Got a grab-bag of miscellany for you today, ranging through phenology observations, companion planting, small miracles, plant-buying opportunities, eating local, the latest slimy doings at Monsanto, astronomical happenings, and the first-ever GFTGU poll—Got Lightning Bugs? Let’s get started!
Tim’s been busy exploring Google Gadgets again. He interrupted me during a tense level-4 Sudoku session the other day to announce he’d learned how to run polls on the blog. He’s so cute when he enthuses about cyber-gimmicks. I listened politely, then filed the information in my brain’s recycle bin, sure I’d never need it.
Spoke too soon. The very next morning, my cousin Mike emailed me that the lightning bugs had returned to Boonsboro, Maryland, reinforcing our family’s genetically based tendency to be entertained by trifles. The news got me thinking, though: here on Oak Island, I can count the lightning bugs flirting their bioluminescent rears in my back yard on the fingers of one hand. In fact, I don’t need any hands: don’t recall ever seeing a single one.
This totally unscientific "Got Lightning Bugs?" poll will be open through July 5. The gadget automatically updates every time somebody votes, so we can all watch the results roll in together. Is that cool or what?
In case you missed it, last week—June 20–26—was federally designated National Pollinator Week. (Isn’t it grand that Congress occasionally demonstrates its ability to suck it up and make a decision on an issue?) You can check out what you missed at Pollinator Partnership’s website, download colorful pollinator posters and learn about the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign.
On the pickleworm front, I’m trying to flummox the little troublemaking moths with companion planting. The cukes in baskets hanging on my front porch share their space with nasturtiums and French marigolds. The melons out back on the slanted support grow over and around creosote-evoking Lemmon marigolds (Tagetes lemmonii). And the cucumber seeds I planted Sunday afternoon will sprout through trailing branches of scented geraniums (Pelargonium ‘Sweet Miriam’). If proximity to pungent foliage puts pests off, I will be very pleased with myself. If not, it’s back to the drawing board.
|Melon vines clamber over and through|
the aromatic foliage of Lemmon's marigolds
|Will 'Sweet Miriam'|
protect the melons?
Little miracles happen all around us all the time. One occurred in my back yard last week. After starting out life with a cudweed nanny, and sulking flowerless for six years, my Clematis pitcheri bloomed. And only a couple of weeks after I whined about it not blooming right here.
The better-late-than-never-blooming Clematis pitcheri originally came from Plant Delights Nursery, near Raleigh, NC, which is holding its sultry summer Open House the weekends of July 8-9-10 and 15-16-17. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The brochure notes that about 230 different crinums are at peak bloom in the on-site Juniper Level Botanic Garden, along with an impressive Echinacea display. If you’re impervious to heat-related ailments, pay ’em a visit.
Anything you buy from small farmers in your area is bound to be better for you than the dicey stuff churned out by agri-business. For two hair-raising articles warning of the slippery slope of Monsanto’s patented Roundup Ready frankencrops, click on the following links: “Roundup: Birth Defects Caused by Top-Selling Weedkiller, Scientists Say”; and “Bill Gates, Monsanto and Blackwater: A Marriage Made in Hell.” Even if the stories (and/or the science) border on sensationalist, there’s the old truism about smoke and fire. Certainly, big-business profits trumping health and safety—and everything else—is nothing new.
|The Chinese TaiJi hexagram elegantly|
depicts the relationships between
solstices and equinoxes
Well, that’s it. June’s done, 2011’s half over. Thanks for dropping by. See you in July.