Saturday, May 23, 2015

Leave for a week and summer comes -- May 22, 2015

First wild rose of 2015.

For real -- lilacs are in bud, poppies are blooming, and lawns (well, not ours) are thickly green. All of this happened during the week that we were in Fairbanks and Seattle.

I love the fragrant MayDay trees, also known as European bird cherry or chokecherry. Sadly, they are poisonous to moose. Even more sadly, moose may sample them in the winter when little else is available. If they eat more than a few mouthfuls, the decomposing vegetation in their stomachs releases cyanide and the moose moves on to moose heaven (which is populated with rhododendrons, hostas, and dozens of other plants that we love that the moose thrives on).

Fortunately, moose mostly don't like them which is one reason that they have become invasive. Birds feed on the berries in the winter, and the seeds pass through their digestive tracts untouched. When the bird droppings hit the ground, another tree pops up. That's one of the main reasons why so many of the trees are growing in the woods around the city, only to be ruthlessly rooted out by volunteer citizens trying to halt the infestation.

Another favorite is the China Rose. The bushes won't grow in our yard (not enough sun), so I hunt down other people's to admire.

A sign of summer -- kids playing basketball in the street. In our neighborhood, several families have portable basketball hoops like this one. They strike me as dangerous -- but I haven't yet heard of a kid getting hit by a car while doing this. Note also, the shadow of the tree on the street -- no longer do we have winter's lacy patterns of branches.

A couple of weeks ago all the lawns were brown -- this one could be in Ireland, it's so green.

Memorial Day weekend is the traditional planting out time for Anchorage gardeners, the days when the ground is warm enough to allow plants to grow in good health. We saw the city gardeners out in force today planting the beds of annuals that startle the tourists and please the locals. In Rogers Park, signs of how people will be spending their weekends abound. It's interesting too, to walk past yards where the owners spent lots of time and money a few years ago to put in landscaping, raised garden beds, and perennials, and see that only weeds are growing this year.

Other signs of summer -- yard projects, and  . . .

. . . new construction. We can't quite figure out what's going on here. Last year, the owners put on new siding (the flat green stuff), and fancy stone work. Now they've dug a deep trench and put up forms that appear to be ready for pouring concrete. Are they building a fortress wall? Putting in a moat? Extending the house to the street? We will keep you posted.

Street corners all over town are being re-done. Luckily the process seems to be going fairly quickly. We assume that they are trying to finish before the tourists begin to pour in a month from now.

I didn't get a great photo of this guy -- he is riding on a single wheel. It's sort of a low-to-the ground unicycle Segway concept. Jim suggests that it's easy to carry onto a bus, or into a building -- but it seems unsuited for hills of any sort.

Every crack in the street has its dandelion growing.

Jim's favorite is the ring of chickweed growing around the pipe in our driveway.

At Cuddy Park behind the library, the geese and ducks that have stayed around are spending their days sleeping and grooming, grooming and sleeping, and when things seem dull, flying at each other squawking for no apparent reason. That livens things up for a bit; then they all go back to sleep.

I don't think that he tossed the kid in, although that looks like what he might be planning.

Aspen leaves in their spring orange-y green.

Bergenia in bloom.

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