Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spring evenings

The end of spring semester is filled with a flurry of activity:  school programs, wrapping things up, and final interpretive responsibilities.  I'm fortunate to have summers 'off' now, being a 9-month faculty member instead of a 12-month one - having 'converted' 3 years ago. 

It means I try not to have many 'work' responsibilities in the summer, but it doesn't mean I stop learning about nature (and enjoying nature), or learning about gardening (and enjoying it).

The kids in recent (Garden) programs have enjoyed observing the numerous black swallowtail caterpillars in the Ethnobotany Garden (part of the Children's Garden).  Way cool!  And the young praying mantises, grasshoppers, lady bird beetles, Northern banded water snakes, Carolina wrens, etc. that we've discovered, I hope have just encouraged their interest in the natural world.

Pipevine swallowtail on a Zinnia flower
But I wanted to make note of how the evenings in April and May this year have been lovely  - cool, relatively low humidity, and lush.  Yes, it was up to 87°F this afternoon, but it started out cool, and now in early evening, the temperatures are moderate again.

And the delights of summer (as well as sultry heat) are around the corner.


  1. I love all the seasons for different reasons (yes, even winter!), but I do believe that spring has become my favourite of all. These deliciously warm days and sweet breezes are much more welcome here than the sultry, heat of July. It's such a treat to be able to leave a window open all night and let the breeze inside during the day. Not to mention those spring peepers which have turned their volume up full blast. :)

  2. I was surprised to find Swallowtail caterpillars on my parsley...or rather what was left of my parsley.

  3. Lisa,
    To have the summers off so lucky. Meg teaches year round and it never gives her much time off. My being a handyman it is feast or famine when it comes to work. Loved the Pipevine photo, not an easy one to get a photo of.

  4. I think in 'mid-life,' we pay attention more to the seasons, at least if we're inclined that way.

    Nancy, I share your appreciation of the month or two in spring (and in fall) that we can open windows and let the breeze in, too, regardless of pollen, etc. Achoo!

    I think the key with black swallowtail caterpillars is to plant LOTS of fennel and parsley (to keep ahead of them, and still have some to use). The fennel plant in the Ethnobotany Garden hardly shows any sign of herbivory, in spite of having numerous caterpillars!

    We ARE fortunate now to have summers 'off' in our mid-late career years. I'm mindful of how of how blessed we are to have the time now in the summer for giving back and renewing our connections with nature. I'm glad of the respite from budget concerns and scheduling worries in the summer, and can just focus on gardening and natural history -- a total gift.



I enjoy hearing from fellow nature lovers and gardeners. Let me know your thoughts.

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