Saturday, June 25, 2016

Weekend Walkabout: Poetry and Photos

Oh, the Brexit....

Anyone else ever felt this way?

Now it's so hard 
to forget
what I fought so hard
for so long
to remember....


Have a great gardening weekend, and don't forget to Walkabout!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Weekend Walkabout: New Tillie Trays and a Pelican Dawn

I've been getting up earlier these days so that I can watch the sun rise. It's worth it. Really.

This new habit has become a reality because I have discovered a fabulous coffee roastery in my neighborhood. Their coffee is freakin' awesome and it wakes me up sooooo much better than the stale grocery store stuff. This morning, it was stormy and windy, and I was greeted by pelicans heading for a fishing trip on the beach:
Beach Dawn with Pelicans, June 2016, MRobb
Gorgeous clouds, too:
Cloudscape June 2016, MRobb
I haven't shown my newish terracotta Tillie trays yet, as I was having camera/computer interface problems that I only corrected this morning. These trays are made of Roja Linda clay with Amaco Bluebell and Aquamarine glaze. I love this combo soooo much!
Tillie Trays 2016, MRobb
Have a wonderful and creative weekend!


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Tillie of the Month: Tillandsia araujei

Tillie of the Month is back! Today's Tillie of the Future is T. araujei, a hard-to-spell and harder-to-pronounce (ahr-OO-zhay-ee), thin and spiky creature.
Tillandsia araujei, a tough, tall Tillie. (MRobb)
T. araujei grows south of the Rio de J area, on the coast, in Brazil. The leaves are thick and waxy and it reminds me a lot of rosemary, which is also a tough coastal plant. They are supposed to eventually grow into clumps, but I've had mine for several years and it just keeps getting longer. It's about doubled its length from the photo above. It's now about 30cm and shows no sign of either blooming or clumping.

Araujei is one of the toughest Tillies you can grow, and doesn't need as much tender care as some, such as T. argentea fineleaf or magnusiana, which are beautiful but high-maintenance creatures.

Tillandsia magnusiana, a showy diva Tillie. (MRobb)
 In its native environment, araujei grows sideways or upside-down. Maybe if I hang mine upside-down, it will start to bloom and clump? But I am lazy, and I like it just as it is.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Update on the Wellesley Ravens

Pauline and Henry, Ravens-in-Residence at Wellesley, had a nest of five eggs, and four of those were viable and hatched. Three of the young ravens were very lively and robust, and one was a little...not so lively and robust. When it came time to fledge in late May, the first three were out of the nest lickety-split, while the one my family dubbed "Junior" sort of just sat there, looking glum and trying out his not-very-lively wings. But his family returned to him to make sure he had food and water, and slept near him at night, even though they should have been out roosting in trees or bushes. It was clear they cared, and that's amazing! Most bird species don't behave that way at all. Corvids are different.
I am pleased to announce that Pauline and Henry's four young ones have all successfully fledged- I'm sure viewers around the world were cheering when Junior finally, with coaxing from his siblings, made it out of the nest and into the wide world! I'm looking forward to seeing Pauline and Henry at nesting time next spring. (Ravens are monogamous and generally mate for life.)
Here is a splendid pair of Northern Ravens from India, courtesy of Wikipedia:
Indian Cousins of Pauline and Henry, wikipedia

Turtle Nests, Sweet Potatoes, and Spanish Moss

This is turtle nesting season, so for us, it means no outdoor lights from dusk till dawn, and for our local university students, it means constant vigilance as they count, mark, and protect the nests proliferating on the beaches. This is always such a great sight to see on a morning beach walk!
In the Throw-It-And-Grow-It Department, the sweet potatoes are doing very well, guarded by my own little Plant Spirit sculptures.
My only regret about living beachside is that Spanish Moss, (Tillie usneoides) can't grow outside here. But my indoor Tilliescape has many square feet of Spanish Moss, busily cleaning our air (it's one of the best air cleaners on the planet), and I go hiking inland to see lovely old oak trees full of Tillies.
Most of my orchids are blooming. Catasetum is a little late this year but coming along (we had a really cold and dark spring), and so is Paphiopedilum, so pictures will be arriving. Here's a no-longer-dyed big box Phal....
I'll be doing a proper Tillie Post tomorrow- in the meantime, I wish everyone a wonderful and wacky Weekend Walkabout!



Saturday, June 4, 2016

Palms, More Palms, and a Palm Poem!

Guest Poet Andrew Adar wrote this to go with today's post about palms. And it's true, palms are close relatives of corn and turf grass, and cousin of the bamboo. Their stems are fibrous, not woody. They aren't really trees at all, but don't tell the nesting birds!
Palms After Storm, MRobb, 2015





clear blue sky
two cabbage palms lean
towards each other

-Andrew Adar

Black Coconut, MRobb, 2009
Palm Tree People, MRobb, 2011
Have a wonderful weekend walkabout!

Monday, May 23, 2016

My Herbalism Motto

I've been training in herbalism for a while now (I'm an RN and I go by "Nurse Mary") and I really love it. I prefer to go slow and really learn all I can about a plant, and grow it if I am able, before using it in herbal formulas. A few of my favorites are the Leaf of Life, Gynura procumbens, catnip, St. John's Wort, and good old thyme, oregano, and rosemary. Sitting around with friends is a great way to come up with a motto, so here's mine, came up with it yesterday on the beach:



Nurse Mary Says:

Nature Sows the Seed
So We Can Feed
On the Weeds
We Need.

Drink Herb Tea Every Day!