) and as I examined the garden on this first morning at home, I found tiny flower buds beginning to form on the dogwood trees (for next spring’s blooms) and a variety of mushrooms.

I know practically nothing about mushrooms, other than they are the fruiting bodies of fungi that break down organic material such as dead wood.  I enjoy eating the ones grown for culinary purposes, but don’t have the expertise to collect from the wild.  Nonetheless, they are a very welcome sign that our summer drought has abated, at least for now.

The recent wet weather has also given the cranefly orchid (Tipularia discolor) the courage to bloom, though the flower stalks I found are just half their usual height of 15 to 20 inches.

DSC_4099

Tipularia discolor

Common throughout the Southeastern US, this native terrestrial orchid is found in moist, humus-rich soils of deciduous forests.  Moths pollinate the plant.  Interestingly, a specialized structure that contains the flower’s pollen, called a pollinaria, hitches a ride on the moth’s eyes for transfer to another flower.

 

 

 

9 thoughts on “The Difference a Week Makes

  1. jackie corley

    Thoroughly enjoy your comments and visuals. Please contact me with information about the Washington trip. I am a MG in Lexington and took my training after you had moved to Greenville. You are still a “legend” here!
    Jackie Corley at Floydcorley@windstream,net

    Reply
    1. Marian St.Clair Post author

      Jackie–I’ve added your email to my list, so you will get notice of all future tours. What day and time is the Lex. MG group meeting now? I would love to come for a visit.

      Reply
  2. susurrus

    I’ve not managed to get used to the idea of having thunderstorms without rain, let alone the idea of going 9 weeks without rain. That doesn’t happen here! So glad you’ve got some rain at last.

    Reply
  3. gardeninacity

    I hate that feeling of waiting for rain while things wither away. We’ve had some dry spells this year but it never got too bad. Late summer has been pretty wet, actually.

    Reply

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