My short, personal essay “What White Tree is Blooming Now” from 2018 has just been archived online, thanks to The Hopper, an environmental literary magazine. And the timing could not be more perfect…
Here’s the first bit, to test if you’d like to read more:
It started. The procession of trees. The trees don’t move, but the white does: white tree blossoms, from species to species. First, in late February and if not charred by sleet, come white flowers of star magnolia. Stinky Bradford pears are next, trees so ubiquitous in corporate landscapes (and invasive in natural ones) that when they froth white, even people who don’t notice trees notice. Then, dogwood. Everyone loves dogwood. Serviceberry, hawthorn, black cherry, yellowwood, black locust, and so on, week by week of the rolling spring, one white tree bloom after the other. It won’t stop till summer, and by then, who is watching? By then, Nashville is a weedy jungle and we stay inside to escape the chiggers.
But I’ll be watching. The procession is important. There are rules: only white, only trees, and only where I can see them while I go about my business.
Easiest butterfly garden ever: let celery butts and carrot butts sprout, then stick ’em in soil.
Maybe I mean “easiest butterfly factory” ever, because these butts won’t just feed butterflies, they’ll make butterflies.
All summer, Black Swallowtail butterfly moms will find the leaves and lay eggs, and then you’ll have more Black Swallowtails. And if you put your butts where you can see them every day, you can watch the whole butterfly lifecycle from the comfort of a lawn chair.
If you have not yet watched a butterfly lay an egg, or a caterpillar hatch, or a caterpillar molt, or a caterpillar become a chrysalis, or a chrysalis become a butterfly, this scrap garden is your chance to increase your chances.
You MUST SEE THESE THINGS.
If you have a kid or a parent or a friend or soulmate or neighbor, then THEY MUST SEE THESE THINGS, TOO.
“Please consider leaving out your feeder year-round,” said the hummingbird researcher to Facebook, and for some reason I considered. “Keep it cleaned, maintained and easily viewed and YOU might be one of the lucky ones to host a winter hummingbird.”
I want to be a lucky one, I thought, but I’m a slacker with feeders. It’s hard enough to keep scrubbing and filling and PROVIDING during normal hummingbird season (April to October), especially when I see no hummingbird for weeks at a time. I need instant, gorgeous, iridescent, humming feedback that the work is worth it.
But, I fetched my feeder from storage. Maybe mold grows slower in winter?