It has been a brutal summer for the plants at the Arnold Arboretum. In the four months between June 9 and October 8, the grounds received a mere 4.53 inches of rain. Last Monday, I headed out to see if last weekend’s rains had revived the trees, shrubs, and lianas, and came upon a wonderful scene in the juniper collection: a set of spider webs glistening in the sun, with droplets of water looking like jewels floating in the air. Juniperus communis (1434-80*A), the common juniper, was hardly common at the moment! Instead, it was magical.
Take a close look at the top image to see if you can find the spider waiting for its prey. The big droplet in the bottom right photograph of a drooping shoot tip shows a fisheye lens reflection of the entire world around it. The interplay of water droplets on the strongly hydrophobic surfaces of plants is always amazing, and a reminder that the moment that rain ends is a perfect time for a walk in the Arboretum.