Monday, June 17, 2013

Enjoy the Flowers of the Season in PTown

I found this stunning bed of tulips, a variety I'd never seen before, on Anthony Street.
At this time of year a walk will bring you to flowers that will be gone all too soon. As the season turns into summer some of the gorgeous flowers of the spring will begin to disappear as other varieties come into bloom. On Anthony Street I found these lovely tulips, a new variety for me. The colors and shapes of the petals are a little different from any others I've ever come across. I'm not sure how long they will bloom, so I'm definitely enjoying them while I can.
Out in the National Seashore, along Provincelands Road, and on Race Point Road, near the Provincelands Visitor Center, the Scotch broom is in bloom for only another few days or so. This seasonal plant, with its bright yellow little blossoms stretching the length of its clusters of long stems, is actually a weed, related to the pea family, and capable of growing in harsh conditions like the sandy hillsides on the edges of the dunes. In some parts considered an invasive species and a nuisance, here, it helps to hold the sand in place, keeping it from constantly blowing onto the roads, or disappearing altogether in the stiff winds that can blow through this area, making it useful as well as beautiful. It may have been brought here from its native Scotland as a means to control coastal erosion, having been noticed thriving in the rather harsh maritime conditions found "across the pond" in the British Isles.
Blossoms of Scotch broom resemble those of green peas, but a bright yellow.
Some research sources say it may have been brought over as an ornamental plant used in Victorian gardens. Other sources say it began growing in US locations by accident wherever it fell to the ground. Since it was quite springy, resilient, cheap and plentiful, it was used in shipping cases of Scotch whiskey to foreign lands, layered between the precious bottles, acting sort of like packing peanuts or bubble wrap in the middle 1800s. A lot of it sprung up in California Gold Rush towns in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, where it is often considered a nuisance these days. A lot of whiskey was transported out west to lonely miners with a few dollars to spend, and no doubt many cases found their way to Provincetown as the cargo was shipped across the Atlantic and arrived on Yankee shores.
Take a walk or a bike ride out on the trails before this plant disappears, and take a stroll on Provincetown's streets to enjoy the flowers of the season before we get into the heat of the summer and the wonders brought by that kind of weather.

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