Posts made in October, 2012

New York City: A Study in Green

Posted by on Oct 30, 2012 in Uncategorized, Unmowed Blog | 0 comments

New York City. Where the buildings scrape the sky. Solid Cement. All brick and blacktop. Nothing green in the Big Apple, that’s for sure.             Except, of course, there is. There’s a wealth of  plants in all sorts of unexpected places. (Not to even mention Central Park, one of the most glorious greenspaces ever.) NYC is the greenest city I’ve ever seen. Parks, rooftop gardens, tree-lined streets, window boxes.   And then there’s the unplanned greenery. Lurking under the pavement are uncountable billions of roots, spores, dormant seeds. Any little crack and they leap for the sun. A...

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Wind Coming. Hold On.

Posted by on Oct 29, 2012 in Uncategorized, Unmowed Blog | 1 comment

All prepared for the storm. It’s not hard, really, when you live on top of a hill, miles from rivers and angry ocean waves. A few flashlights, batteries, candles, canned chili, lots of good books. Everything safely brought inside–the lawn chairs, the porch plants, the garden tools, the cat. No problem. We’re ready. I just wish I could bring the trees indoors. You really get to know trees, when you greet them in your yard every morning for thirty years. The pear twins that hold the hammock. The basswood at the foot of the driveway, with the big red oak just across. The group of...

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Good Mowing

Posted by on Oct 27, 2012 in Uncategorized, Unmowed Blog | 0 comments

Here’s a meadow at the Landis Arboretum in Esperance NY. Mowed flat. The brush-hog has done its work thoroughly. Everything cut down, all those gorgeous wildflowers. Nothing left but stubble. Yes! I’m not kidding. Mowing is sometimes a great thing. A field of wildflowers is a lovely sight, but a meadow doesn’t stay a meadow forever. Everything changes. Shrubs move in, then tree seedlings, and after a few decades or so, your meadow has become a forest. What could be better than a deep, dark forest? For oaks and wood ferns and red-eyed vireos, nothing. A forest is the habitat they need. But a...

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Common Milkweed: Early Snow

Posted by on Oct 26, 2012 in Uncategorized, Unmowed Blog | 1 comment

A bright and windy October day. Leaves flying, flags flapping. And a sudden drift of snowflakes across the busy highway. Snowflakes? No, no, it’s 65 degrees, the sun is shining… The “snow” appears to be coming from this abandoned (but spectacularly colorful) gas station. I look closer to investigate the white puffs flying through the air. And discover, not snow, but Milkweed. The seeds have ripened inside the big warty pods. On a dry day like today the pods crack open, and the seeds are laid bare. The breeze dries out the damp silky filaments attached to each seed, and fluffs it up into a...

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Basal Rosettes: Life in the Flat Lane

Posted by on Oct 25, 2012 in Uncategorized, Unmowed Blog | 2 comments

Amsterdam High School. I spend quite a lot of time in this parking lot, waiting waiting waiting for soccer practice to be over. So today I looked around to see who else is hanging around the blacktop.     This little opportunist is a species of thistle, I believe—not sure which one. The leaves are spread out flat, hugging the pavement—a very successful growth pattern, called a basal rosette. This growth pattern is common to a lot of the members of the Compositae (also called the Asteraceae), a huge group of plants that includes thistles, asters, daisies, knapweeds and dandelions. In a basal...

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