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Five Good News Stories from the Environment

April 30, 2015 by Jo Ellen Roe
All 5 at slumber party

I read lots of articles about the environment, and sometimes I come away feeling depressed. The endless stream of issues seems so daunting. So many seem unwilling to admit we have a problem. I think of my sweet grandchildren and wonder what kind of world they will face.

To counter this feeling, I went looking for positive articles, and happily, I found quite a few. Here are summaries of and links to some of my favorites.

Ozone Layer Showing ‘Signs of Recovery’

The key point in this article is that the ozone layer is in the process of healing itself, and could perhaps return to its pre-1980 levels by mid-century. Complete healing may well not occur until even later, or even at all, but despite that caveat, this is good news. Even better news is perhaps the way in which this reversal of a problem occurred. People around the world agreed to ban man-made chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), used in spray cans and refrigerators, in the 1987 Montreal Protocol. Countries worked together.

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Three Top Bee-Pleasing Plants for Your Garden

April 20, 2015 by Jo Ellen Roe
Swamp milkweed 2

This bee seems to be quite happy as he explores this sweet pink blossom.

The bees are in trouble. I did a quick Google search, which yielded three full pages of articles about this problem. If you read them, you’ll come away wanting to help. One way is to plant perennials that bees love.

What should you plant? This post will recommend three guaranteed winners: swamp milkweed, bee balm, and Lemon Queen perennial sunflower. These three will carry a garden from June through fall.

First on the Scene: Swamp Milkweed

The swamp milkweed (asclepias incarnarta) starts to bloom in June. It has lovely tight pink buds atop a two-to-three foot stalk. These buds open as the photo shows, and the bees come almost immediately.

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Tracking Spring in Serendipity Gardens

April 13, 2015 by Jo Ellen Roe
Red winged blackbird

This faithful bird is a true harbinger of spring at Serendipity Gardens.

As I have blogged about previously, watching each year for the return of the red-winged blackbirds and listening for the spring peepers to start peeping are spring milestones that I track informally each year.

I also really enjoy watching the birds migrate north via maps like the 2015 Ruby-throated hummingbird migration map. It’s just so fascinating to think of those determined little travelers making their way to their summer homes each year. When I first looked at the map this year, the birds had reached just inside the continental United States. Now, they are entering Ohio and Indiana. Next stop: Michigan and beyond.

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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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