links: poison lawns, a cubic foot of diversity, and help wanted at sissinghurst

CLICK, CLICK, CLICK. That’s the sound of me in the “offseason,” digging around the web for a harvest inspiration and information. The week’s links include a chilling new warning about kids and lawns; more on rice and the arsenic connection; a fantastic look at the diversity in the tiny space of one cubic foot–and, if you’re job-hunting, an opening for head gardener at Sissinghurst Castle.

keep the kids off the lawn

NO SURPRISE here, but sort of a brutal reminder: The Great American Lawn in its most traditional sense (loaded with anything-but-green additives such as pesticides) is no place for your children. Early life exposure is linked to “pediatric cancers, decreased cognitive function, and behavioral problems.” So warns the American Academy of Pediatrics in a new report. SafeLawns.org, as ever, distills the takeaways. Make this the year you give up the weed and feed for good, please.

christmas bird count

THE 113th annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count begins December 14, running through January 5. Sign up to help here by counting birds at feeders, or along with a nearby group out in the field (search by zip code for contact information for local groups to accompany at this link). Participation is free; no registration fee.

the diversity in one cubic foot

I HAVE A fascination with the interconnection of plant and insect (and other) species, and so when NPR’s Robert Krulwich shouted out a “one cubic foot” project that examined how incredibly many species could be living in even that small an amount of soil/space, I was drawn right in. From Central Park to Costa Rica, the diversity sampled in the creation of a new book by photographer David Liittschwager was potentially phenomenal, unless the cubic foot being examined is in a modern-day cornfield, which has no species–no life–but the GMO corn. Read/listen to Krulwich’s segment, or an extensive piece by “The Guardian” about Liittschwager’s work. The book is “A World in One Cubic Foot: Portraits of Biodiversity,” with an introduction by E.O. Wilson.

of arsenic and brown rice

RICE? I live on the stuff, eating short-grain organic brown rice daily, as I have for decades, so I have been confused/dismayed this fall to read the questions about it containing inorganic arsenic, a carcinogen. Did you see the recent “New York Times” blog interview with the head of Lundberg Farms, a major American grower? It was a followup to a Times story about how Lundberg has been dealing with consumer questions. There’s more detail on the Lundberg company website. (And, yes, even after all that reading, I have another pot of rice bubbling on the stove.)

wanted: head gardener for sissinghurst

SISSINGHURST CASTLE in Kent, England, the former home and garden of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson and visited by 195,000 tourists a year, is looking for a new head gardener. Interested? (Wikipedia photo of Vita’s Tower.)

CategoriesNature organics
  1. Betsy says:

    When we left suburbia and moved out to old farm land, my husband slowly stopped treating our yard like a lawn. We don’t mess with weed killers except for one indulgence. We kill the poison Ivy and oak from our path in the woods. The yard is left alone. The weeds look very green when the tractor mows them. :)

  2. Jason says:

    The One Cubic Foot books looks fantastic, just the kind of thing I love. Being head gardener at Sissinghurst would be another thing I would love, but I doubt that’s going to happen.

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