A Fresh Viewpoint of Your Winter Garden

BY JANICE F. BOOTH 

NOV. 02, 2022

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Another lovely autumn is drawing to its close. As I look out to my garden, I reflect on all the beautiful moments I’ve enjoyed for months on end—the glowing flowers, the choruses of songbirds, the lush greens of summer, and reds of fall leaves. And, there’s no reason my winter garden can’t be equally memorable and satisfying in its own, lovely way. So, here are my suggestions for encouraging our winter gardens to be as captivating as possible.

There are three components to consider when we discuss winter gardens. The first is aesthetics, what we consider beautiful and pleasing to our eyes in wintertime; the second is surveying what’s at hand, considering what to encourage in the garden this winter; and the third is planning for the future.

Let’s get started. Aesthetics, our principles of beauty in the garden, probably includes colors, shapes and/or structure, and balance or compatibility. Surveying the garden now, as leaves are falling and branches and stems are emerging, what shapes and proportions become apparent? Evergreens are often strong elements in the winter garden. Walls and fences, too, are dramatic shapes. As for colors, consider these same structures as sources of color: 

• multitudes of green in yews and cedars • a white picket fence • your gray or brown garden wall • a Nandina or sacred bamboo, which will soon be heavy with grape-like clusters of red berries• holly trees sporting tiny clusters of red amongst its shining green leaves • grasses—don’t lop them off, leave the fronds to sway in the winter sunlight

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Looking a bit more closely at your gardens’ winter assets, do you have any of the following beauties growing there? If you do, now is a great time to prepare them for their winter début.

Viburnum: lovely bushes and small trees that bloom early. Consider planting for the future, Viburnum tinus which produces lush, pink blossoms through January and February. 

Bulbs: There’s still time to plant some early bloomers in your garden. Those dear crocus, narcissus, and snowdrops always delight. Don’t forget the Hellebores with their flouncing leaves and showy late winter blooms in shades of rose, pink, yellow, green, and white.

Furnishings: You may not want to stow away that graceful wrought iron table and chairs there on the patio; they will be lovely under a dusting of snow. (Do take in the cushions, however; they’ll suffer from a harsh winter.)

Feeders: What about those birdfeeders? Are you putting out snacks for your songbirds and squirrels? You may want to clean and repair the feeders, even move them away, just a bit, from their locations near the house and patio. Set them out from the house so you don’t have to contend with “dirty snow.” You’ll still have the songbirds and furry gymnasts to entertain you through the winter months. Is there anything lovelier than a scarlet Cardinal against the white snow? And there are lots of chuckles ahead as those plump squirrels hang by their toenails attempting to stuff one more kernel of corn or one more peanut into those cheeks on a winter’s morning.

Once you’ve assessed all the options you have for your winter garden this year, you might want to take it a bit farther and begin planning for changes and additions to your garden that will reach their beautiful potential in winters to come. Late fall is a great time to plant shrubs and even trees. 

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For added winter color, you may want to plant:

Dogwood: You can find beautiful choices in bark and blossoms.

White birch: Once the spindly tree takes root, you’ll enjoy the lovely bark, with its texture of curls, and pretty, tasseled blossoms in the spring. Caution: Birches need lots of moisture, preferring to grow near creeks and bogs. 

Winter honeysuckleWitch hazel, and Japanese apricot are three lovely vines and bushes that offer lush fragrance that wafts on winter winds—intoxicating with the promise of approaching spring.

Camellia: For showy blossoms in shades of rose and pink, add a Camellia to your garden. The shiny, dark green leaves make a perfect setting for the large, gorgeous blossoms that open in late February or early March. 

