Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Weekend

Blah, blah, blah, I'm so busy, to quote my sister. So as not to bore you, let me say it in haiku.

Don't cry, small nieces.
Your daddy will be home soon.
Lucky you're so cute.

Earth Day, family, Zen.
Sam, soccer. Emma, synchro.
No time for laundry.

Dog runs off, I'm late.
Sam gets x-rayed. He winces.
Meetings run over.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Wish I'd Written This One

From my sister's blog:

My sister [that would be me] mentioned composting on her blog recently. Compost, like dogs, is something of a running theme in our lives. When we were growing up, we
always had a compost pile for carrot peelings and teabags...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

News from the Arb

This morning, my inbox contained this great email from Arb horticulturalist and communicator extraordinaire Matthew Scott:

Good news! The next few days should be super days to walk through the Arb if you have a chance. The weeping cherry at the west end of the prairie is just starting to bloom. Some PJM azaleas along the Laurel Ridge Trail are this close to blooming, and bloodroot’s starting to flower. More and more of the Imagine/Align daffs are in bloom, too. And the Pieris in Heathdale is lovely as well. There are lots of birds enjoying this warmer weather. The red-tailed hawks are often scoping out the Main Valley, and Eastern Bluebirds, different kinds of sparrows, and goldfinches are enjoying the prairie. And, of course, the Canada Geese are livening up the riverfront. The butterflies are more numerous now, too. Yesterday I saw several mourning cloak butterflies throughout the Arboretum.

Some other things you might notice are the better view of the Main Valley from the 3 Corners area thanks to our wonderful caretakers, a more open Ridge Trail due to the hard work of Jeff, the caretakers, and volunteers, and some added sections of the wetland boardwalk thanks to Sarah Weiss’s steely resolve and her Passover-brownie-fueled assorted cast. The area around the Field Office has recently been cleaned up of much of the scrap metal and assorted wood thanks to Tom and the sheriff’s crew, too. And Tom had some of us slapping our foreheads saying “Why didn’t we think of that?” after he put door handles on the sliding garage door here at the Field Office. We recently had the Forestry Crew here taking down dead trees along the Laurel Ridge Trail. We’ll be removing that wood over the next several weeks. If you get a chance, check it out and marvel at how they managed to cut the trees down without harming any of the rhododendrons or azaleas. They did a great job.

See you at the Arb!


Matthew Scott
Collections/Natural Areas Specialist
Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum
Photo of bloodroot by Bob Grese. Laurel Ridge Trail entrance photo by MBGNA staff.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Dirt, Dress and Dinner

Three reasons I love my coworkers:

(1) I'm not the only person who keeps a container of vegetable food scraps on my kitchen counter. It bears a close resemblance to what I once called garbage. Some members of my family find the smell earthy and pleasant, while others find it, well, stinky.

(2) I'm not the only person who doesn't eat

(3) I'm not the only person who buys her
clothes at Kiwanis, the PTO Thrift Shop, and the Salvation Army.

Nevertheless, if everyone lived as I do, we would need
4.1 earths, mostly because I live in a big house, drive to work, and occasionally travel by air.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Mixing Work and Play

I am in the office area at the Arboretum's Reader Center, writing case statements for our top six funding priorities, when my cell phone rings. I don't recognize the number.


"Hello, this is Lily R. Tell Emma Jane she doesn't need to bring a sleeping bag."

"Okay. Does she need anything else?"

Pause. "Pajamas, a change of clothes and a toothbrush. Oh, and if she wants, a stuffed animal."

I wonder why all the kids' friends have my cell phone number. Does Rich get interrupted in the middle of conducting psychological testing to talk about slumber parties?

Monday, April 9, 2007

Plastic Shopping Bags

Used plastic bags are taking over my house. The equation goes like this:

Weekly Accumulation of Plastic Bags
+ 3 bright orange newspaper bags
+ 1 bread bag
+ 1 bagel or English muffin bag
+ 1 miscellaneous "I forgot my canvas bag" bag
- 1 doggie poop sack
- 1 garbage sack
+ 4 net weekly increase in plastic bags

To try to control the proliferation, and in celebration of
Earth Day, I am knitting a carry-all out of used plastic bags. This involves slicing the plastic bags into one-inch spiral strips, much as one might peel an apple. The slicing takes about fifteen minutes per bag. I've sliced one bag each morning and each evening for a week, and I now have a softball-sized ball of plastic "yarn."

My original plan was to give this plastic carry-all to my sister for her birthday on May 15. The current plan is to give it to my mother for her birthday on August 11. Depending on how things proceed, my sister-in-law's birthday isn't until the end of January.

Friday, April 6, 2007

The Community Garden

A dozen staff members are sharing a plot in the new community garden area at the Gardens. I had to promise Sam (8) and Emma Jane (10) that we would still maintain our vegetable strip in the gravelly area next to the driveway at home, which they love even though it yields very little.

My wish list:

Tomato - large and grape or cherry - any color
Eggplant - small and large
Colored pepper (or green if we can't get color)
Cabbage - green
Green Beans
Onion - especially Vidalia or other mild, sweet
Carrot - any variety
Squash (summer & winter with a pumpkin or two)
Melon - is it possible?
Mushrooms - probably not possible?
Corn - maybe a separate plot just for this?

I would have added sugar snap peas to the list, but they need to be planted no later than St. Patrick's Day. I planted some at home last weekend while Sam played soccer against the garage door.

The vegetable plot pictured above is located at Missouri Botanical Garden. We hope our plot will look as lovely one day.