Some of these have an enormous influence over your success. A prime example is the weather. Yesterday evening, Blue Jay Barrens was visited by a thunderstorm exhibiting high wind, heavy rain and hail. Physical evidence of the storm’s passing was abundant. Downed tree limbs, broken plant stalks and flooding were found everywhere. What I observed from the relative safety of the front porch, was the toppling of the milkweeds. It all began with the simultaneous arrival of howling straight line winds and a heavy downpour of rain that sent an impressive wave of water spray breaking over the eves.
Several milkweeds have remained upright. At this point, I was thinking the worst of
the storm had passed.
rain continued, hail resumed and the wind returned with a roar loud enough to
send me running to the other side of the house to see if anything dangerous was
headed in my direction. When I returned to
the porch 20 seconds later, the wind was driving straight down and pushing
spray into the porch and onto the ceiling.
the back end of the storm thrash the woods on the hill across the road and then
it was gone. Amazingly, some milkweeds
are still standing.
The milkweeds around the water garden, as well as many out in the
fields, get flattened every year.
Younger specimens can almost bring themselves back upright after a
storm, while those at this stage will gradually reorient the top of the plant
so the flowers are held up for insect visitors.
Their susceptibility to storm damage does not diminish their importance
as a valuable part of the natural ecosystem.
Since these are growing right outside the
front door, I’ll do my best to return them to their proper orientation. My wife claims that they remind her of
Triffids lurking in wait near the porch and I don’t want them to appear as
though they are reaching out to her.
The milkweeds colonized the
water garden flower beds on their own several years ago. I left them alone to grow and increase their
numbers because this patch seemed to be a preferred egg laying site of the
Monarch butterfly. Monarch caterpillars
have always been present on these plants by this date in past years and
evidence of their feeding should be present on the leaves right along with the
hail damage. This year I have yet to see
my first Monarch. Plenty of other
insects utilize the milkweed, but it just doesn’t seem right without the
Salmon and Salad Dinner
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