Here are some other flowers that handle winter weather and provide early spring color:

Semi-hardy: China aster, Lobella, Petunia

Hardy: Pansies, Sweet alyssum, Flowering Stock

Vegetables: If you’re among the hardy souls who are willing to tackle vegetable gardening, here’s a review of the types of vegetables that produce throughout the winter:

Semi-hardy: Swiss chard, Leaf lettuce, Arugula, Carrots, Beets, Rutabaga, Radicchio

Hardy: Radishes, Turnips, Broccoli, English peas, Leeks, Kale, Spinach, Collards

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Finally, just a few reminders if you decide to experiment with serious winter gardening:

Plant now: Give your new plants sufficient time to take root and settle in before serious winter weather arrives. You’ll be more likely to have tasty onions, peas, and Bok Choy if the dears have settled their roots into your welcoming garden. 

Consider watering: You may not need to do very much watering if the winter is fairly cold and some snow arrives. However, if the winter is mild and there is less than normal precipitation, prepare to occasionally carry water to your vegetables and flowers. 

Monitor freezes: The flowers and vegetables I’ve discussed in this article are hardy souls. They won’t be bothered by some frost and snow. But, if the predictions are for “hard frosts” and/or snowstorms, plan to cover your plants. Usually, old bedsheets will be sufficient, but if the weather grows extreme, there are “fluff covers” that will protect your lettuce and leeks from frostbite or the heavier piles of snow.

Don’t forget to take some photos of your winter garden in its special glory! They’ll be fun to look back on when spring arrives.

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Talkin’ Dirt: Conversations with Your Gardener

BY JANICE F. BOOTH 

OCT. 12, 2022

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It’s not easy keeping up with the weeds, or those hardy Weigela shrubs or the Pampas grass. And then there’s the watering and edging, and trimming, and dividing and replanting that gardens require. Whew! I’m exhausted just trying to come up with the lists of regular tasks to maintain a healthy garden. Perhaps you have help, or maybe you’re planning on engaging someone to shoulder some of the work.

If you have interviewed a company or an individual to take on your garden maintenance, you probably know what you want from this important assistant. But during those conversations you may have been befuddled and just a bit intimidated by the concepts and the lingo employed by professional gardeners. To help you prepare for your next encounter with an enthusiastic horticulturalist, let me offer you two lists; one list of topics or issues to resolve when you engage a gardener, and the second a small terminology and vocabulary reference that you can read over and discard, or keep around for future reference. You’ll be happier with the services your gardener provides if you have clearly communicated your wishes—what you expect of your gardener.

Let’s start with a list of 6 general topics and issues you might want to discuss with your gardener or potential gardener:

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Timing: How often do you want your gardener to tend your lawn and gardens? Are there restrictions about time of day? Caution: Don’t forget to discuss weather’s impact on the prescheduled gardening. (I’ve watched neighbors’ gardeners come in the rain and “cut” the lawn. How close or even do you think that cutting will be? And, what about ruts in the lawn from the mowers?)


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Trimming: Is “edging” included with “trimming?” Will hardy mums and lanky phlox be trimmed as needed? Will the shrubs be kept to their current size and shape? Or, do you want them to cut back the shrubs a little or a lot?


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Clippings and detritus: Will the clippings and random leaves and grasses be collected and bagged or taken away each time the gardener tends the garden? Do you want this material to go into a compost pile somewhere on your property?


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Liability: Your homeowner’s policy may cover any injury, but perhaps not. Be sure to check with your insurance agent before your gardener begins. (Some gardening companies have their own injury insurance.)


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Laborers: Do you mind if the gardener brings additional laborers to work in your gardens? Do you want the gardener to remain with the workers while they’re on site?


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Maintenance tasks: Will the gardener “dead-head” and divide bulbs and plants that seem to need attention? Do you want to make the decisions, or will you allow the gardener to decide? While working on your garden, do you want the gardener to be “on the lookout” for specific invasive weeds or vines? I’m fighting a losing battle with Liriope or monkey grass; so I want every blade, every tuft out of my garden! (It’s never going to happen, I fear.) But, if your gardener knows to be on the lookout for specific invaders, you’ll be happier with the care and maintenance your garden receives.

