2021-12-21

Standing Still 2021: Demeter Waiting

Today is the December solstice: the winter solstice in my hometown Northern hemisphere, summer in the Southern.

Persephone and her Pomegranate

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 'Proserpine', 1874

The millenia-old story of Persephone and her pomegranate, in all their incarnations, strikes me as a deeper analogy this Winter. Persephone was abducted, held hostage in hell, and starved. Only under this extreme duress did she eat anything she was offered: a few seeds of the pomegranate to stave her hunger.

I can relate to "being held hostage in hell". I feel as though I've endured six years of it. I know others do, as well.

2021-12-14

Garden Design Pattern Languages

Adapted from a tweet thread.

In a guest post on the ASLA's "Dirt" column, Alden E. Stone, CEO of Nature Sacred, writes:

[Our new report] is part research and part practical guide, and shares key insights gained through having co-created more than 100 Sacred Places across the country in communities, many under-resourced; in prisons, at universities, and in hospitals. A handful of these sites were also implemented as part of an expansive, decade-long design, build, and research project. ...

For the research portion of this paper, we focused our attention on four domains: nature’s impact on individual, community, economic and ecological health. ...

for many of the individual and community health benefits to kick in, people must engage with nature. Spend time in the green space. And this is where Nature Sacred has spent a lot of energy over the past two decades — looking at how to best engage the community and how to best design so that the community embraces, and spends time in, their green space.

She describes four "design elements":

  • Portal
  • Path
  • Destination
  • Surround

These design patterns recur in many different types of gardens, whether intentionally healing/sacred or not.

My backyard embodies all four elements. What follows is an exploration of the history of my backyard, from inception to its current state, viewed through the frame of those four design elements.

The Backyard, House Opening Party, October 2005 The Backyard, ready for visitors, June 2021

2021-12-01

Names

Book Cover, "The AIDS Epidemic," 1983, anthology of a NYC symposium 




These are some of the people, all men, I have lost over the years, nearly all to AIDS. With the exceptions of those additions noted, I stopped actively maintaining this list in 1994. In alphabetical order.

  • William "Wolf" Agress, a lover, died in 1990
  • Andre, a bartender at the Tunnel Bar in the East Village, now defunct
  • Vincent Barnes
  • Jerry Bihm
  • Bobby
  • Colin Curran
  • Erez Dror, co-owner and -founder of the Black Hound Bakery in the East Village, New York City, now defunct
  • Jeff Glidden, 1958-1987, a lover
  • Paul "Griff" Griffin
  • Martin Noel Jorda
  • David Kirschenbaum, 1962-1993, community organizer with the New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project
  • Art Kohn, founder of the BackRoom BBS in New York City, now defunct
  • John Larsen, a lover, died 2007 (Added 2021-12-01)
  • Jim Lewis
  • Luis
  • John Mangano, 1955-1991
  • Jeffrey Martin
  • Morris Matthews
  • David Mayer (Added 2021-12-01)
  • Karl Michalak, 1958-1997
  • Mark Melvin, 1962-1992
  • Norm
  • Tony Panico, my first lover in New York City, and the first person close to me to die from AIDS. His name appears twice on the AIDS Memorial Quilt, the first on Panel 05A when it was displayed in 1988.
  • Charles Pope, barfly extraordinaire
  • Gordon Provencher, 1955-1992
  • Tom Raleigh
  • Craig Rodwell, 1940-1993, founder of the Oscar Wilde Bookstore in Greenwich Village, NYC
  • Tony Rostron
  • Jurgen Schmitt
  • Giulio Sorrentino
  • Buddy Volani
  • Jeremy Wells
  • David Joseph Wilcox, 1957-1996

2021-11-30

Extinct Plants of northern North America 2021

A Single Candle

As in past years, I'm limiting this list to northern North America for two reasons:

  1. Restricting this list geographically is in keeping with my specialization in plants native to northeastern North America.
  2. There are many more tropical plants, and plant extinctions, than I can manage.

