Well, I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that it’s hot out there. I do want to share this little gem with you though. I was at a traffic light and happened to catch these two, plopped down under the shade of a cherry tree, enjoying a frozen treat, presumably from the fro-yo shop with the pink and green banner at the right edge of the photograph. What is most interesting about the situation though is that this is on a major, six lane suburban highway. It’s not the kind of place where you generally want to sit and hang out. But clearly these two did want to sit outside and eat in the shade, so they took what they could get. As a designer I’m always inclined to make spaces where people can enjoy a seat and some shade on a hot day, and it’s nice to see people out there who would put them to good use. And they rode their bikes- makes an environmentalist’s heart go pitter patter.
Check out this fantastic WPA poster found in the American Memory Collection hosted online by the Library of Congress. Like many people, I’ve always been fond of WPA posters because of their collaboration between quality artistry and common sense practicality. We could use a little more of that these days, don’t you think?
Though I’ve perused the offerings on the LoC website before, this poster was brought to my attention because of a book review for American Canopy: Trees, Forests, and the Making of a Nation by Eric Rutkow. The review was good and the book, just like the poster, seems right up the Plants Are Not Optional alley.
Back to the poster: don’t miss the great line at the bottom, “Trees Prevent Wind Erosion, Save Moisture, Protect Crops, Contribute to Human Comfort and Happiness.” That’s right folks, trees make you happy!
My cosmos are blooming! I went out to water the garden this evening after a fist-of-the-season, first-day-of-summer blazing hot day, and found that the cosmos I planted from seed in May have begun blooming. I’m quite excited as I tried them last year but planted too late. I like the delicate texture of the leaves and flowers as well as the bright color palette of the mix I bought.
Here at Plants Are Not Optional Headquarters, we are celebrating the Summer Solstice with a Thai shrimp dish that features Thai basil from the garden and a crisp sauvignon blanc. I hope you are marking this special day in your own way. Cheers!
Another fantastic, informative and humorous, piece in the Washington Post this morning by garden writer Adrian Higgins on the various approaches to training + containing (or not) tomato plants.
I’m not growing any tomatoes this year, though this article has me seriously contemplating a trip to the garden center this afternoon. And if that materializes, I’d put my money on me fitting “The Urban Farmer” profile. I’m pretty tempted to live up to “The Architect” however, mostly because I want to “create the two-dimensional vertical vegetative plane” as I do love a vertical vegetative plane. The one time I was in charge of tending large beds of tomatoes was in 2009 when I was gardening and researching at Dumbarton Oaks, the estate in DC’s Georgetown neighborhood. Things got a little unruly (The Hippie) prompting me to spend a week with stakes, string, and pruners to create more respectable looking beds (The Gardener). Coincidentally, I was interviewed by the very same Adrian Higgins about that vegetable garden and my research on bringing agriculture back to the estate. The Washington Post has archived the article, but if you’d like to read it let me know and I can send you a pdf.
So, what kind of tomato grower are you?
Have you ever read the Urban Jungle column in the Washington Post? I’m a huge fan. It appears weekly on page two of Tuesday’s Health & Science section and covers all manner of urban nature. The column offers easily digested information on plants or animals that are doing something interesting (blooming, migrating, etc) at the specific time. More than once I’ve wondered, “What is that plant that is blooming all over the place?” only to have my question answered the following Tuesday in Urban Jungle. Oh, and the illustrations are beautiful- clearly done by a true naturalist. A big thanks to Patterson Clark and WaPo for giving me a little something to look forward to at breakfast on Tuesdays.