First bees I’ve seen this year. It takes some convincing to get Brooklyn city kids to get close enough to bees to see how cool they are. When I tell them to look for the pollen baskets on their legs, that usually does it.
Overheard on a Snail Hunt
“Look for a swirly stone. That’s a clue.” - Zion
Cherry Blossoms All Dolled Up
D’Marco said, “That tree looks like it’s dressed for a wedding.”
Seeding the Rainbow Garden
This book is a favorite in our greenhouse library, and it’s the inspiration for one of our most popular flower beds, the Rainbow Garden. Last week I direct seeded the first of the flowers along the spectrum. Reds: Mexican Cigar Plant, Ladybird Poppies, Picote Cosmos, Burgundy Celosia, three kinds of Amaranth, plus tulip bulbs planted last fall. Oranges: Orange Porcupine Calendula,...
Major Watering Can Facelift
The old watering cans were tired. They had been sitting on the shelf in some store so long that the store owner practically gave them to me, and they were completely sun faded on one side except where the big price tag had been. It was the kind of paint job that reminded you of your own mortality. Ho-hum. Mah-WAH. Honk-shu (snoring sound). Enter the Girl Scouts! We had a local Brownie troop...
A Snail's Race
Light, misty rain is the perfect weather for snail hunting. I tell kids to look under leaves and on the sides of planters. For some reason they congregate on the bristles of the doormat going into the greenhouse, too. We line them up and make bets on who will win. This guy.
Early Spring Greens
The first of our vegetables are out from the safety of the grow table and into the world! We’ve got leeks, cauliflower (which can be finnicky to transplant, but seem to have taken well to their new spot), lots of lettuce and collard greens, plus red malabar spinach and some green onions. We’re planting extra lettuce and collards this year to help feed our live animal collection. The...
April Gardening Tips
The New York Botanical Garden has some great resources on their website for home gardeners. I like to look at this gardening calendar at the beginning of every month as I come up with my garden to-do lists. The suggestions are perfectly calibrated to Brooklyn’s climate. Hardiness zone 6b* what what! * If you don’t know what plant hardiness zone you live in, check the map. These...
During my “Amazing Arthropods” class yesterday we went around the circle and each kid said what bug they wanted to be. Spiders, butterflies, ladybugs, fireflies. One kid said she wanted to be a turtle, so I pulled out an x-ray of a turtle to show them the backbone and describe the difference between a vertebrate and an invertebrate. In the x-ray, the turtle is incubating a clutch of...
Scilla siberica, native to Siberia, known for popping through the snow. Good thing, since a few late flakes are falling today. This is a great one to plant in patches in your lawn. They’re so early-blooming and compact that they splash color around before your grass greens up for spring, and they’ll be gone by the time you need to mow the lawn the first time. Plus the name is so fun...