I’VE CONFESSED MY FASCINATION for the emerging 17-year periodical cicadas already, and that was even before being treated to this trailer for an hour-long documentary by filmmaker and timelapse specialist Samuel Orr. Now do you believe me that the genus name of these creatures who possess the master plan of all master plans—Magicicada–is no accident? Magic! Orr’s film, which is seeking funding on Kickstarter, will be done next year, and is projected to be shown on PBS in 2015. If you missed it: What I know about cicadas (a quick 101).
PERHAPS NO BIRDS are more familiar than crows and ravens—but which is which in these similar-looking members of the genus Corvus? And who’s smarter? Ellen Blackstone of the popular BirdNote public-radio show is our guide again as we look skyward in this latest installment in our collaborative series. And watch out, there’s a crow-or-raven quiz at the end of this one (which is why I’m not telling you who’s who in the photos along the way). [read more…]
I OFTEN SAY how the only thing I know with certainty about gardening, even after 30 years of experience, is this: Things will die. Just before my open garden day last week, a giant yellow magnolia called ‘Butterflies’ in the front yard decided quite unceremoniously that it was time to go. R.I.P., ‘Butterflies.’ But what felled you, I wonder? It was all so sudden–before I knew it, you were on the ground, and being carted away (above). [read more…]
I’M OFTEN ASKED by frustrated gardeners how I managed to get my big old hellebore plants to grow so lustily—as if they are finicky, or difficult. To me they seem easy, but since reader questions persist, I decided to ask the guy with 6 acres of mature plants and decades of hellebore-breeding experience, Barry Glick of Sunshine Farm and Gardens. In my latest radio-show (transcript highlights are on the jump if you prefer to read, not listen) we also covered when to divide woodland wildflowers, and some deer-resistant recommendations for the shade garden, too. [read more…]
A CONVERSATION WITH AN OLD FRIEND sent me searching deep in one overgrown border last month here for my forgotten plants of Primula veris—the common cowslip—which isn’t so common in nurseries after all, it seems, my friend was saying. I promptly moved the big clumps, still vigorous despite having found themselves swamped lately, from back-of-bed obscurity to front-and-center, and have enjoyed weeks of cheery bloom. [read more…]