I urge you to occasionally revisit some of these issues with your gardener. Make sure you both remain clear on what will and won’t be done on a regular basis.

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Okay, now on to terminology. Here are some of the gardener’s jargon, common terms that get tossed around. You won’t have to bat an eye when your gardener throws one your way.

CEC: Cation Exchange Capacity measures how much fertilizer your soil can hold and gradually release. (High CEC is good; the soil will hold and slowly release fertilizer.)

Compost: organic matter, such as fruit peel and coffee grinds, break down and decompose to form nitrogen rich fertilizer: designed to breakdown based on soil temperature.

Deadheading: snipping off dead blossoms, to encourage more prolific flowering

EC (electrical conductivity): the measurement for the salt content in soil. High EC is dangerous to plants.

Fertilizer – Controlled-Release also called Time-Released: new, more effective formulas that release nutrients based on soil temperature rather than microbial activity.

Genus: first part of a plant’s scientific name. (plural: Genera)

Harden off: preparing a plant for winter through the gradual chilling temperatures—typically autumn’s weather.

Head-space: in container planting, the area from the top of the soil to the rim of the pot.

Height of plants: the general terms for average size: short plants 10” or less; medium plants 10–24”; tall plants 24” or more.

Heirloom Plants: These are old-fashioned, usually hardy plants, fruits and vegetables that reproduce from their own seeds. Apples tomatoes and watermelon are popular heirloom specialties.

Micro-climate: areas of a garden where conditions differ from the general garden climate. (ex: a soggy spot or an area warmed by a brick wall)

NPK: the ratio of Nitrogen to Phosphorus to Potassium (K) in fertilizer.

Perennial / Annual: perennials usually become dormant over the winter months but reemerge when warmer weather returns; annuals usually do not survive the cold winter months and must be grown from seed or cutting in the spring.

Root-bound: potted plants whose roots circle the pot on the outside of the soil, indicating time for replanting.

Senescence: the characteristic of decay and deteriorating as plants age (even perennials)

Spillers and Fillers: as the names suggest, spiller plants gracefully trail over edges while filler plants are used to fill in spaces between more dramatic plant specimens in a flowerbed or pot.

Toxicity: unhealthy conditions in a plants environment, such as too much fertilizer, too much sun or shade, too many insects, etc.

Trace elements: nutrients needed in small quantities for healthy plant growth. For example: Boron, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc. Most fertilizer products contain small quantities of these elements.

Variegated foliage: plant leaves that may be veined or edged in a color different from the primary leaves.

Xeriscape: landscaping with drought-resistant, native plants.

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A Few Exotic Suggestions for Your Garden

BY JANICE F. BOOTH 

SEP. 07, 2022

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Looking back over the summer’s rich bounty in my garden, it occurred to me that I’ve relied almost exclusively on plants and shrubs that are “sure things.” I know the habits and requirements of these old friends, and they’re pretty happy in their places in my garden. Perhaps, it will be fun to shake things up a bit—visually. Why not add a few surprises to my lovely, familiar ferns and asters?

So, if you’re ready to take a few chances, make a few changes, here are some suggestions for unusual and exotic beauties to delight the eye and pique the curiosity of admirers.

Let me begin with a few cautionary suggestions.

Potting: Since you and your exotics will be getting to know one another’s requirements, I recommend you pot the new plants. Handsome or pretty pots give you the flexibility to move your new plants if they seem unhappy and need to a change from less to more sun, from breezy to protected spots. Additionally, keeping your exotics in pots allows you to bring them indoors when cold weather arrives—into your sheltered garage or your family room, where they can be admired and looked after.

Records: Since exotics are sometimes rather finicky, keep a simple diary or notebook. Record the names and where and when you received these plants. Note any recommendations concerning the plant’s care: sunlight, watering, fertilizing, pruning, tolerance of heat and cold. As time goes on, you can update your records and take a few pictures along the way. If, heaven forbid, your exotic begins to droop, you can take your diary and photos to a botanist or master gardener for some advice.

