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Tuesday, June 18, 2013






Tuesday,  9:00 AM.  54 degrees F, wind NNE, calm to very light.  the sky is clear with some haze, the humidity is down at 66% and the barometer is way up, at 30.30 in.  It should be a nice day.
   The annual lupine display is starting, I would look for peak viewing to be in about a week to ten days.
   The reconstruction of Hwy. 13 through town is proceeding apace, but I think they will be hard pressed to have evrything done by the Fourth of July as planned.
   The mountain ash trees are in bloom.  We have two native species, Sorbus americana and Sorbus decora; we also have the European species, Sorbus aucuparia, which is much sold in the nursery trade and escaped into the wild.  All are quite similar in general flower, fruit and leaf characteristics and I am hard pressed myself to keep them apart. They are not true ash trees, but are closely related to apples in the rose family. They been  given the their common name because of their ash-like pinnately compound leaves.  At some point when I have time I will go into them in depth, but from a landscape standpoint they can be pretty much used and treated alike, as small to medium sized ornamental and street trees, the fruits of which are valuable to wildlife.  None are very long lived and they should not be used as anchor trees in the landscape.
  The hawthorns are also in bloom, the one pictured is a street tree on the corner of Second and Rittenhouse Ave.  There are many species in the hawthorn genus Crateagus, but at present I will lump them all together as small, decorative trees, with white blossoms and small apple-like red fruits, and most with thorns.  There are some truly spectacular varieties (use the blog site search engine to see the variety "Paul's scarlet')  and as I come across them in bloom I will address them separately.  Except for their thorns they make good park and landscape trees, but almost all are too low branching and spreading to make good street trees, requiring continual pruning to maintain sidewalk and street headroom.  If it weren't for that factor I would use them more as small ornamental street trees. The flowers have a scent that some find unpleasant, but I do not.
    As a young man digging trees in the nursery I hated hawthorns, for one could not ball and burlap a hawthorn without ending up looking like he had been in a fight with a bobcat.  Digging trees by machine  and growing them in pots eliminates some of the hazard but the thorniest varieties still can be dangerous to ship and to plant.
   Which brings up the thorny problems of the Obama administration, and a famous quote from Abe Lincoln:
"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time; but you can't fool all of the people all of the time."

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