Sunday, November 23, 2008

Whoooo did you see in the garden?

The other day as I was heading out to do some work in the garden, I heard the incessant cackling of a large group of crows. They seemed to be going after something, so I set my stuff down and started to follow the ruckus. Turns out, the crows were chasing a solitary owl. A large, beautiful owl, that we later identified as a Barred Owl. So, I called Stephanie Huckestein, our Education and Outreach Coordinator, to come out to watch this sight with me. I figured it was too good of a wildlife sighting to not share with anyone. We ran around, from tree to tree, following this whole winged drama. Finally, the owl made its way to a large Norway Spruce, Picea abies. Poor thing was getting mauled by the crows, so we started to make what we decided were owl sounds, and lo and behold, the crows left. We stood guard of the owl for a while, hooting, whenever the crows made an attempt to return. He stayed there in the spruce for a spell, probably enjoying the quiet, until I tried to get in a little too close for a picture. Ooops. Still got a pretty good one. Anyways, a pretty exciting afternoon, I must say!

Later, we came to find out that owls prey on baby crows and so perhaps the crows were just protecting their young. Oh well, the owl was so outnumbered it was hard not to take his side!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


That I May Serve...

A motto I am proud to be associated with and words I strive to live up to. Part of a public garden's mission is to serve its visitors as a place providing respite, education, and many other wonderful things. I am proud to say that our asphalt pathway is just about finished! It is already creating much wonderful traffic through the garden, and allowing for new traffic that we previously have not been able to host, like wheelchairs, walkers, and strollers.

I 've heard a number of people express their dismay over the choice of asphalt as the material for the path. To be honest, I used to feel similarly. But, as I have had time to reflect on the purpose of the pathway and its ability to open the garden for so many new visitors, I have become its largest fan. So, to the asphalt haters, take a moment to think of this new pathway system with Virginia Tech's motto in mind and you too will see the beauty of it all.

P.S. Ut Prosim aside, on a purely aesthetic level, I think the pathway is looking quite nice! Come check it out!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Titan Arum Blooms in Milwaukee

An Amorphophallus titanum is about to bloom! Just follow the media frenzy and associated hyperbole "...a terrible stench that can be smelled for miles." Oh please.
But the webcam is cool...