Weekend roundup

last child coverA bunch of odds and ends …

Richard Louv webcast. Louv, best-selling author, chairman of the Children & Nature Network, columnist, & recipient of the 2008 Audubon Medal will speak on Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder as part of the Cornell Plantations lecture series, 7:30 p.m. Eastern, Sept. 24. The event is sold out, but you can watch the live webcast. I’m pretty sure that the lecture will be archived and will post a link when it’s available.

Check out this temporary park in Collegetown created by landscape architecture students. The one-day event was sponsored by The Trust for Public Land and celebrated parks by creating temporary parks in public places.

Durand Van Doren, local metal artist extraorinaire, gave a great talk at the ACNARGS meeting Saturday. Too bad the weather was so nice and attendance was sparse. He told me that he’s due to install the remaining two gates on the north and south sides of Minns Garden this fall. I’ll have pictures when he does.

west gate at Minns

Ladybug, ladybug, where have you gone? Another Ithaca Journal article about a citizen science project involving gardeners, students and others to find “the once-ubiquitous beetles entomologists call Coccinella novemnotata — or C-9, for short.” It’s our state insect here in New York, but was last collected here in 1970, having been displaced by alien ladybug species that have a penchant for coming inside over winter.

high angle sod sculptureHigh-angle pix – When I was shooting the new sod sculpture at Bluegrass Lane last week, I thought I was doing good to get a high-angle shot from a lift on the turf crew’s utility vehicle.

But while I was out there, I met Bob Chiang, the father of one of the students who did me one better when it comes to high-angle shots. Bob rigs gas-powered model airplanes with digital cameras to get really high-angle shots. But at this shoot, he was experimenting for the first time with a camera mounted on a telescoping 25-foot survey pole. Shooting blind, I think the results were quite good. If I were a professional garden photographer, I’d rush right out and get one of these so that I could get a ‘second-story shot’ from anywhere. Check out Bob’s Landmark Images photo galleries for some great shots of the area from his model airplane.

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Skunk Cabbage Run, bees and peepers

skunk cabbage run
Since Sunday morning, there have been three important events that herald spring and the opening of gardening season here.

  • The annual Skunk Cabbage Run (half marathon or 10K, take your pick) goes by our front door every year on the first Sunday in April, or at least that’s my recollection. Sometimes it’s snowy or sleeting or generally miserable. But this year it was beautiful. Sunny and 50s as the runners passed and 60s later on.
  • When I finally finished my taxes and got outside, first thing I noticed is the bees are back — working over the spring ephemerals (pix below) like Fred working over his bowl of kibbles.
  • Then tonight while doing a little more tidying up outside, I heard the spring peepers for the first time. They haven’t turned the volume up to 11 yet. But it was a nice chorus.

Here’s what was blooming yesterday …

Iris

skunk cabbage run day blossoms

Hungry bee

skunk cabbage run day blossoms

Another bee …

skunk cabbage run day blossoms

OK, last one (even though I have more) …

skunk cabbage run day blossoms

And one last Iris shot.

skunk cabbage run day blossoms

And a crocus series …

skunk cabbage run day blossoms

Closer …

skunk cabbage run day blossoms

Closests

skunk cabbage run day blossoms

Yellow crocus

skunk cabbage run day blossoms

I should know this but I don’t …

skunk cabbage run day blossoms

OK, one last bee shot …

skunk cabbage run day blossoms

And my snowdrops. Not as impressive at Hitch’s. But I like ’em.

skunk cabbage run day blossoms

skunk cabbage run day blossoms

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Michael Pollan on CCD and CAFOs

In Our Decrepit Food Factories in today’s New York Times Magazine, Michael Pollan ties together the problems of antibiotic-resistant bacteria from factory farms and Colony Collapse Disorder in bees. Here’s his bottomline:

From this perspective, the story of Colony Collapse Disorder and the story of drug-resistant staph are the same story. Both are parables about the precariousness of monocultures. Whenever we try to rearrange natural systems along the lines of a machine or a factory, whether by raising too many pigs in one place or too many almond trees, whatever we may gain in industrial efficiency, we sacrifice in biological resilience. The question is not whether systems this brittle will break down, but when and how, and whether when they do, we’ll be prepared to treat the whole idea of sustainability as something more than a nice word.

Bee on Colchicum autumnale ‘Alboplenum’
Bee on Colchicum autumnale ‘Alboplenum’

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