Conditions: A stalled low pressure system brings more rain and possible thunderstorms today and through the weekend.
As this picture indicates, even the exuberance of untucking blankets and sheets can’t really placate the caninaturalist on these dreary days. Frankly, I don’t blame her.
We're trying to find consolation in the fact that there is one group of organisms really benefiting from these conditions: our local plants. After a dry start to the summer, they can really use the rain.
Our favorite perennial enjoying the precipitation is the bigleaf lupine (Lupinus polyphyllus). This gorgeous perennial grows on both coasts of North America, but it seems to favor the rugged landscape of upland forest and northern coasts. This time of year, it is blooming absolutely everywhere in Maine, and many a field are lit up with its rich colors.
It’s hard for a caninaturalist not to love a plant with a name like lupine (especially when she wears a collar by the same name). We’ve read a few different accounts of how this flower came by its moniker: one source says that it’s because the individual flowers look like dog teeth. Another says its because their silvery appearance glows in the moonlight (which may be why there is a werewolf named Lupin in Harry Potter). My favorite explanation, though, comes from a book called Wildflowers Worth Knowing by Neltje Blanchan. There, Blanchan writes:
Sleep—and drink—on, lupine. We’ll join you in the sunshine next week.
Farmers once thought that this plant preyed upon the fertility of their soil, as we see in the derivation of its name, from lupus, a wolf; whereas the lupine contents itself with sterile waste land no one should grudge it--steep, gravelly banks, railroad tracks, [and] exposed sunny hills. . . . It spreads far and wide in thrifty colonies, reflecting the vivid color of June skies, until, as Thoreau says, "the earth is blued with it."
The lupine is another of those interesting plants which go to sleep at night. Some members of the genus erect one half of the leaf and droop the other half until it becomes a vertical instead of the horizontal star it is by day. Sun dial, a popular name for the wild lupine, has reference to this peculiarity. . . . "That the sleep movements
of leaves are in some manner of high importance to the plants which exhibit them," says Darwin, "few will dispute who have observed how complex they sometimes are."