From a post about exhibition photography and plants on the Walker Art Center blog:
“One aspect of my position as a photographer here at the Walker is to document the exhibitions. This has been an ongoing process dating back to the beginning of the Walker Art Center. While reviewing images of past exhibitions, I began to notice something now absent in the galleries, potted plants.”
Spring has come early this year, and the insects are beginning to catch up. Wafting from tree to tree I spied a Mourning Cloak butterfly today, the earliest butterfly to appear each spring. Mourning Cloaks more commonly feed on tree sap, but will occasionally do their pollination duty and seek out nectar sources from flowers. Oddly enough, Mourning Cloaks are an overwintering species, spending the cold season tucked away in the crevices of old logs, or lodged beneath the protected eaves of a building. As the name suggests, the butterfly’s wings are mostly dark, and somber colored- but the insect gets around. You should be able to find one of your own virtually anywhere in the USA. Look for adults and their spiny, red and black caterpillars on willows (Salix), elm (Ulmus), and birch (Betula).
The view from the Free People offices in Philadelphia, PA. Submitted by Carrie Yotter.
Got a great view? Share with us your nature-based view from your home, farm, vacation spot or office. Make sure you take the photo on March 29th, 2012. Please send it to: info at wilderquarterly.com along with a link to your Tumblr, Flickr, Twitter, etc.
If your photo is selected, we’ll send you a package of our !ilder Quarterly seed bombs and our latest issue.
Can’t wait to see your view!
In the winter issue, Wilder visited two farms – one in upstate New York and the other, Cala Farms, in the heart of Wisconsin. The photographer, Cameron Wittig, captured these farmers in a series of outstanding images. Since we couldn’t print them all, Adrian Shirk, Wilder Quarterly’s assistant editor, spoke to Cameron about his work, Wisconsin and his impressions of Cala Farms.
Cameron Wittig was born and raised in Milwaukee, and when Wilder Quarterly assigned him to shoot Cala Farms in Northwestern Wisconsin, Wittig had been itching to take an excursion anyway. That region in particular has dominated the geography of this photographer’s imagination for as long as he can remember. “I regularly drive across the state,” Wittig says. “From St. Paul, I take 35W, and try to get out of the city as fast as I can… Entering into Wisconsin is like coming upon a very quiet, old stranger, who, when she finally speaks, uses very few words but is able to say a lot.”
Cala Farms is situated in the small agrarian community of Turtle Lake, which hugs the Eastern border of Lake Superior. “The Minnesota side of the lake has a lot of development,” Wittig says. “It’s kind of the Cancun of the Midwest. But the Wisconsin side has very little development, and I think they like it that way… There isn’t the same presence of money, and I think residents appreciate that it‘s stayed that way.” Corn, sugar beets, and soy control much of the area’s farming economy, though more and more Minneapolis restaurants and vendors are patronizing smaller farms like the Calas’, as the interest increases for locally sourced food.
The town of Turtle Lake is just under two square miles, populated by approximately 2,000 citizens, and is fiscally bound by its cash crops and a single casino. When Wittig set out that afternoon, it was bright and cold, and the ground was covered in a crust of snow. The Green Bay Packers were still undefeated. “It was more silent than usual. There were no cars out. You got the sense that something important was going on. I just kept driving. I had the roads to myself because everyone was at home watching the football game.”
Rodrigo and Juan Carlos of Cala Farms were very welcoming to Wittig. The two cousins immigrated from Mexico City to the US just four years before, and with the help of Minnesota’s Big River Farms’ training program were able to get organic certification in 2009. “I liked them a lot. I think they’re very smart, and ambitious,” Wittig said, referring to the Calas. “They came to Minnesota to work on farms, and ended up buying a piece of land that’s surrounded by much bigger, established farms. They’re growing organic because they understand there’s a demand for that. While I was visiting with them, Rodrigo told me a story about a neighbor he’d spoken to recently. The man was approached by developers, and he stressed to Rodrigo that he did not want to sell it for that purpose, but he didn’t expand much after that. I don’t know what Rodrigo was thinking, but this is the sort of territory he has to navigate, pitting himself against casino or condo developers, befriending his neighbors as a Latino immigrant.”
