Saturday, February 6, 2016
Moisture riding the push of warm advection crystallizes on cold twigs and grasses.
And sumac not yet pecked by the birds.
There is a moment every autumn, usually middle to late, when the cedars turn bronze, red, mauve, blushed or however you may see it. This change requires a loss of some of chlorophyll's green and the development of red anthocyanins and the two, together, create this bronzing effect. This is painter's stuff, mixing reds and greens to create blacks more green or more red. The dark bronze contrasts with the white of aspens and snow and plays well with ochre field plants.
Like so many plants you love, someone, somewhere lists them as invasive. How can this be, you ask, after all it is a native in its range! Well, I rationalize it this way -Eastern Reds grow readily in farm fields and get a bad rap for its ability to grow readily from bird-dropped seeds in these fields. The other reason is the loss of fire as a control agent, but this is our fault, and we shouldn't be blaming the cedar. Finally, because we plowed under so much prairie that there is less than one percent of it left, managers curse the Eastern Red for colonizing what's left that isn't being managed by fire. Given these rationalizations, I still wouldn't blink if I had the opportunity to plant one on our land. I may well have that chance in one of the many clearings created by downed large oaks or bass that have given rise to another accomplished colonizer -common buckthorn.
Saturday, January 30, 2016
Have you seated yourself on a bench shaped this way? Probably not for long as they're terribly uncomfortable. I came to the Como Park Conservatory to escape the cold and do some planning and writing, but instead I'm thinking about this bench. The way it is designed requires us to lean forward to be comfortable, our rears are cradled by the curvature. Leaning back as the rear is cradled our spine arches sharply and uncomfortably. Here, then, the benches are mostly for looks or to keep us moving, not at all for winter's thinking and writing in a a blessedly warm and humid environment.