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coral

In 1999 the Corals for Conservation program began in Fiji. The “Coral Gardens Initiative” uses hands-on methods and training to connect individuals in local communities to the restoration of degraded coral reef ecosystems.

As part of the coral program, we trim bits and pieces off of rare, and where possible temperature tolerant corals, and then grow them to several hundred times the original fragment size to create “mother corals”. Two-year-old mother corals are then trimmed to produce coral seed fragments that the communities grow in the coral farms and restoration sites. All of the coral farms thus produce only second and third generation corals, completely avoiding the negative impact of wild harvesting of corals.

Enjoy this video below and visit http://www.coralsforconservation.com/default.html

Picture source: ‘sheyneg’ Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivatives

Moon Tree at Tilden

A redwood tree.

Looks like any other coastal redwood tree, doesn’t it?

So, what’s so special about THIS one?

THIS tree was started from a seedling,

which was started from a seed,

which went around the moon 34 times.

Let’s back up. When on January 31, 1971 Apollo 14’s Lunar Command Module pilot Stuart Roosa took off, he had packed away in his personal gear nearly 500 seeds of loblolly pine, sycamore, redwood, Douglas fir and sweetgum trees. Working in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, the idea was to see if the prolonged weightlessness of seeds would ultimately affect their growth to mature trees—a good thing to know “should colonization of other planets become necessary.” A control group of seeds stayed back on Earth for comparison.

Once back home, supposedly more than 80% of the seeds were germinated in some U.S. Forest Service nurseries. (After years of observation, by the way, no discernable difference was detected.) Then in or about the bicentennial year 1976, “Moon Tree” seedlings were distributed throughout the U.S. and ceremoniously planted with the reading of a congratulatory letter from President Gerald R. Ford.

Among sites that requested seedlings were botanical gardens, state capitols and courthouses, state parks, state universities, nature centers, schools, libraries, and space science properties. Some areas made their own signs marking locations of the trees, while other trees bear no marking at all. The still-alive sycamore planted at Camp Koch Girl Scout Camp in Indiana bears the hand-painted sign “. . . Long live our beautiful Moon Tree.”

Precise records were not kept with regard to the seedling distribution. But a man named David Williams has made it his own personal mission to track down and catalogue the whereabouts of these seedling/trees. Williams has a list of those he knows about at http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/lunar/moon_tree.html. If you know of a Moon Tree planting not listed (dead or alive), he would like to hear about it dave.williams@nasa.gov.

Now, “Half-Moon Trees” are being grown naturally from the discarded and cross-pollinated seeds of original Moon Trees. If you are so inclined, check search engines for those who are selling these babies and also for those who are grafting and cloning the original Moon Trees.

Photo credit: Thanks to Susan Peck who recently photographed this now tall Moon Tree at the Tilden Nature Area, Berkeley, CA

Nancy R. Peck

 

A short month, February had fewer listings in our Group + Grants News tab. But we continue to see an incredible amount of support for community gardening across the nation. School programs and lots of youth-oriented projects are evident as well.

Arbor Day themes are getting into focus as we see ‘Tree Musketeers’ of El Segundo, CA—headed by wunderkinder—and the ‘Tree-mendous Tree Contest’ of Brunswick, GA among others.

The momentum is there. Click on the Groups + Grants News tab at the top of the page to view the latest organizational gardening, community education, beautification, and conservation creative—and creatively funded!—endeavors.

If your organization has made a difference with a community project in the past month, send a press release or published media url link, to salonhostess@gmail.com and efforts will be made to include it.

Nancy R. Peck

National Arboretum Needs Your Help

Azaleas Photo by Don Hyatt

This is a story—a true one—of a few people who made an unpopular decision, and a much greater number of passionate people opposed. How a little piece of blog news exploded. And how we can still find heroes. It’s also a story of what we stand to lose if we’re not careful: The National Arboretum.

If you’re outside the mid-Atlantic metropolitan area, you may have missed this unfolding drama that has been hovering over the National Arboretum for the past four months—an arboretum visited each spring by 100,000 people, 446 vivid acres in northeast D.C. It is the only federally funded arboretum in the United States and it’s been having problems in spite of itself. Read on. Continue Reading »

 

I’ve no real facts to base this on. But it seems to me that, when I was growing up, there were many more opportunities to run into pussy-willows growing ‘wild’ in the northern woods of suburbia. They were the harbinger of spring and, since as a child I loved all things soft and furry, the glossy catkins were a favorite of mine.

Though easy to root and propagate, ‘Salix discolor’ are ‘dioecious’. If you see yellow catkins at the time of pollen release, it’s a male.

Gosh, this little rhyme brings back an innocent time.

I know a little pussy
Her coat is silver gray
She lives down in the meadow
Not very far away.
She’ll always be a pussy
She’ll never be a cat
‘Cause she’s a pussy willow
Now what do you think of that?

