How Light Gets In




Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

The U.S. is faced with uncertainty about the future, but in light of the president elect’s recent cabinet appointments one thing is clear. We will be governed by an administration that appears to be actively hostile to science and environmental responsibility.

The work the Xerces Society has been engaged in for the last several decades has never been more important. Their mission statement describes work that I imagine few people have thought is needed.

 The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is an international nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitats. We take our name from the now extinct Xerces Blue butterfly (Glaucopsyche xerces), the first butterfly known to go extinct in North America as a result of human activities.

The scope of their activities is far reaching . Their publications, books, and community outreach are effective education strategies and their political advocacy has been instrumental in helping pass legislation that helps to protect invertebrates. Their web page describes the wide range of activities they pursue.

The Xerces Society is a science-based conservation organization, working with diverse partners including scientists, land managers, educators, policymakers, farmers, and citizens.  By using applied research, engaging in advocacy, providing educational resources, and addressing policy implications, we endeavor to make meaningful long-term conservation a reality.

Our core programs focus on habitat conservation and restoration, species conservation, protecting pollinators, contributing to watershed health, and reducing harm to invertebrates from pesticide use.

Their work is life affirming and will become more critical as the political climate around scientific research changes in potentially catastrophic ways. I buy their books and support their cause in hopes that they will continue what they do.


Plotting the Resurrection



In his  introduction to Katherine White’s collection of her  New Yorker garden columns, Onward and Upwards in the Garden, E.B White wrote with equal measures  of fondness and bemusement of the elaborate rituals his wife would undertake during the annual bulb planting.

As the years went by and age over took her, there was something comical yet touching in her bedraggled appearance on this awesome occasion–the small, hunched over figure, her studied absorption in the implausible notion that there wold be yet another spring, oblivious to the ending of her own days, which she knew perfectly well was near at hand, sitting here with her detailed chart under those dark skies in the dying October, calmly plotting the resurrection.

And so it is. I may now use Excel spreadsheets for the plotting but the ritual continues through the years. This year I am finishing a bit late, though here in the pacific northwest our bulb planting window continues into December.

Not for the fist time I was seduced by the big warehouse bulb companies and their low prices. (They’re low for a reason!) I had found a collection that sounded good. The name alone should have raised a red flag but I ordered the  BEN’S DIRTY DOZEN GRAB BAG thinking it would contain what was described on various pages. After much planning and noting a great deal of information about each selection I was unpleasantly surprised to discover that only one cultivar of the twelve described was included. All the rest were different colors, flower types and bloom times. Back to the computer, but it was raining anyway. Fortunately I also ordered from the ever reliable Brent and Becky’s Bulbs and Park Seeds, who seems now to be associated with Jackson and Perkins.


Tulipa tarda

Our days are quite short now, and the storms blow through with some regularity. I, too, hunch over beds and pots in a wintry wind to plant next spring’s glory, but I feel to be in good company. I have joined the exclusive group of little old ladies “calmly plotting the resurrection”.