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Outdoors: State Fair

an aerial picture of a sunny afternoon at a state fair in late summer

Most states hold a state fair at the end of August or the beginning of September.

Oscar Hammerstein knew this when he was tasked with writing the lyrics for the 1945 movie musical “State Fair. “

The problem was, the moody young female lead, probably responding to youthful hormonal surges, was as “restless as a willow in a windstorm,” “starry-eyed, and gravely discontented.”

When Hammerstein explained to Richard Rogers that Margy was acting like she had spring fever, the composer replied that  “It Might as Well Be Spring.”

We all know about the ‘’flowers that bloom in the spring” but for a few species, September and October might as well be spring.

The quintessential late bloomer is a small tree called Witch Hazel. Its fragrant bright yellow flowers can bloom as late as November, long after the leaves have fallen.

Our native bush honeysuckles bloom this time of year. Actually, they bloom most of the summer, but this time of year, their leaves turn a reddish-purple, so the yellow flowers are more noticeable.

But red osier dogwood? They bloom in the spring. And by this time of the year, they sport crimson foliage and clusters of white berries. 

Once in a while, pretty little flowers bloom this time of year.  

It rarely happen on mature trees, but apparently, young dogwoods respond to the decreasing hours of daylight—which are essentially are the same as the photoperiod as in springtime.  

Apparently, it’s just a little hormonal confusion in immature trees. And it really doesn’t hurt anything. For immature dogwoods, “It might as well be spring.”

"Outdoors with Coggin Heeringa" can be heard every Wednesday on Classical IPR.