That said, let’s look at some types of exotics you may want to adopt. Think of them as House Plants, visiting indoors until spring. Since autumn is roaring down upon us, you may want to choose an exotic plant that will fit into your décor—perhaps a sleek palm or plump cactus for a modern look, or a lush fern in a more traditional room.


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Hanging Plants: Here’s where it gets fun! If you can identify a low tree limb or a ceiling hook, indoors, there are some lovely plants that trail and vine beautifully.


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String of Pearls and String of Bananas: These two succulents are easy to grow, unusual, and pretty, either hanging or situated on a surface where there’s room for the “strings” to trail. The plant keeps its lovely green color and responds well to pruning. When spring comes, hang them outdoors, after all danger of frost has passed.


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Variegated Spider Plant: We’ve probably all been given spider plants at some point. They seem to grow without any need for assistance and produce pretty stems that cascade down with tiny, new spider plants dangling from each stem. You can find some exotic varieties with variegated colors—green edged with crème or pink. And, when they’re set outdoors, hanging from the branch of your dogwood, they grow lush and full, readying themselves for another indoor winter.


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Dramatic Plants: For that low flowerbed with its pretty creeping phlox and petunias, you might want to introduce a vertical, dramatic plant, something that will lift the eye and add a bit of pizzazz.


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Palms: An obvious choice for a bit of razzle-dazzle is a palm. There are lots of varieties. Usually, they are sold potted, so you need only drop the pot into a temporary hole in the ground or a handsome pot, and you’re set. Fan and Majesty Palms are the most familiar types, with fronds immerging from the base. Parlor Palms resemble miniature bamboo, with clusters of stems each topped with fronds. Ponytail Palms are fun, looking like an overly curled hairdo. They require a bit more room to show off properly.


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Yucca: These very dramatic and less familiar beauties do require floor space and room in the garden. The Color-Guard and Variegated Yuccas produce firm, sharp leaves that burst out of the plant’s core. They will discourage animals from getting too close, if you’re trying to get Rover to stop running through the flowerbeds. Indoors, the yucca will be handsome in a broad, open area where it can be admired from a distance.


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Bromeliads: Bursting with drama—leaves and blossoms or the Bromeliad can be pink, purple, gold, or orange. While these exotics are slow to bloom—up to three years before they mature—they are undemanding plants and the colorful leaves alone make them noteworthy additions to your home and garden. The only cautions I’d give you for these beauties; be careful to fertilize them during the nine months of growing season, and don’t overwater.


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Orchids: Finally, we come to those gorgeous and most exotic of flowering plants, the orchid. There are countless articles and books explaining how to grow orchids, so I won’t even attempt to advise you. The Moth Orchid or Phalaenopsis is the most cooperative variety with its pretty “face” and undemanding temperament. The Lady Slipper Orchid or Paphiopedilum is almost as easy to grow as any other houseplant. And of course, there are lots of other varieties, as well as orchid growers’ clubs and competitions to win prizes for your orchid.


These are just some of the dramatic or exotic plants you might want to introduce to your garden and your home. Gardening is an art as well as a craft. Experimentation is part of the fun.

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from the Fall Issue of UpStART Magazine

VERSE – Other Songs, Other Rooms

By Janice F. Booth  

Photos by Jody Robinson

What happens when you bring together a musician-composer, two journalists, a lawyer-portraitist, abstract expressionist painter, and a designer-artist? Sometimes, you get poetry—that is, if you’re under the spell of Maryland’s tenth poet laureate, Grace Cavalieri. 

Three years ago, Meg Robinson, a renowned composer for the harp, invited 6 women to discuss their creative activities and plans. When it was Cavalieri’s turn to address the group, she talked about her writing—poetry, drama, and historical fiction—and her role as a Maryland poet laureate, teaching people of all ages to create their own poetry. 

