The progression of blooming wildflowers, from early spring beauties deep in the woods of Camden Hills that open long before the trilliums, to the purple New England asters of late summer, is my personal naturalist calendar. As a girl, I walked everywhere, all summer long and entertained myself by identifying roadside flowers as they began to bloom. Now, even when I'm driving 55, I notice the date of first blooming of violets, phlox, chicory - even dandelions, which are an architectural marvel under a magnifying glass. I expect daylilies to bloom on July 4. This year, they did. In spite of the crowded late spring rush to bloom after the long cold spring, they were right on time at the edge of the beach road.

July is the month of yellow flowers. Last week, the tall bright yellow clusters of St. Johnswort (Hypericum perforatum) started blooming. They bloom earlier in their native Greece, and are named for St. John the Baptist Day (June 24). The inch-long flowers with bushy centers, and five petals that have tiny black dots on the borders and translucent dots on the leaves, are the common variety that is sold over-the-counter as an herbal anti-depressant, but has negative interactions with many other drugs

Flowers collected and steeped in olive oil, then strained, make a pain-relieving salve that is a beautiful garnet-red. For me, it was less effective than aspirin.

Christine Parrish's All-Weather Field Notebook pages are collected at