Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day Snippets with Flowers

--Last night, after a delightful dinner on the porch of a downtown Ft. Lauderdale restaurant, the Chimney House, we watched a PBS show about a group of 20 somethings who live in Alabama and decide to eat local food, which they defined as being grown in Alabama.  We watched them discover how hard it is to find food (and then figure out how to cook some of it) that's grown in their state.  And then the last part of the show talked about the decline of the small farmer.

--My spouse said that the show made him want to dig up the whole yard to plant food, the way the people on the show did.  He wondered what would grow well down here.  I said, "Plants that grow well in sand and don't need cooler overnight temperatures to germinate."

--I've spent some time on this Earth Day researching whether one can take one's dead tulips that came in a pot, plant them in the ground, and have tulips for next year.  The short answer:  perhaps.  It would work out better if I put them in the fridge or the freezer for 10-12 weeks.  I'm tempted to put the pots in the cottage fridge and take them out in 12 weeks, just to see what happens.  I think I'd have a better shot at having tulips again than if I just put them in the ground and left them to their own devices.  Here's one of my favorite shots of those lilies as they started to lurch towards death on Easter week-end:

Here's the larger group of tulips:

--As I stood at my kitchen window this morning, I was struck by the beauty of the hibiscus plants.  Here's what caught my eye first, the bloom against a palm trunk:

And then I got outside and saw the blooms on the other plant, the shyer plant, the one that's overshadowed by its orange sister and the young palm tree near by:

--This week I was struck by an office scene.  One colleague sat at his desk with 2 label makers and a binder, the registrar sat at her desk with files being updated by 3 workers, and my own desk was buried under countless abandoned drafts of accreditation reports.  I've always said that I will need to spend my retirement planting trees to repay my debt to the planet--but even if I should start now, I probably can't plant enough trees to repay my debt.

--I take great comfort in knowing that the planet can heal itself.  When I was younger, rivers were so polluted that we wouldn't swim in them or eat fish out of them--and memorably, occasionally, rivers would burst into flames.  Now, in the U.S., most waterways are relatively clean.  Because of the changes sparked by that first Earth Day, now you can swim without too much fear. When I was a child, in major metropolitan areas, you could see the air you were breathing. Now, you can't.

So on this Earth Day 2017, I'll practice gratitude for the ways we've helped the planet heal.  I'll try to stay hopeful that we can stay on this course and persuade other countries, like China, to join us.  I'll continue to take care of the plants that are in my corner of the world, the tropical ones like the beautiful hibiscus:

 and the extravagantly blooming petunias in pots on the porch:

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