September 2009 – The Local Scoop – Scoop Summer Synopsis

Let It Rain (in all its forms)
The summer is almost over, and what a range of climatic conditions we endured! While the media moped, fuelling the malaise of the general public about the soggy summer, most plants and native plant enthusiasts revelled in the prolonged watering when it mattered most. Though, some species were not too happy about the lack of sunshine. Just ask the Scoop’s swamp milkweed which produced tiny flower buds but didn’t bloom this year. It should have been a glorious display. Either the semi-shade aspect was unforgiving or The Scoop must have been on the wrong Santa’s list. Nevertheless, with all that rain, trees & shrubs, and bog gardens, generally, were in their element.
All in all, it was a much-needed respite from the Drought of ’07.
Aphid Effluence

It seemed that the copious rain produced a bountiful crop of aphids this year. Aphids sipping on plant phloem, bulking up on carbs, expelled the excess as “honeydew” in such large volumes that they wet leaves and left a sticky, shiny, coating everywhere, including on vehicles. The Scoop had to hose down the Scoopmobile daily from the aftermath of aphids gorging on Norway maple juice. At least Norway maples are good for something???

Rodents Rule but Oaks Reign
Not to be outdone, and while it wasn’t a mast year, the oaks put on a pretty good show. But it was really collaboration between oaks and gray squirrels. The oaks produced quite hefty acorns this year, providing the ammo. The squirrels provided the fire power by dropping or sometimes flinging acorns from such heights that it sounded like the crack of rifle shot when each one hit the wooden deck below. The Scoop took shelter under the swing awning but got nailed a couple of times when the squirrels violated the terms of engagement by operating outside the normal hours of dawn and dusk.