During his tour around the farm — which was largely dormant for the deep freeze of the Midwest winter — Wittig walked the perimeter of the property, around their greenhouses and tilled land. “Some of the old structures on the property were in disuse, not in good condition. The silo, and the farm house. Those were there when the Calas got the land, and they haven’t decided what to do with them yet.” One striking photo features a pile of summer melon husks, half submerged in the snow. Another shows rows and rows of dark, leafy greens pushing through the frost. “I believe that was a cover crop,” Wittig says. “Maybe spinach. They’ll let it decompose, and it’ll make the soil nutritive for the next season without having to use chemicals.”
When Wittig was packing up to leave, he felt somewhat empty-handed, like there was still so much he couldn’t grasp about the life of the farm, the lives of these farmers. “I was reminded of a time when I went to the delta of Mississippi on assignment, shortly after Katrina. I was frustrated because I couldn’t figure out what was going on, really, or how to really get in on the action, anything important. And I met a film maker who’d been working in the area for ten years. He said, ‘Stop trying to understand what it’s all about — the only way you’d get it is if you’d lived here you’re whole life.”
He eventually decided he wasn’t empty handed after all. “I now knew these two guys — and I really liked them. And they’re possibly going to struggle more than the average farmer in the area. They both stressed that they were very, very cold in Wisconsin, and they told me a little about their family in Mexico… As I drove through Turtle Lake that evening, taking Highway 8, I’d see people on the street or idling in their cars at a stop sign and I’d wonder, do they know them? Are they friends of theirs?” Wittig ended up hightailing it to Deluth, the freshwater port on the border of Minnesota and Wisconsin, where he checked into an old motel. He went through the day’s photos. “I kept thinking of the last thing Rodrigo said to me. He said something funny about Mexico. He wanted me to know that Mexico had a bad reputation for being dangerous, but that it’s not actually a dangerous place — and that I should know that if I ever wanted to go.”
So the story goes that Narcissus, a beautiful Greek youth, became so entranced by his own reflection, that he drowned in the pool he used as a mirror. Daffodils- fragile, ephemeral, wonderfully scented- sprang up where he had knelt.
Since then the Daffodil has spawned poetry, songs, and spread across the world. It goes by many names, like ‘easter bell’, ‘jonquil’, and ‘daffadowndilly’, and represents many different things. In China, it is a symbol of the new year. In Wales it is the flower of the nation’s patron saint, David. But everywhere it blooms it brings an irrefutable message: spring has finally sprung.
Lake Casitas is near Ojai California.
Submitted by Marc Alt.
Share with us the magnificent natural view from wherever you are. Make sure you take the photo on March 28th, 2012. Please send it to: info at wilderquarterly.com along with a link to your Tumblr, Flickr, Twitter, etc. and we’ll post it to the Wilder blog and our Facebook page.
If your photo is selected, we’ll send you a package of our Wilder Quarterly seed bombs.
Can’t wait to see your view!
Starting next week, Molly Marquand, our horticultrual editor is going to be answering your plant questions. Curious about a plant? Need to know the best way to grow food indoors? Trying to figure out what works best on a Chicago rooftop? Molly has the answers. Email her at dearwilder at wilderquarterly dot com. She’ll be posting answers here and on our Facebook page on Monday!
If there’s a plant that all nativists and shade gardeners covet, it’s got to be Trillium cuneatum. Commonly known as sweet betsy, bloody butcher, or, my favorite, toadshade, its names are apt tributes to the plant’s perfect blood-red, six petaled flower, and its preference for wet, dappled shade. Many Trillium species can take up to seven years to bloom when grown from seed, which accounts for their often exorbitant pricing at nurseries and in catalogues. Like most gardeners, I guiltily crave instant gratification, and that’s why sweet betsy is best. Give it a whirl in any damp, shaded area. And if you’re in the southeast, you’re in luck. That’s betsy’s favorite place to be. For those of you with the full sun garden, go plant spotting in your local woods in April/May. The bloody butcher’s cousins are just as lovely and in the northern states, are a relatively common sight.
Stevie Nicks being the very fabulously, witchy woman she is.
Pictured: rose (Rosa)
Page 1 of 5