Last year, this paper:

Vascular plant extinction in the continental United States and Canada

caused me to expand my list from 6 to 59 species, including 7 extinct in the wild. The summary is terse, and grim:

2021-11-19

Hot Sheets Habitat

A mating pair of NOID Dolichopodidae, long-legged flies, in my backyard, September 2018

My garden is registered as both a National Wildlife Federation Backyard Wildlife Habitat and Xerces Society Pollinator Habitat. The insects have certainly gotten the message. During 2021, I've been able to document 14 different species of insects mating in my garden.
  1. Acanthoscelidius acephalus, minute seed weevil
  2. Epitrix fuscula
  3. Harmonia axyridis, multi-colored lady beetle (introduced)
  4. Eumerus
  5. Orthonevra nitida, wavy mucksucker
  6. Syritta pipiens, compost fly (introduced)
  7. Toxomerus geminatus, Eastern calligrapher fly
  8. Toxomerus marginatus, margined calligrapher fly
  9. Xenox tigrinus, tiger bee fly
  10. Jalysus, stilt bug
  11. Lygaeus kalmii ssp. angustomarginatus, Eastern small milkweed bug
  12. Hylaeus modestus, modest masked bee
  13. Xylocopa virginica, large Eastern carpenter bee
  14. Danaus plexxipus, monarch butterfly

2021-10-29

Documenting Insect-Plant Interactions

2021-10-29: Transcribed and updated my October 20th tweet thread on this topic. 

I'm an active contributor to iNaturalist. While I'm not a "super-observer", I expect to surpass 11,000 Observations by Halloween, two days away.

Insect-Plant interactions are the majority of my iNaturalist Observations. I use the Observation Field: Interaction->Visited Flower Of to record which flowers insects are visiting, or lurking upon. Roughly 1/3 of my Observations use that field.

Partial Screenshot of my most recent Observations with the Visited Flower Of Field - 2021-10-29

Both the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and Global Biotic Interactions database (GloBI) automatically import iNaturalist Research Grade observations with an appropriate Creative Commons license. I'll use one of my iNaturalist Observations as an example to show how it all works together.

2021-09-13

iNaturalist Workshops, The High Line, Saturday September 25

Updated 2021-09-25: Added Links and QR Codes to "Getting Started with iNaturalist".


I'm pleased to announce that Saturday, September 25th, I will be leading two iNaturalist Workshops "in the field" at The High Line. This is one of several workshops, and many other events, they have scheduled for Insectageddon, which runs from 3-6pm that Saturday afternoon.

Self-Portrait of an iNaturalist as an old man

I'll be doing two walks:

  • 3:15-4:15 pm
  • 4:45-5:45 pm

When not out on one of the walks, I'll have a table in The High Line's Chelsea Market Passage, between 15th and 16th Streets. Please sign up there for one of the two workshops, as space will be limited. Each walk will start out from that location.

iNaturalist Workshop
Hosted by Chris Kreussling, aka “Flatbush Gardener”
Join Chris Kreussling for a walk on the High Line to explore plant and insect interactions and learn about the citizen scientist observation gathering tool iNaturalist. Tours begin at 3:30 and 4:45; please sign up upon arrival at Chris’s table in Chelsea Market Passage. Chris is a Brooklyn naturalist and gardener specializing in gardening with native plants to create habitat for pollinators and other invertebrates.

Visiting the High Line

Note that there are weekend restrictions in place for visitors to The High Line. You must register for timed entry; pre-registration is highly recommended. The only weekend entrances open are at Gansevoort Street, 23rd Street, and 30th Street. 

Please give yourself plenty of time to get to my table in Chelse Market Passage for the start of the walk. The 14th Street entrance is exit-only on weekends. The closest weekend entrance is Gansevoort Street, at the corner of Washington Street, the southern end of The High Line. This entrance is just three blocks south of 14th Street.