“Anyone who is motivated can learn to create poetry,” she assured the gathering. “How about us?” someone asked. So, that day, Cavalieri offered to teach a poetry-writing workshop for any of the gathering’s attendees who might be interested. Six women, myself included, signed up. And from there, it has been quite a ride. 

Cavalieri set the tone for the workshops by hosting our little group. She fed us and led us through as we wrote our first poems. Within a few months, however, our workshop, “Artists Who Are Poets,” was faced with the social restrictions that came with the COVID-19 pandemic. We persevered, continuing the workshop online. Since that challenging beginning, we have faithfully Zoomed with Cavalieri twice a month. Before each gathering, we each write a poem in a particular style or on a particular topic, based on Cavalieri’s prompt. 

After 16 months and 32 workshop sessions, our leader insisted that it was time to jump in the deep end. We gathered our poems, discussed which were strongest and most accessible to a general audience, and selected over 70 original poems to publish. The collection’s title, The Song In the Room: Six Women Poets, came to us from Robinson, the musician who had brought us together. She observed that when she was composing with other musicians, the composition was referred to as the “song in the room.”  

There are lots of attempts to define poetry, and most or all the definitions include two words: beauty and meaning. But even those two concepts are debated. What is central to Cavalieri’s poetry and her teaching is the bedrock of truth—going deep into the heart of an idea or experience to find, as Cavalieri says, your truth. One of Cavalieri’s poems that address this core of truth is titled “This Poem Is Asking For Your Love.” Here is an excerpt:

This poem is not usually like this 

I don’t know what came over it

It’s mostly violet under the sun 

with a large yellow parasol 

and a pond with a center that never freezes 

I swear I had no idea 

I’m so used to trees of hearts 

and cherries within its branches 

I can’t imagine 

what woke this poem up 

with a truth I never wanted . . .

It had no idea what trouble could come 

from this so I wrote it 

then I ran from it 

now I can erase it 

to show I never needed it after all 

because don’t you know, Poem, 

if you have to ask for something 

it’s no gift.

We six intrepid women—cautious at first but slowly building trust—have written our truth, often using specific poetic forms such as the French villanelle, which involves repeated lines and rhymes; an Arabic ghazal, with complex line repetition; the Italian-Petrarchan and English-Shakespearean sonnets of 14 lines on a love theme; the spare and beautiful Japanese haiku; and a Greek elegy lamenting what is lost. It has been fun and challenging, diving into poetry from such varied cultures. These wide-ranging forms have deepened our understanding of other cultures and how they express truth and beauty poetically. 

Truth emerges in many guises in our poetry. After some winter weeks spent on Florida’s Sanibel Island, Natalie Canavor, author of several texts on business communications, NYU professor, and award-winning journalist for the New York Times, wrote “Beach Sonnet,” which reflects upon the delicate seashell found in abundance on Sanibel’s beaches. Here is part of it:

We snatch the most flawless from beds of sand

To ponder beauty . . . the meaning of art . . .

Hold the perfect small miracles in hand

And feel a joyful upswing of heart.

But we decline to consider the sculptor

Unless we find the alien creature inside.

Then we recoil from its slithery horror,

Our blackest nightmare personified.

Is this the inexorable end all along?

Throw out the singer, treasure the song?

She chose to write her musing on seashells as a sonnet, a poem on some facet of love. Canavor, reflecting on what she has learned and how her understanding of the poetic voice has deepened, says: “I learned that the magic of poetry is in the space between words; what you don’t say is just as important as what you do say.”

Each of the group’s participants is active in the world, exceling and experienced in challenging careers. Each has made homes and raised families. We were surprised to find that the skills and insights from our lives naturally lend themselves to poetic forms. Carole Falk, an abstract expressionist painter whose works hang in corporate offices and private homes, is an authority on Asian art and writes about art. She experiences language in the context of painting. “Poetry is an act of sensual meditation—painting with words, matching the mind with clarity and color,” she says. Her poem “True or Not” captures what her artistic sensibility perceives:

Can a river be lonely?

