Some time ago I wrote a post suggesting the need for genetic engineering to endow American trees with resistance to the introduced, non-native pests that are ravaging our forests. Recently I learned about progress in a project designed to do precisely that.
American chestnuts before the blight — Forest History Society
A century ago. the American chestnut was one of the foundations of the eastern North American forest; indeed, in some areas of Connecticut (the state in which I live) American chestnuts once constituted 50% of the hardwoods. In the early years of the 20th century, however, a fungal blight introduced accidentally from Asia killed nearly all of the mature trees. Today, almost all that survives is occasional sprouts from the roots of blight-felled trees.
Efforts have been made since the 1930’s at least to breed blight-resistant chestnuts by crossing resistant Chinese chestnuts with our vulnerable natives. It has been a slow process because trees take so long to mature sex..
The very day I wrote about Prayer Flags in my Garden, complaining that they only come in primary colors, a neighbor volunteered to help me, writing on Facebook:
If I wanted to do this as a craft to match my garden I would go buy some fabric and an ink pad and stamps for making your own prayer flags or even just garden flags of some kind. Then just sew them over a cord. If you ever wanna do that – lemme know, I will help you.
That was from Heather Brooks, who I knew as a local blogger and volunteer bartender at my favorite hang-out.
Another neighbor said she needed to block “clutter in a neighbor’s yard” and asked where to buy the stamps and black waterproof paint. Heather said to look “in the tee shirt decorating aisle at the craft store that are meant for textiles.”
Then a third neighbor chimed in: “I have a set of prayer flags and markers for creating my own and would love to get together with others, to make a series of prayer flags.” And that may actually happen.
But I’m not t..
We had heavy rains this Christmas season, with eerily warm temperatures in the 60s and 70s. The Salt River was swollen, while winter jasmines and even a few Asian cherries were in full bloom. The Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, delivered on a long-held promise to bloom on Christmas Day.
My former neighbor, Paul McKinney, would hail these winter warm spells as “one less day of winter.” But last month we had two weeks of balmy weather, not just a day’s relief. I don’t want to go all snake-handler Pentecostal and say, “We’re going to pay for this,” but something’s cooking. (The Christmas roses are burnt toast, now. The temperature dipped to 8F [-13C] on Monday morning.)
The Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, at Christmastime.
There seems to be little dispute among climate scientists about global warming. Yet many ignore the worsening trend; others fret about what a warmed global climate will mean and try to make lifestyle changes.
The maverick scientist and theorist James Lovelock th..
Image courtesy of Shutterstock
Before Christmas, my husband and I had dinner with the wildflower queen herself, Miriam Goldberger, and her husband Paul Jenkins. We see them once or twice a year, because their company, Wildflower Farms, based in Coldwater, Ontario, has a Buffalo distribution center. After the events of 9/11/01 and the subsequent anthrax scares, it was no longer possible to mail seeds from Canada to the U.S. without paying inspection fees that could add $75 to the cost of each pack of seeds. In order to serve their U.S. customers and stay competitive, Wildflower Farms has a US-based warehouse and distribution center.
As many of you may know, Miriam published a lovely book about wildflowers, Taming Wildflowers, in 2014. If you follow her on Facebook, you know she posts images of gorgeous wildflowers in her Ontario fields all year round, even in winter. And some of us (not me, sadly) visited Wildflower Farms as an extra garden bloggers’ Fling trip la..
We love this graphic from garden writer (and activist) C. L. Fornari, the Garden Lady. What she’s calling the “flow chart for the Gardening Revival” has been shared on garden blogs everywhere and over 1,300 times on Facebook alone.
Flow Chart for the Gardening Revival originally appeared on Garden Rant on January 10, 2016.
Sometimes a death can spark a renaissance and I am hoping that will be the case with Allen Lacy who died on December 27th at age 80. I never knew him well – we spoke over the telephone on a number of occasions and I remember running into him once at some gardening event. I cannot, alas, claim him as a friend or even a mentor — but his work was a huge inspiration to me.
His columns for the Wall Street Journal (which ran from 1979 to 1985) and his 1984 book of essays, Home Ground, charted a new direction in garden writing. Previous to Lacy, American garden writing had limited itself largely to the how-to. Lacy set out to examine the where, the why and, especially, the who. Although he was a passionate plantsman, Lacy understood that gardens are largely about context, that an array of plants is interesting not just in itself but equally for what it says about the dreams and attitudes of the person who nurtures it, and for how it expresses the latent potential of the place.
Lacy had a re..
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