Serendipity Gardens |

Waiting for Spring

March 9, 2015 by Jo Ellen Roe
waiting for spring

Old snow — not a pleasant sight!

Spring, that season that all gardeners I know dream about when in the midst of a long, cold winter, sometimes seems, like Godot in Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot, that it will never come. This particular winter has had numerous days sporting wind chills of as much as 28 degrees below zero … and right now, outside my window, snow, sheened by a thin layer of ice, shines in the moonlight. Old snow along the roadsides has become an ugly, dirty slush that I for one am tired of.

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A Mid-Winter Green Treat: Matthaei Botanical Gardens

February 13, 2015 by Jo Ellen Roe
mbg Sign

Hungry for green while living in a white, snow-covered world, I decided to pay a visit to the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Just entering the place made me feel good. It smelled of gardens and dirt and growing things — sweet smells indeed.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens, associated with the University of Michigan, has this to say about itself on the MBG website: “Matthaei Botanical Gardens is located in northeast Ann Arbor … Here you’ll find the conservatory; gift shop; classroom and meeting spaces; display gardens such as the Gaffield Children’s Garden, Bonsai & Penjing Garden, Great Lakes Gardens, and others; and many trails and natural areas. The Botanical Gardens are free [though parking is free only to members] and open 7 days a week.”

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Get Ready to Count Some Birds!

January 30, 2015 by Jo Ellen Roe
gbbc-2014 (2)

February is just around the corner, and it’s time for the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), held annually in mid-February. This year, it’s February 13 to February 16!

Take a look at this image from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website:

This map depicts how many people sent in reports in 2014, from the United States and around the world. This year, even more will participate. Why not be one of the newbies? Or one of the oldies, if you’ve done this before.

Here are the answers to a few questions you might have about the Great Backyard Bird Count.

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Front Yard Gardens: A Book Review from Serendipity Gardens

January 23, 2015 by Jo Ellen Roe

What’s a gardener to do when the wind howls and the snow flies in January? Reading an inspirational gardening book is always a good idea. This post is a review of just such a book — Front Yard Gardens by Liz Primeau, a Canadian garden professional and writer. The book, published by Firefly Books Ltd. in 2003, includes hundreds of beautiful photographs, most by Andrew Leyerle.

An updated and expanded version of the book came out in 2010.

I came across this book a few years ago while perusing gardening books in a bookstore. I loved the cover, which depicted several beautiful front yard gardens. (I later learned that the top left photo is of the author’s garden.) Those pictures inspired me to begin thinking about how to transform my front yard into something far more interesting than the small sward of grass it was at the time.

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Nature-Related Toys for Kids

January 5, 2015 by Jo Ellen Roe

In my last post, I listed several nature-related books that I bought for my grandchildren this Christmas. We had our final Christmas shindig of the year last night, and I believe those books were hits.

I intended to write a second installment, in which I would list a number of nature-related or eco-friendly toys found online that I thought the kids would enjoy.

Despite the fact that preparations for the actual events overtook my intention, I did in fact spend time online and found several toys that fit my three basic criteria. The toys must:

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