Getting Started with iNaturalist

  1. Sign up at https://www.inaturalist.org/signup


    • You must be 13 or older.
    • You can link to your existing social media account, such as Twitter or Facebook
    • If you don't have an existing social media account you want to link to, you can create a new account with a valid email address
  2. If you have existing photos you want to identify, you can begin uploading them to iNaturalist through your Web browser.
  3. Recommended: Also install the iNaturalist app on your Android phone or iPhone or other Apple device. Be sure to link it to the account you just created. You can then take photos on your phone and upload them directly to iNaturalist.

    Android:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.inaturalist.android


    Apple/iPhone:
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/inaturalist/id421397028?mt=8


Related Content

Native Pollinator Walks, Wave Hill, Sunday, June 27, 2021-06-14
Pollinator Safari: Urban Insect Gardening with Native Plants, 2019-06-23
NYC Wildflower Week  Tour of my Gardens, 2016-05-15
NYC Wildflower Week Pollinator Safari of my Gardens, 2014-06-21

Links

iNaturalist
Getting Started

2021-09-11

Grief & Gardening: 20 Years

Written spontaneously as a Twitter thread, and transcribed to this blog post.
Anti-war graffiti on base of statue, Union Square Park, September 24, 2001 
I'm avoiding the news today. As well as the retraumatizing snuff porn documentaries. I've written about all of it before. I don't feel the need to day to write any more. I wrote this 15 years ago about Anniversaries, my first "Grief & Gardening" post:
The ways we observe anniversaries is arbitrary. For example, I was shocked to tears for weeks by the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, which killed 100 times more people than Katrina [1st Anniversary]. The earthquake which precipitated it left the entire planet ringing like a bell. The observation of "25 Years of AIDS" at this year's World AIDS Congress is pinned only to the first official report of a cluster of unusual deaths by the Centers for Disease Control in June of 1981. The timelines of epidemics don't follow our categorizations of them.
Grief & Gardening #1: 1, 5 and 25, 2006-09-04

2021-06-14

Native Pollinator Walks, Wave Hill, Sunday, June 27

Update, 2021-06-23: These walks are now FREE with your admission to Wave Hill! Pre-registration is no longer required, but space is limited. Register on-site, the day of the walks, at the Perkins Visitor Center.

-----

I'm proud to announce that Sunday, June 27th, I will be leading two Native Pollinator Walks at Wave Hill in the Bronx. This is one of several events they have scheduled for their Native Pollinators Day, at the end of Pollinator Week.

Me hosting the NYCWW Pollinator Week Safari in my Front Yard, June 2014. Photo: Alan Riback

I'll be doing two walks:

FREE with your admission admission to Wave Hill's grounds.

Flowers attract the attention of both human and animal visitors. Honeybees, bumblebees, and butterflies are easily spotted in the garden but solitary bees, beetles, and other native pollinators are often overlooked. Learn about pollination and observe native pollinators busy at work in the garden with naturalist and gardener Chris KreusslingAges 10 and older welcome with an adult. Native Pollinators Day event.

Registration required, onsite on the day of the walk, at the Perkins Visitor Center. Space is limited. Questions? Please email us at information@wavehill.org or call 718.549.3200 x251.

Related Content

NYC Wildflower Week Pollinator Safari of my Gardens, 2014-06-21

Links

Native Pollinators Day, Wave Hill

2021-03-27

NYC Regional Native Plant Sales, Spring-Summer 2021

2021-06-09: Added Tufts Pollinator Initiative Native Plant Sale
2021-03-27: Initial listing. I will continue to update this throughout the season as I learn of more events.

This season's native plant sales in and around New York City. Events are listed by date. For year-round sources of native plants, see Sources for Native Plants.

Native Plant Acquisitions, Gowanus Canal Conservancy Plant Sale, April 2018