June is here with all her green profusion. In terms of weather, June is probably the best month of the year. It’s not too hot and not too cold with enough spring moisture to maintain her greenness. June comes pretty close to perfection. The burst of new growth has turned everything green and lush, and many wildflowers are in bloom.
Going through Bell Park the other day, I noticed that the Boulder raspberry shrubs are in bloom. There are two native shrubs that are commonly known by this name. At one time, these two species were both in the genus of other raspberries, Rubus, but some time ago, they were placed in two different genera.
The Boulder raspberry is now Oreobatus deliciosus, and the very similar thimbleberry is Rubacer parviflorum. Both of these shrubs are excellent choices for landscaping in this area. Perhaps the Boulder raspberry is the better of the two for its large, wild rose-like flowers are a bit larger.
The Boulder raspberry is often thought to be edible because of its scientific name, however humans find the fruit to be dry, seedy and inedible, but robins, thrushes and many small mammals find these seeds quite delicious. Thimbleberry is also misnamed as the specific name means poor flowered, I presume because its white flowers are a bit smaller than the Boulder raspberry.
Both of these shrubs should be planted where they do not need to be pruned to maintain a certain height such as below a window or in a hedge for this makes them appear stiff and unnatural. They both naturally have long arching canes that are especially graceful and attractive.
A third native shrub, which is excellent in local landscaping, is ninebark, Physocarpus opulifolius, or P. Monogymus. This plant takes on a nice rounded shape if it is placed out in the open and given an occasional drink of water, although as a native, it grows in partial shade at the edge of the forest. P. Opulifolius is a hybrid that has developed near cities where the native plant has crossed with Viburnum opulus, a plant that has been introduced into many yards.
All three of these plants are excellent for landscaping in this area. However, they are not easy to find since few nurseries grow native shrubs. The two white-flowered raspberry shrubs are in bloom at this time, and you can usually find both species in this area. There are several of these natives growing on the grounds at the Hiwan Homestead Museum. They must have been planted many years ago when the house was built. They are now graceful, blooming shrubs.
It is once more “yellow peril” time. With our exceptionally early spring, the ponderosa pines are blooming earlier than usual this year. High wind gusts yesterday and rain this afternoon knocked many of the pollen-bearing flowers from the trees, and as usual when the rain accumulated on my patio, the water was topped with golden yellow pollen.
It won’t hurt you; it’s just pine pollen, but if you are allergic to it, the next 10 days or so might be a bit difficult for you. As you go up the mountains, the bloom time becomes later, so if it presents a problem for you, you may not want to go higher in the mountains until July, and sometimes even in August, the pollen can be bad at high altitudes.
Pines are pollinated by wind, and you can often see sheets of yellow pollen blowing across the mountains. If we have a dry year with high winds, as we often do, there is usually a good pollination, and the pine trees will have many pine cones. But it takes them several years to develop, so don’t expect them this fall.
Depending upon the variety, they can take from 18 months to five years to mature, so look for them a few years down the road.