Can waves yearn to hold last summer’s ducks;

can the rhythm be lost when no one is looking?

Barnacles amass on a piling—

growing, eroding without anyone noting.

Rocks lay unmoved, gathering algae while

grasses grow unchecked at water’s edge

and sway to an unheard song.

I hear the river sigh.

Dona B. Rudderow operates her own commercial arts business, DONACO Design Communication, and is also recognized as a visual artist Her children’s literature series Adventures to Awesome has been used in curriculums nationally. She brings all of this and her world travels into her writing. “Poetry has opened my eyes, heart, and soul to my world, and all that is around me,” she says. Her poem “Possibilities,” takes the reader to the edge:

lying in the Arctic snow,

gazing up,

at the crackling Northern Lights . . . 

silence is before me,

so meager a being I am,

laying under the universe before me . . . 

yet empowered,

discovering strength,

within me!

Sandy Jackson Cohen, formerly a lawyer with the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, is a widely acclaimed portrait artist affiliated with Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. Cohen has taught law, farmed blueberries, and avidly defends the waters and shoreline of the Chesapeake Bay. “Poetry offers ways to artfully express authenticity–so that one’s truth can sing. Sometimes, creating a poem helps in finding that truth,” she says. Cohen’s poem “Haven” illustrates this discovery of truth as she thinks about life both wild and free along the Chesapeake Bay. Here is an excerpt:

This is their place –

the free, the wild ones.

Here I stay by their grace

to be renewed when I come . . .

You wonder that I say I miss them

when they’re called by instinct to depart.

True – I’ve never touched or held them.

Yet free creatures swell my heart.

These foxes, eagles, flocks of swans –

this place of pause from the race we’re on.

Robinson, the spark that set us all afire by bringing us together, writes, performs, records her own songs, and leads an online support group. “Writing poetry is both similar to and different from writing song lyrics,” she reflects. “When I write poetry, I am creating a different kind of music. What works in a song may not work as a poem. But devices like metaphor, simile, and personification are useful in both lyrics and poetry.” An effective example of what Robinson is describing is her poem “People Are Museums.” Here are the first two stanzas; you’ll recognize this poem’s metaphor:

People are museums.

They are collections.

They are special exhibits

of emotions and ideas and beliefs . . .

People are displays that can be seen at certain times.

When the signs says “Open.”

When you have a ticket to enter,

They sometimes give tours,

When they want to let you through the door . . .

I have learned so much from this group of poets, and they influence the poetry I write. I have found that, while reading poetry has always been a thought-provoking pleasure, it also helps me to see perspectives that I might have overlooked or ignored. When I write a poem, I step out of my comfort zone and move about in the joys and sorrows, and fears and delights of the unexpected. In my poem “Dark Places,” I acknowledge the experience of discovering what I have hidden. Here is an excerpt:

Have you a drawer that holds who-knows-what?

A seldom opened, shadowed, dusty place

to toss life’s odds-and-ends, and keys to rooms now shut?

I’ve found forgotten fragments, talismans to bring me luck.

Faded memories rise unbidden, and time could not erase

what’s left inside my drawer that holds who-knows-what . . .

Why clear the shards, untie the knots,

forgive myself and others, in each case?

I have a drawer that holds who-knows-what,

and I alone keep keys to rooms now shut.

This poem in its entirety is a villanelle that relies on line repetition. I find the repeating of certain lines almost hypnotic, taking me, and perhaps my reader, into those forgotten, dusty recesses of my life. 

Truth, authenticity, veracity–these are the measures of our work. We’re always leaning into new challenges, new opportunities, and new discoveries. And that is where our six, disparate lives converge. We have all gone deeper into our histories, our loves, and our losses, and we have come through it stronger and wiser. Poetry shows us the richness of sharing our truth and creating beauty from pain and joy, sometimes in equal parts. We find ourselves. All this revelatory work takes courage. 

