Saturday, December 31, 2011

Nature Apps

We have an abundance of information these days. The technology is evolving fast making it easy to get answers on your phone wherever you are. Here are some of my favorite nature apps.

Bird identification: iBird BackyardiBird Backyard Plus covers 234 birds, including all 149 common backyard feeder birds of North America, plus 86 common shorebirds and raptors.”

Tree identificationLeafsnap – " Leafsnap is the first in a series of electronic field guides being developed by researchers from Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution. This free mobile app uses visual recognition software to help identify tree species from photographs of their leaves.”

Plant databaseLandscaper’s Companion“Landscaper's Companion is your mobile plant reference guide. It fits in your pocket or in the palm of your hand. It's great for simple browsing, selecting plants for lands, gaining greater plant education, or just viewing beautiful high quality images of flora. Landscaper's Companion is perfect for casual gardeners, landscapers, or aspiring botanists.”

What are your favorite apps? Leave a comment and share them with the all of us.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Christmas Pickle

The myth: A very old Christmas tradition in Germany was to hide a pickle [ornament] deep in the branches of the family Christmas Tree. The parents hung the pickle last after all the other ornaments were in place. In the morning they knew the most observant child would receive an extra gift from St. Nicholas.
Good friends gave me this Garden Pickle Christmas Ornament. He’s too cute to hide.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year filled with bountiful gardens!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Chia Hussy

In October, while looking for something that might work as a quick project for kids, I tried making a Chia Pet.

I collected a knee high stocking, potting soil, some grass seed from the garage and various cups, funnels, spoons and markers. I stretched the stocking over a plastic cup and put in about two tablespoons of grass seed.

Then I filled the stocking with potting soil.
I tied a knot in the end of the stocking, cut off the excess and turned it over.

I drew a face with permanent markers, watered the chia head and stood it up in a plastic bathroom cup. I thought she looked a like a bald lady of the evening.

In about 7 days she started growing hair and here she is after her latest haircut –
a chia hussy with a spike.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Founding Gardeners

Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation by Andrea Wulf

This extensively researched book takes you into the minds and lives of Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Madison and Franklin.

Starting with the insistence of George Washington to plant native trees at Mount Vernon in the 1700's, continuing through the Revolutionary War and on through the Presidencies of Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Madison, this book contains an overwhelming amount of information.

A 128 page bibliography testifies to the thoroughness of documentation. It is an interesting tale of how much horticulture meant to the founders of our country.