All Cotton, No Candy August 19, 2011
Lights twinkling in the dusk. Laughter and music coming from every corner, ebbing and flowing as the Merry-Go-Round circles and the Tilt-a-Whirl makes its stomach-tumbling spins and dips. Friends racing from ride to ride, families skipping to the concession stand and couples holding hands, their silhouettes framed in the light.
The carnival. And it's not complete without classic, sugar-rush-inducing foods - so many options it's hard to make a choice. The candy apple - glossy red and sticky sweet. The funnel cake, fried and drizzled with chocolate sauce and powdered sugar. Apple fritters, warm out of the fryer with flavors of tart Granny Smith bursting with cinnamon and sugar.
And then there's cotton candy. Threaded sugar twirled onto a stick in unmistakable pastel shades of Easter egg blue and baby pink. It sticks to your fingers and your nose. And when you take a bite, it's fluffy as air in your mouth and then melts swiftly into a sweet syrup on your tongue.Read More
Under Our Umbrella May 9, 2011
Just the other day, I was attending a professional dinner meeting, so I traded my usual work clothes and boots for a simple dress and heels. And just as I arrived at the restaurant, it started to rain … and I don't mean just pitter-patter, pitter-patter. It was the start of what was soon to be a great, big thunderstorm. I stepped out of my car and prepared to run for it, and, wouldn't you know, my first step was into a giant puddle. Needless to say, I was squishing around in my heels with soggy toes for the rest of the night.
The latest wet weather has left many wringing out their wet socks in search of higher and drier land. It's not a good feeling to be constantly wet - so wet you feel you'll never get dry. If you're in one of these regions with above average rainfall right now, you know this feeling. Now imagine how your trees must feel.
Constant rain, storms and flood watches have us all protecting our socks with good shoes, strategically avoiding puddles and cleaning our gutters so our homes and toes stay dry. But what about our plants and trees? Those poor perennials and conifers, particularly those placed in low areas, are left to tough it out, stuck in the muck. Driving through my neighborhood, I've seen more than one tree surrounded by a large puddle of water that looks like it's not draining anytime soon.Read More
Holes May 27, 2010
I was folding my lace tablecloth that I air-dried outside after washing out a stain as a result of coffee spilled during a weekend get together. And as I was bringing two ends of the fabric neatly together, the sun shone through my back patio doors and beamed through the holes in the lace.
If you've ever seen these neat pinpoints of light come through the intricate shaped holes in this delicate fabric, then you have an idea what viburnum leaf beetle damage looks like on the shrub's velvety emerald leaves. The reason it's on my mind lately is because the pest is particularly bad this year, according to Greg Mazur, one of our many arboricultural gurus (or officially, technical service advisors) at The Davey Institute.
The term used to describe this damage done by the beetle larvae in spring is skeletonized. Then irregular holes are chewed into the leaves by the beetle adults in summer. Unfortunately, branch dieback follows the rapid defoliation. In one to three years, viburnums are toast.Read More
A Matter of Life & Death May 24, 2010
The first time I really noticed, it was a week before Mother's Day.
Every year we invite the moms over for a brunch of crepes, fruit salad and mimosas. We were hoping for decent weather to enjoy the festivities out on the patio, so we were cleaning up the yard in preparation. We snagged those early weeds that sprouted, spread some new mulch in our flower beds and prepped our vegetable garden, including planting green beans, spinach and sugar snap pea seeds with the kids.
By then, most of our trees had stretched and opened their leaves. In the front, the red maples and the oaks were full of green leaves, and the weeping cherries and crabapples were in bloom with white and pink flowers. The 'Cleveland' pears that line the street were also showing their tiny white blossoms.Read More