There are little signs here and there when it begins to happen. A red blotch on a once green leaf. The bursting of a floret of goldenrod. The mornings contain a goose pimpling chill that wasn’t there the week before and the shadows at dusk no longer stretch long and languid as they lurch out of the day, conceding to night. But the biggest sign to me that summer has begun its all too hasty descent to fall is the monarch. Golden eggs on milkweed, a stripy caterpillar munching on their leaves. They’ve been here now for a couple of weeks, these silent, paper winged heralds.
So pick those tomatoes while you can. Grab another bouquet of flowers. Sunbathe. Drink lemonade. stroll in the green grass barefoot. Because although you may not be able to believe it, these butterflies only mean one thing: september is coming.
“Thirty-five km outside of Munnar, India, the Kolukkumalai Tea Estate is built high atop the precipitous ridge that rises above the plains of Tamilnadu. At about 8,000 feet above sea level, this is the highest tea estate in the world. Known for its excellent, flavorsome teas, this estate is also known for its panoramic views and the for the rugged mountains that surround it.”
The Emerald Ash Borer could be coming to a tree near you. Recently spotted last week in Connecticut, populations of this highly mobile, extremely destructive pest have got conservationists, botanists and horticulturalist wringing their hands. If current predictions come true, this pest is slated to destroy millions of trees on a scale similar to the diseases that felled the American elm and our mighty native chestnut.
Keep an eye out for this bug’s glossy green shell and it’s characteristic bore hole, and for the love of the woods, alert your local parks department or cooperative extension if you see it- right away.
It’s almost August, the hottest month across much of the USA. Record breaking heat waves have already swept the midwest and parts of the east and this week is set to be another hot one. Reduce your garden’s susceptibility by keeping in mind these simple guidelines:
1. Water in the cool mornings and evenings, when the least amount of water will be lost to evaporation, and the most will be absorbed by soil.
2. Water plants deeply for many minutes, even hours at a slow slow trickle. If you’re un-sure if you’ve run the hose for long enough, stick a finger down as deep as you can go. When it’s wet down at least to the length of your index finger, only then can you stop!
3. Check your soil for proper levels of organic content (4-5%) with a soil test. Your beds will not hold water well if they are of poor quality.
4. MULCH! Mulch, mulch, mulch. Mulch keeps water in, and keeps the sun’s baking rays out. Wood or leaf mulches look neat, natural, and preserve water content well.
5. For tender plants susceptible to burning, mist foliage lightly for five minutes to help the plant bounce back or cover with light fabric like Remay cloth through the day’s hottest hours.
6. On the average day, hold back from watering as much as you can. Over watering can stress a plant, and also discourages long root development. Letting the rain do most of the work will ensure hardier, more drought tolerant plants.
Our friends over at the Hudson Valley Seed Library have a roster of great events coming up that worth checking out. For example, this weekend on July 28th from 10-3 pm, I’m going to drop by their Fall Seedling sale:
“Come learn about easy ways to extend your harvest in your home garden. Pick up seedlings you can plant for fall and winter harvests along the materials you need for season extension. Free demonstrations and tour.”
Visiting their facilities is also worth a drip on its own. For those unfamiliar with these guys, The Hudson Valley Seed Library has 60 varieties of locally grown seed (Northeast) and around 140 varieties sourced from responsible seed houses. Members pay a $20 annual fee for 10 seed packs of their choice – all uniquely and beautifully designed.
For more info, head over to their Facebook page.
The 1920s experiment to reverse-engineer wild cows.
In 1920, the brothers Lutz and Heinz Heck, directors of the Berlin and Munich zoos, respectively, began a two-decade breeding experiment. Working with domestic cattle sought out for their “primitive” characteristics, they attempted to recreate “in appearance and behavior” the living likeness of the animals’ extinct wild ancestor: the aurochs. “Once found everywhere in Germany,” according to Lutz Heck, by the end of the Middle Ages the aurochs had largely succumbed to climate change, overhunting, and competition from domestic breeds…
Read the entire story here.
Wilder Quarterly contributor Lisa Rovner is far more than just a writer – she’s a raconteur, a polymath and I’m fairly certain, a bit magical. So, we’re pleased thatPau Wau Publications has released her first book titled, “Poems”. A few details:
“This book is about pleasure, the pleasure of looking and the pleasure of seeing.
Produced by hand in a signed edition of 100 this book consists of 43 plates over 60 pages
and is uniquely bound simply using a single piece of thread and a square knot.”
Get Lisa’s “Poems” here.
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