Friday, February 01, 2008

Budburst a Blast

For a year or two now I have thought that someone should put together a website where people all over the country could record when certain plants start blooming. The website could then map all these records, and we could watch the wave of blooms move north. The information could help scientists document the effects of climate change on different plants in different places.

Now someone has done it! Check out Project Budburst - which starts accepting records on February 15 - not that I expect anything in my garden tro start blooming until April...

Help me get the word out. The more folks add their bloom times to the maps, the better we can watch the wave of blooms move north. I plan to include my kids; and there are resources for teachers to use the project in their classes.

Yard Redemption - Hope

Can a yard, a city lot in small town America no less, be redeemed? Is it right to speak of saving, delivering, restoring land? I'd like to continue to explore those questions.

We cannot turn back the clock. What has been lost, at a landscape scale, can only be restored at a landscape scale. But what about the scale of a yard?

Inch for inch, a native wildflower garden can contain greater plant diversity than most intact prairies and savannas. My yard, for instance, has 80 different native plants on less than 500 square feet. Animal and fungal diversity are probably lower than an intact savanna, but are still far higher than my neighbors' deserts of mowed grass.

I suppose "success" depends on comparison. A restored yard does not reach the same ecological value as a native savanna, but is far superior to the typical American yard.

But is it "redemption?" I suppose that depends on what we mean by "redemption" and whether that applies to land or only people?