Last call for summer

winter tansy 1

The other morning I noticed an odd thing. In the clump of dried brown tansy stalks beside the porch, one clump of yellowish green leaves remained.

winter tansy 2

A closer look revealed a single blossom. Ordinarily, tansy blossoms are confined to the flat-topped head. They bloom in mid-July. Their leaves are so astringent, they repel almost all insects — which is why I grow them: they make a great mothball substitute. Also, I’ve used them in brewing, in lieu of hops.

But what made this one sprig’s clock go off so late? July is always when I start to notice harbingers of autumn: curly dock leaves turning purple, the first orange appearing on the black gum trees. Five months on, it seems that there are still a few forgotten corners of the natural world where the news of summer’s surrender has yet to penetrate. I am reminded a little of my partying days, how I always used to get my second wind at 4:00 in the morning when everyone else was nodding off. “Hey! C’mon! There’s still plenty of beer!”

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. We have had the same thing way out here. As of a couple of weeks ago, my quince (among others) was flowering again. A deep freeze during Thanksgiving week took care of all that though in a hurry- sort of like in MY partying days when I passed out cold while some guy was trying to wake everyone up because there was still beer left at 4AM.


    1. LOL. I envy you your quince. I have heard such good things about quince pies and jelly.


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