‘Darwin’s Beard’ and Other Notable Plant Names

Folks have a penchant for bestowing colorful names on the plants around them. Sometimes these monikers travel with people and are applied to similar but distinct species in other parts of the world. This, of course, is the kind of confusion Linnaeus and his taxonomist cohorts try to avoid, but employing the vernacular can be […]

The Virgin and the Whore: Horticultural Morality

In late August, when the heat and humidity in my Mid Atlantic Zone 7 neighborhood have done in most of summer’s beauties, I’m on the look out for plants just coming into their own — like the sweet-scented, white flowers of a clematis vine popping up all over the alley fences in the neighborhood. When […]

Number of air-cushion thingies to ship a wall calendar?

Sixty-one, according to Office Max. That’s 40.5 linear feet of AirSpeed “inflatable void fill packaging.” #sustainability #greenwash I opened the oversized box and long stretches of plastic-cushion chains popped out, like some giant snakes-in-a-peanut-brittle-can gag. Each cushion bears the words “Please Recycle” in large letters. The manufacturer, Pregis, prides itself on its environmentalism, using reclaimed […]

Water foul.

Walking around Baltimore’s newly developed East Harbor yesterday, I was appalled by the slurry of bottles, plastic, and detritus floating in the water alongside the boardwalk. I wondered how this lone duck could stand it. Then I realized, with some relief, that the bird was swimming free and clear of the trash — which was […]