Friday, March 25, 2011

There's a chipmunk in the hellebores.

I fell in love with hellebores while working at Dunwoody Nature Center. There's a spot at the rear of the main building where they thrive in purple, pink, and pearly white beauty, spreading assertively toward the pollinators' garden.

During last year's Spring Plant Sale, the master gardeners divided a few of the larger sections as passalongs. I bought one to see how hellebores would do in the Knitternall yard, despite its tremendous liabilities (huge water-hogging maple tree, shallow dirt thanks to said maple tree's root system).

It LOVED my sad front yard. So this year, I sent an all-call to the master gardeners, asking if they would mind dividing their own collections for the passalong sale (benefitting Dunwoody Nature Center).  One darling gardener immediately brought me three large transplants, which I promptly installed beneath the maple tree's massive canopy.  This morning, a tiny chipmunk peeked from beneath one of the hellebore's large leaves, looking skyward for passing hawks before it scampered beneath our front porch. (And that's another story. Chipmunks and their tunnel systems are NOT good things for plant roots and foundations.)

When I left the park yesterday, I saw about a dozen hellebores sitting in pots, ready for passalong sales.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dunwoody Nature Center's Spring Plant Sale

I'm ordering quite a few treasures through the Dunwoody Nature Center's Spring Native Plant Sale. At least I know they'll LIKE the crazy Georgia climate. My yard is nothing if not challenge-burdened:

  • a trifecta maple tree that sucks all the moisture out of the front yard
  • a back yard with looming hardwoods, meaning little to no sunshine
  • an east-facing house
  • side yards with little to no chance of more than 3 hours of sunlight
Nonetheless, the curbside vegetable garden is bustling as peas cast creeping tendrils toward the trellis, romaine lettuce is sending shoots sunward, and radishes are thrilled by the early spring warmth.

I kill more plants than finally thrive, which makes the survivors even more dear.

Order some plants from Dunwoody Nature Center and support their worthy mission: to give everyone some blissful greenspace in our increasingly urban community.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

We want your telephone number.

The Girl Scouts want my social security number to verify I'm safe around my daughter and her friends during GS activities. Google wants my telephone number in case my blog gets hijacked or I lose my password. The library wants to see my driver's license every now and then to make sure it's really me checking out the latest bestseller. The United States government wants to see my in my altogether before I can board a plane. Every website I visit wants to leave a few unsavory cookies on my computer to track my interests.

I am not comfortable with mandatory identity-proving procedures, the loss of privacy, and the increased demand by governmental and commercial entities for personal information. I am more comfortable with anonymity. (I know, that seems a bit perverse considering the very public nature of this blog.)

It's insidious. Gradually, over time, I've grown accustomed to the relentless demand for personal information everywhere I go, from the grocery store to my kids' schools. I am asked to share my address, telephone number, and social security number for a background check, my socioeconomic status and interests "for marketing purposes," and proof of medical insurance and liability waiver to have my cholesterol checked.

I am pragmatic about the reasons for these intrusions. I recognize that our culture and way of life are in flux, wrestling with the transition from everybody-is-the-same to an uneasy imbalance among government, commercial, and personal interests.

Another morning is dawning. I'm packing school lunches, Preschool Phonics gear, and freelance paperwork for several projects due today while I hold down the fort at Dunwoody Nature Center as interim director.

I'm also making sure I have my driver's license, insurance card, frequent customer card for the grocery store, checking account card, credit card, smart phone with contact information, remote log in for my desktop, personal hotspot, and memorized passwords and user names for the many accounts I work on each day ... without which, I could not function at all and all of which reveal so much about my personal life to strangers around the world.

Kinda creepy, isn't it?