A fine mess

Posted on | October 9, 2022 | No Comments

The photo series A year in a new garden documents the breaking out and replacement of a concrete driveway, big tree pruning, soil building, and sheet mulching of invasive ivy patches front and back. This snapshot, from a recent fall afternoon here in Baltimore City, is of the young patch of perennial wildflowers that replaced ivy in the back yard. The perennials planted last fall and last spring include milkweed, agastache, bergamot and giant blue lobelia. The goldenrod creeping in frame left is a welcome interloper from the neighbor’s yard. A pin oak sapling might just be visible in a slow effort to remove trees from under a power line and plant new ones well inside the garden borders. If it looks unkempt, it’s because the ground cover is largely left unmolested apart from reducing it with a string trimmer every couple of months. A perfect lawn isn’t perfect to this gardener. Moreover, where regular effort is made, it’s on things like refilling birdbaths and patrolling for emerging bindweed. It took a big push from October 2021 until October 2022 to have it look this gently wild.

September 2022

“They shall not be questioned”

Posted on | December 19, 2019 | No Comments

Watching the impeachment hearings, one question nagged. Why is it illegal for citizens to lie to Congress, but legal for members of Congress to lie back to them? So I looked up the answer, which came in two parts. First, sworn witnesses testifying before Congress lie at risk of perjury charges. Meanwhile, members of Congress can say what they like under protection of no less than Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution. It is the limits of this protection, known as the Speech and Debate Clause, that are now at the heart of the tug-of-war over whether the impeachment charges against President Trump will be referred for a Senate trial. Central to refusal of the President and Senate Majority Leader to call the Secretary of State, Chief of Staff, and former National Security Advisor to testify on behalf of Mr Trump is that they would be sworn witnesses whose testimony would not be covered by the Speech and Debate Clause. In other words, to earn the right to lie legally before Congress on behalf of the President, these men would need to run for office and be elected.

When a bad choice is better than no choice

Posted on | December 11, 2019 | No Comments

Tomorrow Britons go to the polls. Americans should take note. As proved the case with the 2016 Brexit referendum shortly followed by the Trump victory in the U.S. general election, what happens there tomorrow may be the strongest portent we have as to what will follow here in November. *Updated 12/13/19

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The shady politics of urban greening

Posted on | August 13, 2019 | 7 Comments

Cartoon: Emily Green

Glare alone creates the long shadows of Los Angeles. So squinting was inevitable when the city announced the appointment of arborist Rachel Malarich as its “first-ever” forest officer. According to the announcement by Mayor Eric Garcetti, as part of the administration’s Green New Deal, the new forest officer will plant 90,000 new trees in two years. These in turn are expected to provide 61 million square feet of shade in underserved areas.

Glare defines Los Angeles. So squinting was inevitable when the city announced the appointment of arborist Rachel Malarich as its “first-ever” forest officer. Her job, part of the city’s Green New Deal, is to plant 90,000 trees in the next two years. Creation of an estimated 61.3 million square feet of new shade in tree-poor communities is to be done just as the city weans itself from half of its imported water, with a lion’s share of savings expected from landscape irrigation budgets.

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Because, gazing

Posted on | May 27, 2019 | No Comments

Why unpave a townhouse garden instead of using it as a parking pad? The view from the window, according to this photo series of a conversion in South Baltimore.

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