Monthly Archives: May 2007

Now this is REALLY making Charlotte grow:

I’m a veteran of 19 years now in Charlotte, and I can testify to the merits of our climate. I grew up in Wisconsin, but I can’t imagine going through another midwestern winter without a very, very good reason (and a pair of battery-heated long johns).

One sure way to get in touch with the region is by gardening.  You can dig up your Back 40, or you can start modestly by plunking something in a pot.

I don’t claim to be a gifted gardener, but my wife and I do dabble. I have learned that the hot Charlotte summers tend to cook plants unless you choose wisely.

I put out a plea to Robin Glover, the Curator of Gardens at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens (thanks also to Jim Hoffman at Stowe).  Robin is kind enough to send along her 10 best plants to grow in the Carolinas:

1. Aesculus pavia Red Buckeye-This small tree has showy red flowers for two months.2. Baptisia australis Blue False Indigo-True blue flowers, followed by interesting seedpods make this a garden show-stopper.3. Hedychium coronarium Ginger Lily-Just one of these plants will generate perfume for your whole garden in fall.4. Iris sibirica Siberian Iris-Robin is a huge iris fan and this one, adaptable to wet or dry, sun or light shade, is one of her favorites.5. Rosmarinus officinalis Rosemary-This evergreen has blue flowers in winter, a wonderful scent, and you can cook with it. Try a little rubbed on pork!6. Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’ Southern Magnolia-The southern magnolia has the same great lemony fragrance and evergreen leaves, but it comes in a smaller size.7. Hibiscus ‘Lord Baltimore’ Rose Mallow-Huge red flowers make this showy plant look tropical, but it is winter hardy8. Hydrangea quercifolia Oakleaf Hydrangea-With large white flower spikes in summer and good fall color, this rivals any hydrangea.9. Muhlenbergia capillaris Purple Muhly Grass- A garden guest favorite, thin bluish foliage, followed by purple plumes in late summer are spectacular!10. Spiraea japonica ‘Neon Flash’ Japanese Spirea-Holding true to its name this plant offers bright pink flowers all summer long.

With that, I offer my ever-blooming thanks to Robin and Jim.


The Stowe staffers tell us Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden also sells many of these plants in The Garden Store and its gardeners are ready to offer advice when you visit.

I’d love to hear what plans you have the most success with this year. If you do a little planting, I bet you’ll be paying more attention to the environment, as well. 



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Stars in the Sewer

We at WFAE have a passion for accuracy in our programming. So it’s time for me to correct a grievous error in NPR’s report this morning on New York City’s Sewage Treatment Olympics. According to the story, sewer workers are unsung heroes since there are “…no prime time TV shows set in the waste treatment plants or sewers of New York.”

Excuse me. Think a moment. Especially if you’re age 50 or over. What about our national hero, Ed Norton? The Sage of the Sewers? Ed was the sidekick to Ralph Cramdon on the icononic TV sitcom, “The Honeymooners”.  Ed is the guy who taught us that life going down the tubes can be downright admirable. A tip of the hat to WFAE membership staffer Bryan Talbott, a 30-something who knew the answer to this trivia question instantly. This may indicate that Bryan spent far too much time watching TV-Land on cable during his college days. Dear Reader, do YOU remember Ralph and Alice and Ed and What’s-Her-Name?  If so, from the original run or from the retro broadcasts?


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From I-85 to Victoria Station, it’s a small world

As I was buzzing to work this morning, just past the I-85/I-77 junction, I was listening to Renee Montagne reporting from downtown London for the “Climate Connections” series on Morning Edition by NPR. Renee was interviewing a British auto expert, explaining how his diesel car gets drastically increased mileage. He also checked prices at his local “petrol” station–where gas retails for the equivalent of $10 per gallon.

Back on I-85, I looked out my window and saw cars, trucks, and SUV’s stacked up as far as the eye could see trying to crawl into uptown Charlotte.

If we’re not seeing a small world, with many interrelated problems, when will that view become clear to us?

Here, for your quick reference, is the link to NPR’s major new climate series:

I would like to hear from you–are you doing anything to alter your fuel consumption or lessen your commuting burden? 


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