Sunday, May 8, 2016

Return to Lush

I looked out my window this week and realized that green had suddenly taken over. Gaps between branches were now filled in, turning the view outside my windows into lush curtains of leaves. Out the front, I can no longer see the birdhouse that has fresh eggs; I was hoping to be able to watch the parents come and go.  Out the back, the neighboring house is an occasional flash of white when the breeze knocks the branches askew.

It is the perfect time to remember that this area is considered the southern edge of a temperate rainforest. From Wikipedia: “The Appalachian temperate rainforest is located in the southern Appalachian Mountains of the eastern U.S. About 351,500 square kilometers (135,000 square miles) of forest land is spread across southwestern Virginia, western North Carolina, northern Georgia, and eastern Tennessee. The annual precipitation is more than 60 inches.”

Iris virginica loves being wet

While some figures put my county just outside this region, I think we’re inside it. Rainfall measurements put us in the 56 inches+ range and there are some years that put us over 60. A search for nearby Holly Springs from 5/1/15 to 5/1/16 returned a statistic of 62.3 inches of rain.

No shortage of water at the nearby Old Mill site in Roswell

Are we having more rain than usual? There are people that say we are; people that swear it never used to rain this much when they were a kid. I suspect it is not terribly far off from normal. This chart from 1961-1990 shows our area in the 56-58 inch range (and I see that the person quoted above actually lived in the 48-50 range area). I remember that when I first moved here in 1988, if the rain chance was 30% or higher, we usually got rain.

I enjoy living inside the curtain of green. Healthy native plants attract an interesting array of insects which in turn attract a variety of birds. No matter what you call it, I am pleased to be surrounded by abundant and diverse native vegetation and the ecosystem that it supports.

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