Stuff and Nonsense


3.14.2020

Caturday: Lolly, Lolly, Lolly


Happy Caturday! Say hello to Lolly, our senior adoption. Lolly has been in our life for a little over a week now and is settling in quite nicely. Sometimes she gets a bit disgruntled with us and the claws come out, but Lolly is still doing a lot better than I thought she might considering the caution with which Protectors of Animals presented her to us.

Lolly was quite unhappy when we met her at the shelter. Six years ago, kitten Lolly was adopted by an older man who let her be the queen of his castle. Then he passed away at Christmas, thrusting Lolly into a confusing world of strange people and strange cats. Understandably, Lolly didn't take kindly to the change and became an unhappy, defensive cat. She needed a quiet, cat-free home with people who would give her lots of attention and love, but gently and calmly. And so she has come to us.

Lolly relaxed a lot that first weekend. Sure, she was suspicious of every noise and would regularly pace the house to make sure there weren't any other cats hidden somewhere, but she let us pet her a bit and even came up on the bed for snuggles. Then, as Lolly realized she was indeed the only cat and we were big softies, she began to revert a bit to unhappy cat behavior, pushing at the edges of permissible behavior. We did not rise to her challenges and she's since moved on to being an extremely soft, loudly purring (mostly) chill kitty.

For me, anyway. My beloved insists Lolly loves me more and actively ignores him when I am at work ...

3.13.2020

Elizabeth Park: Spring Greenhouse Show


Who else can't wait for the end of this exhausting, gray winter? I had some time today after therapy and decided to do a little extra self-care with a wander through the Spring Greenhouse Show at the Elizabeth Park Conservancy in West Hartford. The colors! The scents! A half hour visit left me refreshed and filled with fantasies of the bulbs I will plant in my new gardens.

Elizabeth Park Conservancy hosts this show every year and it is a simply stunning display of flowering bulbs and other seasonal blooms. This year the floral display included varieties of French hyacinths, muscari, tulips, daffodils, pansies, trellised sweet peas, culinary herbs, and hanging baskets, as well as a collection of tropical plants and succulents. The week-long display concludes with a sale of everything in the greenhouse for completely reasonable prices. Admittedly, I have yet to make it to the post-show salad, because I forget to book the time off!

What I'm saying is, the Spring Greenhouse Show is well worth a visit.

Tulip 'Foxy Foxtrot' & Narcissus 'Tahiti'

Tulip 'Spring Green' look so striking next to bold, purple hyacinths

Multiflowering Tulip 'Shogun' are an inviting mix of apricot & melon

More Tulip 'Foxy Foxtrot' with its soft ruffled petals

Leucojum aestivum 'Gravetye Giant' looks like a great mashup of Snowdrops & Lily-of-the-Valley

Lathyrus odoratus 'Watermelon' (I think), an heirloom variety from Renee's Garden

3.09.2020

An Evening With Dr. Douglas Tallamy


Recently I had the good luck to attend a presentation by Dr. Douglas Tallamy, professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware and the author of many publications, including the recent Nature's Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard.

Dr. Tallamy spoke about the vital need for a homegrown approach to conservation. With eighty-three percent of the land in the contiguous United States privately-owned, we must integrate native plant species into our yards, balconies, or window boxes to create conservation corridors he calls "Homegrown National Parks."

Such parks would boost the wildlife diversity in North America tremendously by making suburban lawns and gardens more productive for insects. Insects eat foliage, birds eat insects. The more delicious bugs to nom on, the more populous and healthier the birds. If we don’t increase the number and quantity of native plants in our landscape, then the populations of insects will continue to drop and that is very bad for the birds and everything else.

According to Dr. Tallamy the best plant you can add to your landscape is the oak, because they support more than five hundred species caterpillars ("bird food"). Asters and goldenrod are also strongly suggested, as they support the most species of insect herbivores and pollinators. Conveniently, asters and goldenrods are usually drought-resistant and deers avoid them.

Overall, it was a fascinating evening and I recommend getting a hold of a copy of Nature's Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard.