The squirrels are better gardeners than I am.

It is quite generally known that I am not a gardener. I have a history of killing houseplants (unless they are of they are unattended root vegetables, in which case, they occasionally thrive.) One year, at my old house, I did clear out the garden plot left by the previous owners, and planted a vegetable garden. Things went quite well, until a woodchuck wandered in. After that, there was no more vegetable garden. (Woodchucks, by the way, are even worse gardeners than I am.) In any case, I left the garden to grow wild after that, and soon the vines and thorns took over.

Some years later, a splash of red caught my eye inside the tangle of vines and thorns. Tulips were springing up! I had planted vegetables there, not flowers, and we hadn’t had any red tulips. But there they were. I have heard that squirrels will bury stashes of food in the ground, and such stashes will sometimes include root bulbs as well as nuts and acorns. I can only guess that some squirrel had dug up someone else’s red tulip bulbs, and planted them in my untended garden. Unlike my ex-cucumbers, it would appear that tulip bulbs are not attractive to woodchucks. And so the tulips were left to grow.

Each year, the tulips return with more and more blooms, thriving in some squirrel’s secret garden.

a bunch of found flowers

None of these are technically flowers, but I did find something about each of them to be flower-like.

A tissue.

Ice cream.

Water bottle.

Playground equipment bolt.


petals of metal (friday foto finder: floral)

A gate in Barcelona, with stylized blooms and thorns.

For somebody who is not especially partial to flowers, I sure do take and post a lot of photos of flowers. I guess that’s why this week’s friday foto finder theme of “floral” made me think to find something floral that wasn’t actually flowers. Turns out I also did that once when the theme was “flower,” what with my iron flowers of hardware on a rusty vintage tractor. This time, though, I have a range of metal flowers from near and far that were actually designed to depict flowers.

Close-up of the Barcelona blooms.

Another fence in Barcelona.

Flower-shaped window grates at Boston University.

A Dublin streetlamp with shamrocks. (More leafy than flowery, but still flora if not actually floral…)

An iron bench with a flower pattern (and a lion face) at a Massachusetts farm.

To see what other flowers have been picked for the theme, and/or to share your own, check out the fff blog.

gallery of tree bark

As I was walking back to my car after my lab meeting in Boston last Friday, my eyes were drawn to the patterns, colors and textures of the bark of one of the trees growing along the sidewalk. In this case, it was the range of rounded blobby shapes, in muted greens and oranges, that attracted my attention, and made prompted me to take a photo. Of course, this is not an isolated incident. Tree bark has caught my attention far and wide, and over many a year. Here is a sampling of some bark to be found in my photo library.

More bark at BU, but clearly from a different tree. April, 2010.

Another tree in Boston, this time in March, 2012.

Boston, 2012, March. (Again. It was a good year for tree bark.)

Oakland, CA, January, 2011.

May, 2014, Malahide, Ireland.

Massachusetts, May, 2014.

I actually have no idea what kind of trees any of these are, come to think of it. I’m pretty sure not oak and not maple, but beyond that, I have no clue…

Have you hugged your tree today?

Today is Earth Day, and I can’t say that I did much to commemorate it. I didn’t drive anywhere, so at least I didn’t consume as many fossil fuels as some days. And I did appreciate some trees, though I didn’t photograph them. Instead, I will share some old photos of my children hugging a tree.

This photo is one I shared ages ago, so I guess it’s recycled. But recycling is good, right?

And here’s one I don’t think I’ve shared, so it’s like I’m planting a new tree (photo).

Next year, perhaps I will set some higher goals to express my appreciation for the planet.

3 unrelated photos

Here are three completely unrelated photos I’ve taken over the last decade.

Parking garage. Providence, RI. 2005.

Window blinds. Oakland, CA, 2011.

Porch and railings, Massachusetts, 2014.

signs of spring springing up

Now that the snow has melted and the nights aren’t super cold, signs of spring are springing up all over.

Leaves are starting to pop out on the shrubbery.

Moss is perking up.

Forsythias start blooming.

And the rare and elusive tree seal makes its first appearance in the maple tree.