On the site, there’s information for the beginner, who would like just one houseplant or outdoor perennial to live (please!) or who would like to be able to tell a maple from an oak, at least some of the time.

WINTER SOLSTICE 2005: The longest night has been marked, since humans learned to count, by a vigil, a burning light burning or another custom. At some point, the European custom of decorating an evergreen tree got morphed into a Christian symbol. Today, forces of intolerance are attempting to morph Christian symbols into symbols of right v. left, and east v. west. Whatever, the tree belongs to all of us, to light our way through the longest night.
PICTURE: Latham Park, Stamford CT December 2005. Electric lights adorn my town’s official “Holiday” tree, which is a young, but respectable, spruce for the rest of the year. Across the street, is the First Congregational Church. Click here to view the same scene in October 2005

CHRISTMAS AND HANUKKAH 2005: And in the same place, here’s the lighting of the Menorah in the rain, after sunset, on December 25, 2005, when Christmas and Hanukkah fell on the same day:


When we talk about preserving biodiversity by preserving our native plants, part of the reason is so that our native insects with specialized diets will have something to eat. This statement may puzzle the gardener who thinks that bites out of the roses are a bad thing. After all, who needs bugs? Yeah, some of the “bugs” pollinate the flowers so that we have fruits and vegetables, some till the soil, some make the honey, some spin the silk, and some break dead things down into their original components for re-use, but…well, who cares about the rest of them?
PICTURE: Left to their own devices, our wonderful native eastern white pines grow tall and straight. Sunset at the corner of Strawberry Hill and Hillandale, Stamford CT November 2005. view larger image

Our small creepy-crawlies actually come from several families. There are the eight-legged spiders and mites, the six-legged the insects, the zero-legged worms, the centipedes and millipedes with too many legs to count, the armor-plated pill-bugs (related to shrimp), and a whole host of microscopic guys. For our purposes, they are all “bugs”, even if to a biologist “bug” means just one kind of “insect” and “spiders” aren’t “insects”…