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Monday, June 17, 2013





Monday,  8:30 AM.  The wind is NNE with occasional stronger gusts.  There was rain accompanied by high winds  at times last evening and it is very wet everywhere, but there was not much actual accumulation.    The barometer is rather stuck around 29.97 in. and the humidity is high.  The sky is blanketed with a low overcast and it promises to be a cold, wet day.
   Joan and I attended services at our little Christ Episcopal Church yesterday, which is now only open during the summer months and serviced by visiting clergy.  The hybrid horsechestnut pictured above is in the front yard of the parish house.  Its flowers are very similar to the hybrid buckeyes we have planted as city street trees, but the tree is much larger; it is, I believe, the hybrid 'Brioti.' It is beautiful in flower, and I have never seen it bear fruit (horsechestnuts are similar to the closely related Ohio buckeye  nut).  The tree is perfectly hardy in Bayfield and is quite handsome overall.
   The  bunchberry, Cornus canadensis, is a rather astonishing miniature of the famed flowering dogwood tree, Cornus Florida, of the South.  The flowers are similar but smaller, the leaves virtually the same, also the bright red berries.  It is, however, a creeping ground cover rather than a medium sized tree.  The small, football shaped berries grow in little bunches.  They are edible, but I find them rather tasteless.
   The plants pictured above are growing in great mats on the south side of Blume Road, which is a dead end road that intersects with Hwy. K north of Hwy.  13.
  We lived north of New York City in Westchester County for a number of years, and the hillsides were glorious with flowering dogwood blossoms in late spring (one bluff along the Hudson River turned so creamy white with dogwood blossoms it was called Buttermilk Hill). And then in the early '80's a devastating blight killed many of the trees and disfigured most.  The last I heard the disease, for which there is no real control,  had somewhat burned itself out.   The unrivaled beauty of  massed blooms of flowering dogwoods is no longer to be seen, but  their minute northern cousins, the bunchberries, bring back those buttermilk memories.

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