Showing posts from July, 2015

Children, Nature, Botany = it's our future

Gardening is a wonderful way to help children appreciate and learn about the science in and of the world around them.
There are lots of easy to understand hands-on activities from planting seeds to pulling weeds that introduce children to the importance of what is going on with plants and nature.
Every child has access to nature even if it is only weeds in sidewalks and the birds in nearby trees. Houseplants, flowers, as well as fruits and vegetables at the grocery store can provide topics for conversation.
The library and the internet ( are loaded with entertaining suggestions for botany lessons with children. Schools, churches, and local public gardens offer gardening-with-children activities.
Things to look for at the library include flower and tree identification guides for older children and  introductory books for little ones, such as “Wonders of Nature” Golden Books, “How a Seed Grows” Lets Read and Find, “The Tiny Seed” The World of Eric Carle, and “A Leaf C…

Garden Experts? - Pah!

Anne Wareham raises an interesting question: Do we need garden experts?

I've thought about this recently and wonder what you think? In the most excellent gardening blog Thinkin Gardens, Anne protests. I mostly protest inside my own head, being less connected and courageous than Anne.

Here are Wareham's thoughts to consider 

This winterGraham Rice, a garden expert if ever I met one,  put up a post on Mr Fothergill’s (a seed company) blog called “Top Five Plants to Avoid in 2015!” (here). Two of his no no’s were disputable to me. He portrayed variegated ground elder as an evil spreader, and warned us off hellebore seedlings that our friends might offer us. Well, my variegated ground elder is getting swamped by quite ordinary (if vigorous) garden plants, and where it once was a dramatic ground cover, doing a sterling job of keeping weeds down, it is now reduced to looking super in spring in rather small patches. (see here). Nor have I personally found that it or ordinary ground …

Wildlife in CA during the Level 4 drought

Our drought is just now relieved with 40-inches of rain in the first 7 months of 2015. We saw the results of a few years of drought in NE OK and they were sad to say the least.

In CA there is no relief in sight.

At the UC Botanical Garden, Daniel Mosquin reported on what he observed on one of my favorite botanical blogs, Botany Photo of the Day.

Here's a link to the well-worth-reading article -

A small constructed pond sits on the low side of UBC Botanical Garden's EH Lohbrunner Alpine Garden. This pond was absolutely "hopping" (bad pun intended) with activity on a hot day during an unusually dry July. Many Pacific tree frogs (Hyla regilla (PDF) were sunning themselves on the leaves of Nymphoides peltata. In the water were hundreds of tadpoles nearly ready to join them. The frogs were a treat to see, but other signs of wildlife around the pond reminded me of the ecological importance of wa…

Participant Science =

You can help study the impacts of changing climates by spotting seasonal features of plants.

Zooniverse has started a new project: Season Spotter. “Season Spotter is asking volunteers to help identify changes in plants, shrubs, and trees over the seasons, so we can better understand the impact of climate change on vegetation. The project’s images are of landscapes, taken by more than 200 elevated automatic cameras from across North America, and include forests, grasslands, wetlands, dry shrubland, and tundra. It is a collaboration between Harvard University, the U.S. National Ecological Observatory Network, and the Zooniverse.”

Click on the button on the left and this is what you'll get to respond to a few questions =

The questions seem very repetitive ...

Signing in and registering is suggested but not required.

Check it out. It may be just the project your family has been looking for!

Two Ways to Classify …

Wheel Bugs - one of the good guys

You may be innocent of this but from time to time, I have been so frustrated with damage in my garden that I kill insects. 
Learning to identify the helpful ones reduces senseless carnage and increases the possibility of having insects do some of our work for us.
This practice also restores the garden's environment to one with healthy plants and soil in the process.

Wheel Bugs, rilus cristatus, can look like a lot of other insects if we don't recognize their nymph and adult forms.
Related to stink bugs, water striders and bed bugs, wheel bugs buzz when flying, pierce their victims when caught, and exude a scent. They are easily confused with squash bugs by frustrated gardeners.
Read more at this 2003 entry of HiltonPond.
From the Soil blog has great photos of the molting process. The photo below is from their 2011 entry.

Joe Howell Speaking - Daylilies in Landscapes

When - August 6 at 6:30
Where - Tulsa Garden Center
What -  Joe Howell will discuss daylilys in the landscape and also include
pointers on hard scape objects in the landscape. 
Mr Howell is founder and CEO of Howell & Vancuren Landscape Architects. Among their more notable projects are the grounds surrounding Crystal Bridges American Art Museum in Bentonville, AK and the gardens surrounding Tulsa's Philbrook Art Museum. 
Sponsored by Tulsa Area Daylily Society more information Susan

Children's Books - Science, Environment, etc.

Here's a list of books for the little ones in your life. (From Readlist)

The Blue Whale: A Loving Science Lullaby for Our Planet’s Largest-Hearted Creature
An affectionate tour of an alternate universe right here on earth, where it’s possible to grow by nine pounds an hour and never sleep. Read: Now - LaterHow Jane Goodall Turned Her Childhood Dream into Reality: A Sweet Illustrated Story of Purpose and Deep Determination
A heartening testament to the power of undivided intention.