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Geranium 'Ann Folkard'
troistoques (time-out) (Flickr / Creative Commons)

There are geraniums and then there are geraniums. The classic geraniums everyone knows are the annual flowers my mom used to love. She'd pot up some red geraniums every year at her house. While I still grow annual geraniums in honor of my mom, I also like perennial geraniums.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Since the pandemic hit, carbon emissions have dropped globally. A study in “Nature Climate Change” found a 17 percent decrease in emissions by early April. In New England, data show that air pollution and energy consumption are down.

strawberry
PEXELS.COM

It's strawberry fields forever. The delicious red berries are coming in strong and it's time to take care of the berries and plants for next year.

Creative Commons

Social structures, in almost all cases, are defined by some form of hierarchy. Whether in academics, sports, religion, business, or politics, there's usually someone at the top and others whose goal it is to get there. But while it's easy to think that we've designed our world to be this way, the truth may be that we had no choice.

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

No one likes a cloudy sky. A cloud on the horizon is seen as a harbinger of doom. We feel like clouds need to have silver linings.

But here's our thesis: Clouds are unfairly maligned.

Consider this: From almost any vantage point (literally -- any vantage point in the universe), clouds are planet Earth's defining characteristic.

They're what changes, what moves. They're what's going on on our pale blue dot.

Starting a garden with your kids this summer? Let them take the lead so they'll enjoy the space and want to be there.
Pixabay.com

Kids have been home for months now and with summer on our doorstep, many parents are looking for kid activities. Gardening is the perfect solution. Here's some ideas for starting a kids garden with your young children this summer.

Travis Wise / flickr creative commons

In 2007, journalist Alan Weisman published The World Without Us. It was an international bestseller. The book tries to answer what is ultimately a simple question: What happens to the Earth if human beings disappear? Here's how Weisman puts it in the book: "Say a Homo sapiens-specific virus -- natural or diabolically nano-engineered -- picks us off but leaves everything else intact." Then what?

And over these last few months, we've gotten maybe a fraction of a percentage point there. Temporarily. Maybe not directly because of coronavirus, but indirectly because of our absence and scarceness due to stay-at-home orders and the like. And so... then what?

Cucamelons grow the size of a cherry tomato and are striped like watermelons.
Page (Flickr / Creative Commons)

Cucumbers are one of those staple vegetable garden crops everyone grows. Most gardeners are familiar with the green slicing cucumbers and pickling cucumbers. But, if you have a little extra room in your veggie garden this spring, try some unusual cukes. You'll be surprised by their color, texture and taste.

Lavender 'Hidcote'
Gwendolyn Stansbury (Flickr) / Creative Commons

There is nothing like the sight and smell of lavender. I was fortunate enough to travel to the South of France and see the lavender fields. But we don't have to travel to Europe to enjoy this prized herb. There are lavender farms in Connecticut and you can grow it in your own backyard. You just need to select the right varieties and grow them properly. It's the National Garden Bureau's Plant of the Year, so let's grow some lavender.

Hosta (Multiple Varieties)
Dianna Ott (Flickr) / Creative Commons

This ancient, common shade perennial flower originates from China and Japan. It grows wild in the forested mountains. It's a favorite wild spring edible, collected when the shoots are young and then roasted or sautéed. It didn't reach Europe and United States until the 1800's but now there are thousands of varieties. This shade perennial is the hosta. Hosta is the go-to shade plant for many gardeners. It grows easily with colorful leaves and pink or white flowers.

Dandelions
Pixabay.com

Americans have an obsession with dandelions. This much maligned weed, actually was brought to North American for its culinary and medicinal uses. It's high in vitamins and was considered a delicacy during Victorian times.

Florence Fennel
Quinn Dombrowski (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Growing up in an Italian-American household, one of the treats of spring was eating raw bulbs of Florence fennel. My mother would prepare it with a simple dressing of olive oil, salt, pepper and a dash of balsamic vinegar. I grew up loving this anise flavored vegetable.

Jess Gambel / Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

This hour, we take a look at bees. From the famous animals that make the honey we eat to lesser-known native “solitary bees” that nest in holes in the ground, there are thousands of species of bees, and hundreds of them have been found right here in Connecticut!

We'll talk about the critical role these pollinators play in agriculture and learn about the threats they face.

