Today: a Surprise in the Carex

Look what I found sunbathing out in my Carex pensylvanica today: He seemed to realize that he would be well camouflaged among the dried out Carex rather than among the autumn ferns or sarcococca further up the slope. He also matches my wall almost EXACTLY. p.s. it really bothers me that pensylvanica only has one n.  What... Continue Reading →

Annie Dillard — Suburban Pilgrim

For years I have worshipped Annie Dillard's book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, her Pulitzer-prize winning meditation on nature written back in the 1970's.  I keep a copy of it on my Kindle, and whenever the world feels too much with me, I like to retreat into a few of its pages.  Her descriptions of giant... Continue Reading →

Butterflies in Maryland

First a few species that are native to the DC area, including the larval host plant(s) for the species.  Denaus plexippus - Monarch.  Milkweed spp. Battus philenor - Pipevine Swallowtail.  Aristolochia species and Virginia Snakeroot. Polygonia interrogationis - Question Mark.  Elm, Hackberry, Nettles, False Nettles. Question Mark -- top of wings visible while it's nectaring. Monarch... Continue Reading →

My Trip to Mount Cuba Center

Mount Cuba Center, in Hockessin, Delaware (near Wilmington), has long been on my garden visit bucket list.  It is a paradise of native Piedmont plants, and an inspiration for all of us living in "suburban woodlands" here in the mid-Atlantic. What I learned: the key to a great Woodland Garden is open shade.  They had... Continue Reading →

Conservation vs. Protection

What's the difference? I ask because I came across this quote from Teddy Roosevelt when I visited Roosevelt Island this weekend: "Conservation Means Development as Much as it Does Protection." Coming from the man who established the National Park System, I raised an eyebrow when I read this.  These terms -- conservation, preservation, protection, etc.... Continue Reading →

The Heart and Soul of America

If you had to choose one place in the United States that you felt all Americans should visit, one landscape or landmark representative of the "American ethos", what would it be? I started pondering that question last week after reading a piece in the great gardening e-mag Garden Drum. The article's Australian author, Catherine Stewart,... Continue Reading →

“Now Entering the Xeric Hardpan Forest”

Recently I purchased and read Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachians and Piedmont. Now, before you go labeling me as a mega-dweeb, you should know that plant communities are super hot right now. All the coolest middle aged suburban garden bloggers are talking about them and how they can be used as inspirations... Continue Reading →

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