Oh man, I'd be jealous if I were you too. I'm taking a little break from the cold and will be away from my computer for about 2 weeks starting tomorrow. If I can post, I will, otherwise hear from me when I get back.
Walking through Prospect Park yesterday I found 2 American Coots floating amongst the swan, ducks and gulls in the lake. Coots are fairly common in more rural areas with lakes and ponds but I've never seen one in the city and snapped a picture of one - you can't see it in the pic but they have really spectacular blood red eyes. I also was doing some investigating online and found that they have the freakiest looking young, with hot yellow feathers and bald heads.
This weeks Q&A has some info on growing Clivia's indoors or in a greenhouse. The lucky ones (Californians) get to plant this outside and watch it flourish for most of the year, the unlucky ones (Northeasterners) have to torture this thing indoors just to get a little bit of action. It involves forcing some fake seasons upon the plant but once you get this to bloom, you will see how painfully beautiful the flower is.
The House and Home section of the NYT has an nice article about witch hazels in yesterdays print. Witch Hazels are the 1st bloomers of every season and put on a beautiful floral show with delicate poofy pompom flowers on nice substantial tree's. The article talks about the many varieties and where you can go see some in action. Some of these horticulture folk are sooo complainy - midpoint through the article someone starts griping about the lack of fragrance from the flowers. Seriously people, just be happy that there's a hardy champ that gives us something to look at in this horrible state of February.
Picked before me was a plate full of lobster, scallops, crab legs, monster shrimp and perfectly cooked selection of root vegetables. I cannot lie, this was an amazing meal made for me by the boyfriend for valentines day. VERY beautiful and words can't describe the dreamy tastes that came out of those sea bugs.
My favorite DJ Trouble recently put a blog post up about a local sheep cheese making class at a farm in Morris county NJ. Some of the classes are already sold out for the spring and summer but it looks like a very rewarding class to enroll yourself in if you are indeed a cheese fanatic.
I wonder if this years Robins have been raped by Pidgeons because the ones I saw today (over a dozen) were abnormally large and pidgeon-like. Unfortunately my photo above is crappy evidence so we will just have to wait and see....
The NYT has a pretty interesting (poorly written) article in the House & Home section today about Robert Fuchs the owner of possibly the worlds largest orchid vendor -R.H. Orchids in Homestead, FL. It's a nice story about his family and the business and how they've scoured and pillaged through every subtropical or temperate environment in the world where orchids are found. It's not so much a horticultural story but more about commerce, but still an interesting peak into the US orchid industry.
I bet a water lily is the perfect cut flower. My old colleague and buddy Gina who works for Mariani Gardens in Armonk sent me this picture of cut water lilies that they are selling per stem. Aren't they amazing looking?! They're a little pricey but I bet it's worth the extra buck for their longevity and their colors are amazing! And speaking of cut flowers, this weekend the Brooklyn Botanical Garden is having a lunar new year flower market this Sunday. They're selling cut flowers, flowering indoor tropicals and also indoor fruiting trees (finally fruiting tree's!)