Hi River Roaders,

The summer solstice this year occurs at 11:31 PM on Sunday, June 20. However, from nature’s perspective, it has been summer for the past several weeks.

I almost always see a rabbit on our grounds. They average 3 to 4 litters per year, so I guess we can expect more.

We have a large stand of Dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum) beside our upper parking lot. While the small greenish-white flowers are not showy, the plant is very important to small insect pollinators. It is an aggressive plant that spreads via rhizomes.

Dogbane is one of those plants that hold beads of water on the leaves, much like Jewel weed.

Summertime is butterfly time. Here is a silver-spotted skipper, one of the most common butterflies in Maryland. I’ve also seen a zebra swallowtail on our site, and hope to get a photo sometime this year.

Summertime can be a time of light and shadow, such as this photo looking up the first spring.

More light and shadow from the pool in Springsview Garden.

We have some Bottlebrush Rye (Elymus hysstrix) in Springsview Garden. It is a cool season grass that grows in spring and fall, and it can be happy in shade. It is common on the banks of the Potomac.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a photo of a Serviceberry tree that was full of ripe fruits. I now realize we can thank the cicadas for the fruit still being here, as in all other years, the catbirds and robins eat the fruit before it can fully ripen. This year however, the birds had the cicadas to eat, which allowed the fruits to fully ripen. This also allowed many of the fruits to become infected with a fungus that is hosted on juniper and cedar trees. This rust does not harm the plant, but it does make the fruits in-edible.

I’m sad to see the cicadas go. They are one of those episodic wonders of nature that I hope can be sustained for generations to come.