Life Style & Travel

Summer Dormancy Is No Mystery

dormancy
UNITED STATES—California buckeye, Aesculus californica, is an enigma. How does it survive while defoliated for so much of the year? Not all are so mysterious. Those that live in sheltered or forested situations behave like normal deciduous trees, by defoliating in autumn, and refoliating in spring, after a brief winter dormancy. Those that are more exposed in warm and...

Arrival In Madrid

UNITED STATES—Finally, just after nine in the hot clear morning, the bus curled around the overpass to the housing development 50 kilometers north of Madrid, where I'd spent two wondrous days. It left Fernando free to go back to his chores and Carmen and I were off to the city, passing through a number of smaller cities and developments....

Vegetables Change With The Seasons

vegetables
UNITED STATES—Right smack in the middle of the warm part of summer, it is already time to be getting ready for autumn gardening. This involves more than just ordering our autumn planted spring bulbs while the selection is still optimal. Most of us purchase bulbs from what is available in nurseries when they are in season anyway. Seed that...

A Poetic Journey

UNITED STATES—Since being on the airplane to Madrid, I'd reencountered poetry. I grabbed a few scraps from the shelf above my desk because we were going to read at a literary bar on Tuesday night. Already on the airplane, I took a few poems and did something to them I had not done in a long time, if at...

Docile Annual And Perennial Vines

vines
UNITED STATES—Most of the familiar vines really are exploitative bullies. They shade the same trees and shrubs that they climb for support. Some will even strangle and kill those who make it possible to get where they want to be. If they do not find trees or shrubs to victimize, they are likely to climb walls and ruin the...

More Spanish Pages

UNITED STATES—After lunch, the jetlag, wine, swordfish and potato salad suddenly caught up with me. I was nodding off and falling over onto our driver showing us the lakes and the blue rugged mountains that evoked the Western majesty of the San Fernando Valley. Fernando pointed out one craggy face. "A lot of mountaineers rappel up that side. A few...

Summer Perennials Are Now Blooming

summer perennials
UNITED STATES—Are warm season annuals really the most colorful flowers for summer? Perhaps. They have their limits though. They are also very demanding. They need to be watered very regularly, and should probably be fertilized too. Many need to be deadheaded frequently. After all that, they are only temporary, and will get replaced with cool season annuals in autumn....

Spanish Pages

UNITED STATES—It was Summer Solstice when I arrived and enjoyed the first fruits of accidental tourism. I had been prepared to take my Euros and invest in a ride on the Metro, directly to Madrid, where there no concrete plans yet for a place to stay. But instead, at the last minute, a Spanish friend in Los Angeles arranged for...

Arborists Are Modern Tree Surgeons

tree surgeons
UNITED STATES—The terminology has certainly changed over the years. Not many of us remember what tree surgeons were, or that there were actually a few different kinds of tree surgeons, who performed very distinct tasks. Tree surgeons are now known as 'arborists.' Much of what they used to do is done by other types of horticultural professionals. The work...

Welcome Party

UNITED STATES—I tried to prepare myself in the plane for the time change in order to hit the ground walking, if not running. I ate lightly and drowsed as we flew over the "pond" I wonder what wag in what century came up with that nomenclature for the Atlantic Ocean? I kept rehearsing the actions I needed to take...
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