Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What’s an Urban Forester?

Georgia Silvera Seamans walks us through the basics of several city arboreal occupations, strolling past some of Boston’s finest trees along the way.

imageWinter tulips: Liriodendron tulipifera in Boston

Photo: Geneva Wirth

By Georgia Silvera Seamans

In the City of Boston, there are several types of tree professionals, including urban forester, tree warden, and arborist.  I worked as an urban forester there, managing street-tree planting contracts.  But thanks to my training as a community forester, a resource person for community groups who desired to create and sustain neighborhood green-spaces, I expanded my original responsibilities as city forester. I created a website, an urban forestry brochure, and an annual tree contest. On behalf of the Boston Parks Department, I co-directed the Boston Urban Stewards, a youth-focused urban ecology and stewardship program.  These new community-focused programs earned the city a Growth Award from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. 

Massachusetts also has tree wardens: under the state’s General Law Chapter 87, the tree warden is responsible for the control of public shade trees, though the law does not require the tree warden to be an arborist. An arborist is a certified tree professional.  Most states have an arborist association.  In Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Arborist Association administers the certification.  I became a Massachusetts certified arborist in 2002.

The arborist exam includes a tree identification section.  One of the places I practiced my tree identification skills was the Arnold Arboretum in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston.  The Arboretum is a 265-acre living collection of 7,082 individual plants.  The trees of the Arboretum are spectacularly maintained and catalogued, which made it a great place to study.  My job as an urban forester had also given me the opportunity to study. I developed my identification skills visiting nurseries to select street and park trees, monitoring the health of street trees during the contractual maintenance period, and working with young people and community groups on street tree inventories.

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Posted by Julie on 01/30 at 10:20 PM
Gardening & LandscapePoliticsPermalink

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Avant-Garde with Ironweed

Pro seedsman Allen Bush goes underground (or at least he hopes so) tossing out seed along the alleys of Louisville, Kentucky.


The Sower by Vincent Van Gogh (after Millet), 1888

Image: Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

By Allen Bush

I sow garden-collected seeds along forgotten patches of back alleys within a few miles of my home, secretly. I fly below the radar in summer and fall, dressed in cargo pants, carrying a paper bag full of tomfoolery. “Where did the giant ironweed come from?”  No one has yet asked – as far as I know.

It’s still the dead of winter. I won’t know for months whether the paw paws or the Joe-Pye weeds will pop-up.  On the front street the shrubs get clipped like poodles; out back along our alley and hundreds of others in Louisville, it’s a no man’s land. I am not alone in garden mischief. 

Richard Reynolds has made mischief a career. He is the author of On Guerilla Gardening, A Handbook for Gardening Without Boundaries.

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Posted by Julie on 01/26 at 12:50 PM
Gardening & LandscapePoliticsPermalink

Friday, January 21, 2011

Back to Eden, Every January

The New Year is anything but bleak in Bengal. Sandy Ao returns to Eden and brings us a rainbow of observations. Thank you, Sandy!


Dahlias, marigolds and roses in January? It’s flower show season in Kolkata, India.

All Photos: Sandy Ao

By Sandy Ao

This is Eden Park, one of the fond parks of Kolkata, especially for Kolkatans who reside in the heart of the city.

Morning walkers love this garden. I was one of those morning walkers once.

Besides this, I feel very sentimental with Eden Garden as it is related to our childhood growing up. My mother would drive us to this garden every evening. While she would be busy taking pictures, she exposed us to nature, music, and much more here.

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Posted by Julie on 01/21 at 05:24 PM
Gardening & LandscapeSecular CustomsTravelPermalink

Thursday, January 20, 2011

‘The Transient Beauty’

Don’t give up on that plant quite yet: an inspired story from Taiwan.


Lin Yueh-ku receives her literary award at the Taipei International Flora Exhibition.

Photo: Focus Taiwan

Taipei’s International Flora Exhibition includes a literary contest, a feature that lots more garden shows should consider: verbal flower arranging certainly enhances any vase arrangement or real-earth garden—and may outlive them both.

Lin Yueh-ku’s prize winning entry “Life of the Night Blooming Cereus – the Transient Beauty” should give plant-people of every medium a jolt of grateful realism.

Lin, who’s suffered 13 years with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease), spent a month tapping out her story, vignettes from her 54 years.

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Posted by Julie on 01/20 at 04:11 PM
Art & MediaGardening & LandscapePermalink
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