Each of us has begun a new, exciting profession, one that will never end. As our mentor Cavalieri says, “To be awake in the world, and then to write it, is to live twice. We are the lucky ones.”   █

For more information about The Song In the Room:
Six Women Poets, visit https://amzn.to/3bb78bw.

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Attention Must Be Paid!

A Must-See Exhibit of Botanical Drawings by Anna Harding

BY JANICE F. BOOTH 

Anna Harding’s exhibition is titled Wake Up: We Need Everybody.


Images courtesy Anna Harding

Backyard Birds 2 The branch, from left to right: Fish Crow, Rufous Towhee, Wood Thrush, Whippoorwill, Pine Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, and Red-headed Woodpecker. The Audubon Soc. lists all of these bird species as at risk of extinction due to climate change.

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Images courtesy Anna Harding

Do you remember coming upon a Bog Turtle trundling across your path when you were a child? Or the sound of a Barking Tree Frog as you lay on the grass looking up at the stars? Carolina Buttercups and Purple Milkweed once dotted local meadows. And there was excitement when coming upon a Yellow-fringed Orchid or Wood Lilies when wandering along shady trails. These and many other lovely creatures and plants need our protection and help if they are to regain and retain their places in Maryland’s natural world, waiting to be admired by future generations as they too wander the wild places in our state.

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Images courtesy Anna Harding

Where Have All These Flowers Gone? The wooden planter contains Carolina Buttercup, Racemed Milkwort, Yellow-fringed Orchid, Sessile-fruited Arrowhead, Bog Jacob’s Ladder, Allegheny Plum, Carolina Milkvine, Blunt-lobed Grape Fern, Marsh Fleabane, Camphorweed, and Seneca Snakeroot. All of these flowers are endangered or threatened.

Images courtesy Anna Harding

Wake Up This eponymous piece, with the supine figure of a human at the top, measures 17” x 42.” The drawing includes plants, birds, dragonflies, salamanders, fish, butterflies, and beetles with evocative names like Curly-heads, Rattlesnake-master, Lark Sparrow, Roseate Tern, Skillet Clubtail Dragonfly, Common Mudpuppy, Dusky Azure, and Schwarz Diving Beetle. (What’s not to love?)

“I am hoping to educate people on the shocking reality [of rapidly disappearing flora and fauna.] We can still do something [to rescue these beauties] if we try,” says botanical artist Anna Harding. She has spent the last two-plus years creating beautiful and eloquent drawings of the animals, insects, amphibians, and plants that are disappearing from Maryland’s woods, meadows, waterways, and shorelines. And now, these works of art are on exhibit at Adkins Arboretum in Ridgely, Maryland.

The 25 drawings in the exhibit, executed in graphite and colored pencil, are all of living things that shared our world but are now endangered, threatened, or extinct according to Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Maryland’s DNR website is a valuable, if disheartening, resource that lists plants and animals of the state that need conservation efforts. Those lists became a useful resource as Harding prepared for and executed her drawings.

Harding is a member of the Working Artists Forum in Talbot County. She founded the Botanical Art League of the Eastern Shore and teaches a monthly class at Adkins Arboretum. Reflecting on her work and the creatures she has come to know so intimately through her art, Harding observes, “I am hoping the viewer will realize that all creatures exist with a role to play that is part of the bigger picture indicating the health of the environment here on the Eastern Shore, our home.”

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Images courtesy Anna Harding

Ephemeral Beauty These butterflies and their host and/or nectar plants include: In the air: Northern Metalmark, Appalachian Blue, Gray Comma. Early Hairstreak, and Edward’s Hairstreak butterflies. Settled on plants: Delaware Skipper, Golden-banded Skipper, Edward’s Hairstreak, Silver-bordered Fritillary, Early Hairstreak, Gray Comma, Harris’s Checkerspot, Pink-edged Sulphur.

BY JANICE F. BOOTH

AUG. 15, 2022

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