‘PLANT A CARROT, get a carrot, not a Brussels sprout,’ proclaims the song from the 1960 (and ongoing) musical “The Fantasticks.” But in 2014–no thanks to genetic engineering, gladly, but to charmingly low-tech creativity and total brilliance–you can plant a carrot and get a clarinet. I’ve been watching this over and again for weeks, and meant to share it sooner. Sorry to be distracted and selfish until now, but thankfully there’s still time to sow more clarinets. Bless you, Linsey Pollak.
THE LECTURE that he’s been giving for a number of years is not-so-subtly called “Kill Your Lawn.” Ecological horticulturist Dan Jaffe Wilder knows that starting over and creating an entire native habitat instead of a lawn isn’t for everyone. But Dan just wants to grab our attention and get us to start to make some changes at least in the way we care for the turfgrass we do want in our landscapes. And maybe give up a little square footage of it to some other kind of more diverse planting, too, like the wild strawberries (Fragaria virginiana, inset). Alternative, more eco-focused styles of lawn care, along with some lawn alternatives is what he and I talked about on the podcast. Dan is Director of Applied Ecology at Norcross Wildlife Foundation in Wales, Massachusetts, and its 8,000-acre sanctuary. He’s also co-author with Mark Richardson of the book “Native Plants for New England Gardens.”