June: Gauzy White and Verdant Green

Welcome to June, where spring transitions to summer.
Tue, 06/05/2018 - 10:00am

     The month of June often starts with cool, damp, days shrouded in fog. Sometimes the fog is thick and muffling. Sometimes large batts of fog waft here-and-there; one moment Clay Head is enveloped, the next, Clay Head is revealed and the Old Harbor is blanketed. Often, the west side is draped the whole day, as if in a cloud, while the Great Salt Pond is sparkly and clear. And, sometimes the island is clear, but surrounded by great banks of fog laying just off shore. June always produces days that are veiled in gauzy white.

It is June’s moist days of obscured sunshine that starts the transition to summer, and the wild, rampant, vibrant, days of July. It is as if the island is viewed in black and white in early June, and full color by late June. May leads the way with the shad blooms, and beach plum flowering. June carries on the theme slowly adding a hint of color: many of the island’s apple blossoms range from white, to cream, to touched with pink. The whiteness continues in mid-June with the snowy flowering of chokecherry trees and chokeberry plants (Aronia).

Look with intent, and you will notice that June’s theme of misty whiteness continues as the island becomes draped in Multiflora rose late in the month. Even if hidden from view in the fog, while out for a walk, you will know Multiflora rose has bloomed by its scent. It is as if the droplets of fog – that collect on eyebrows and lashes – has concentrated  the delicate fragrance and perfumed the island. Among the last of June’s white flowers will be the dappling of blackberry blossoms.

Eventually June’s cloak of white is rivaled by spots of vibrant colors: blue flag iris can be found in any wet spot, and magenta beach roses will form a matt of color on sand dunes. But, it is late June’s verdant greenness that is striking. At no other time is the island so green! Everything is growing in June’s foggy-rain, and finally the ubiquitous bay berry has leafed-out (the last to do so) in bright green, supple, new leaves. Take note, the island is never so green as it is in late June. (This green is the perfect background for July’s raucous explosion of color: red and pink rambling roses, orange tiger lilies, yellow black-eyed Susans…. but, that is another story.)

Welcome to June. While noticing the shift from a hazy white palette to verdant green, also look for other signs of Juneness. This is the time when turtles leave their wet environs for dry egg laying spots – often crossing roads, so be careful. Morning song of birds – young and old alike – will be chorusing in the mornings. In the evenings, Green frogs will be croaking; and, late in the month, on still nights, look for fireflies, another prelude to the bombast of July.

The Nature Conservancy has several programs scheduled to help you enjoy June: Horseshoe crab tagging, bird walks throughout the month, and, the summer’s weekly schedule of programs start on June 25th.