JUNE

June 1st OUT OF THE WOODS
The canopy of leaves is now complete. The woods are bathed in a fresh green glow of light emanating, it seems, from all directions at once. Even from below, the unfurled ferns glow like beacons pointed skyward. We are surrounded. We are saturated.

At the wood edges, the green glowing eerily in the background, there is plenty of sunlight, and in it, a new bunch of flowers to revel in. Here I found the wild geranium and golden Alexanders growing side by side. Both have a similar habit of growth. Their tall, slender, branching flower stalks rise to a height of two feet or more, the flowers blooming at the ends of each branch. In addition to the stem leaves, both have long petioled basal leaves surrounding the flower stalk. However, this is where the similarity ends.

The wild geranium (Geranium maculatum) has opposite leaves that are deeply cut into five or seven lobes. The basal leaves are identical, only larger. Smaller pairs of three lobed leaves appear at the base of the loose flower cluster. The delicate flowers, with five petals each, are a pale rosy color tending toward lavender, giving it the common name of shameface. It is also known as crane's-bill, owing to the shape of its seed pods which are long, slender and pointed. When ripe, the pod splits vertically from the base into five segments that curl backwards and upwards, hurling the seeds in all directions.

This particular clump of wild geranium came here in a shovelful of day lily plants that I had dug up from my sister's yard many years ago. They have reseeded themselves and spread nicely around the garden.

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