Amsonia 'Blue Ice'
mwms1916 (Flickr) / creative commons

I first grew amsonia or bluestar perennial flower years ago in a public garden. I was impressed with the size, stature and beautiful light blue flowers that it produced in early summer and gorgeous golden fall foliage. Bluestar is a native plant that should get more recognition. It was the Perennial Plant of the Year back in 2011, but I rarely see it in gardens.

Cade Martin / Pixnio

Spring is here! We might not be able to leave our homes, but this shouldn’t stop us from getting outside. Throughout history, many have turned to gardening during times of crisis.

Nasturtium leaves
Courtesy of Steve Aitken

With spring in full force, many gardeners are planting violas and pansies. It reminds me to plant some edible flowers in our garden this year. Not all flowers are edible and not all flowers are tasty to eat, but there are many that are a delight to the eyes and tongue.

Tomato seedling
Renee (Flickr) / Creative Commons

There's been a big spike in people buying vegetable seeds. Hopefully this means lots of people will be growing a Victory Garden of vegetables to help offset the economic hardships caused by the pandemic, have some healthy food, and get outside and enjoy Nature. But many people don't have room for a garden. The solution is container gardening and the number one vegetable everyone wants to grow is tomatoes.

Snap pea
nanao wagatsuma (Flickr) / creative commons

With the Coronavirus keeping many of us at home, it's time to focus on the vegetable garden. Now is a perfect time to start planting and it all begins with peas. Peas have been eaten for thousands of years but mostly as a dried vegetable. It wasn't until King Louis 14th that royalty started eating fresh garden peas. Commoners have been eating them only for a few hundred years.

Invincibelle Spirit Hydrangea
Courtesy of Steve Aitken

Many gardeners are pruning trees and shrubs this time of year. One shrub that often confounds people is the hydrangea. The reason for the confusion is different species of hydrangeas are pruned at different times. So, let's do a quick hydrangea pruning 101.

Gardening tools
Pixabay.com

With lives upended due to the coronavirus, many of us are spending some unexpected time at home. The silver lining is we have more time to work in the garden. Here's a review what to do, and not do, in the garden now.

Mixed flower garden bed
Marilylle Soveran (Flickr) / Creative Commons

There's nothing like the sight and smell of fresh cut flowers in your home from spring to fall. While it's great to support local growers and florists, you can grow your own cut flower garden, too. Here's how.

Witch Hazel
sharin (Flickr) / Creative Commons

This time of year we're all starved for color. Maybe a few snowdrops, crocus and hellebores are blooming, but we need more! One shrub to the rescue is an unusual one because it blooms either now or late fall, depending on the species, with colorful, spider-like blossoms. It's the witch hazel.

Paul Wade / NOAA Fisheries

Connecticut lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban the sale and breeding of certain whales held in captivity. 

Tomato seedlings
JP Goguen (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Tomatoes are the most popular home garden vegetable for good reason. They're easy to grow and there are tons of varieties. Tomato varieties range from tiny plants like 'Micro Tom' to monsters like 'Giant Belgium'. But if you want to experiment with growing novel tomato varieties you're probably going to have to grow them from seed. So here's a refresher on growing tomato seeds indoors.

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

The nonprofit organization representing Connecticut’s 169 municipalities says more cooperation is needed to manage environmental fallout from a family of contaminants that have remained in products for decades.

overhead power lines
Karim D. Ghantous / Creative Commons

More than 100,000 Connecticut consumers could soon see a refund on their electric bills if they used a third-party electric supplier.

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

The Metropolitan District Commission approved a controversial water discount for high-volume users Monday night. Right now, the measure stands to benefit only one customer: Niagara Bottling, a bottled water company.

reservoir
Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

The Metropolitan District Commission is slated to vote Monday night on a water proposal that would give a discount to its biggest customer, a bottled water company. 

Celery
John Sheldon (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Celery is an ancient and trendy vegetable. Wild versions from the Mediterranean, were used medicinally in 850 BC. Relatives of celery, though, can be found around the world. The Italians started growing it as a vegetable in the 17th century creating taller stalks that weren't as strongly flavored. Today, celery-based smoothies are popular for detoxing the body.

solar panel
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

If you rent or can’t put solar panels on your roof but you want to support solar energy, you can subscribe to what’s called “shared solar” and get a credit to lower your electric bill. But regulators in Connecticut say the state’s two biggest electric utilities are dragging their feet on developing rules for the program.

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