Sure, one can buy branches and shrubs today at random florists or online, but that’s not as much fun as finding them on a walk or getting a few cuttings from the odd lady down the street.

What childhood pussy willow stories can you pull from the backwoods of your mind?

Picture source: Wikimedia Commons

Nancy R. Peck

Since Presidents’ Day is coming up I assigned myself a little First Lady reading. Excerpts from Eleanor Roosevelt’s “My Day” journal-column touch on a morning view of the White House gardens on a very agenda-ed day, June 9, 1939. There was to be a visit from King George VI and the Queen of England.

“The President told me firmly that I must ready at ten minutes before eleven.”

After making the rounds of every room with White House housekeeper Mrs. Nesbitt and explaining to her the English customs of morning tea, bread, butter and water with no ice, she writes:

“I think Mr. Reeves, the head gardener, has done the most beautiful job with the flowers in and around the house.” She profusely compliments him and his assistants. “It has meant a great deal to him [Mr. Reeves] to have such wonderful flowers sent in from various parts of the country.” Roses have been sent from New Jersey, “pink gladioli from Alabama, and orchids,” to be used that night for centerpiece, “come from a friend in New York City.”

“When I went out on the porch for my breakfast, I could not help exclaiming over the gorgeous vases of deep purple gladioli standing by each column.”

“The railings of the steps leading down to the garden are covered with honeysuckle in bloom and the big magnolia tree planted [in 1835] by Andrew Jackson has opened wide its blossoms.”

She goes on to write that she expects the rest of her day may be “somewhat busy . . .garden party at the British Embassy . . . I do not see that there is going to be any time . . . to do more than remove a hat!”

This was the first visit from a reigning British Monarch on U.S. soil ever—“two people who have impressed their sympathetic personalities upon a continent,” Mrs. Roosevelt writes. The six-day visit started formally but ended casually at Hyde Park for a Sunday picnic of Virginia Ham, Smoked Turkey, Rolls, Cranberry Jelly and Hot Dogs (if weather permits).

Source: The White House Historical Association—The Household Staff Prepares for a Royal Visit http://www.whitehousehistory.org

Additional source: FDR Library documents http://docs.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/royalv.html

Photo source: Serge Melki, Flickr Creative Commons

Nancy R. Peck

“The first impression for a visitor arriving in a town is often formed by their view from a train carriage, and it is a disgrace that view is so often a degraded and dirty one that suggests a lack of care or pride in the area.”—Bill Bryson

fly-tipping

How many times have you ridden on a train where railway property litter is just part of the scenery? I can’t think of a train trip when that wasn’t the case. Especially entering and emerging city rail stations, I’ve seen the strangest combination of things strewn—car seats, discarded wheel-less strollers, open-for-business signs, crumpled venetian blinds, things I haven’t been able to identify, hair-dryers, wigs. And everything plastic known to Man has just “blown” over the embankment.

As it turns out, this is also a serious pet peeve of Bill Bryson, current president of Campaign to Protect Rural England. (He doesn’t know it, but Bill also has the distinction of being one of my favorite Laugh Out Loud armchair-travel writer-humorists.*)

“This generation of people has a duty to pass the countryside on in as good a condition as we can.”

“In one of the most beautiful countries in the world,” (Bill, is it ok to call you Bill?) says “I just can’t understand how someone could open up a car window and toss out an empty pizza box.” That is something that has baffled so many of us over many a decade.

Since 1926 CPRE has been “campaigning for the beauty, tranquility and diversity of the countryside.” It is spearheading a movement to use a little enforced law requiring rail companies and public highway agencies to keep their properties clear of litter and rubbish. If written requests to agencies go unheeded, then anyone in the public can use a legal mechanism and file a Litter Abatement Order to enforce the law. Introduced by the Environmental Protection Act of 1990, this also applies to local councils, schools, colleges, hospitals, port authorities and airports. If you live in England, CPRE has instructions for you.

There are many conservation and landscape preservation issues CPRE addresses—over and above preserving hedgerows, championing for forests, deterring roadside advertising, sprawl and traffic, fly-tipping (sneaky dumping on the fly). Explore the CPRE website http://www.cpre.org.uk/home and their publication library http://www.cpre.org.uk/library.

On the right sidebar here at Garden Club Salon, see the “Blogroll” if you’d like to link to similar organizations in the U.S.—Keep America Beautiful, Scenic America, The Cultural Landscape Foundation, The Trust for Public Land. Use your favorite search engine to locate those U.S. states that have their own organizations dedicated to landscape protection.

*Bill Bryson was born in Iowa in 1951 but has spent most of his professional life living in England when he isn’t traveling. Among his many books are A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, Notes from a Small Island, Down Under, A Short History of Nearly Everything, Made in America.

Thanks Bill, and thanks to all our friends at CPRE.

Nancy R. Peck