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  • There are some people who value the earth so much that they're labeled “tree huggers.” There are others that love the earth so much that they are willing to kick butt for it. In honor of Earth Day, we will examine four characters who are willing to get a little aggressive when it comes to protecting Mother Nature.

  • by Buzzy the Cicada

    Pssssttt…hey, you down there. Yeah, that’s right. Hi. I’m up here, in the tree. You got a minute?

  • Rosemary, basil, parsley, mint: all useful for summer cooking. Buying herbs can get expensive, so wouldn’t it be easier to just grow them yourself? It can be difficult if you don’t have a green thumb, but with these tips you’ll be sure to succeed.

    Use An Egg Carton: Planting your seeds in a paper egg carton is a good way to ensure that your seeds can germinate and get everything they need to thrive as a plant. Punch holes in the bottom, put in the soil and seeds, and leave the carton in a place that will allow lots of light. When you see sprouts, you can just bury the carton in the ground along with the sprouts (leaving them above ground, of course). You can also transfer the herbs into pots to keep by your window. The paper will biodegrade and your plants will continue to grow in your garden!

    Know What Herbs to Grow: Bringing a plant to life and keeping it alive can be hard if you don’t know what you’re doing. Some plants are tougher than others. You also don’t want to choose herbs that grow very wide or tall if you’re keeping them inside. Some good ones to start with are basil, mint, and parsley.

    Use Organic Fertilizer: Fertilizer is a good way to ensure that your plants are growing up healthy and strong. It can also exceed the lifespan of your plants if you’re forgetful about watering them (like I am). For a plant that you’re later going to eat, however, you don’t want to introduce any chemicals to them that you wouldn’t want in your body later. Use compost or store-bought organic fertilizer with your herbs!

    Choose the Right Time to Harvest: The best time to pick the leaves off of your plant is right before its flowers bloom. This gives them maximum flavor, whether you choose to use them fresh or dried. If you want to dry them, you can do so by hanging them upside down in a dry place or putting them in the oven at 150 degrees for three hours.

    Happy gardening!

  • A still from the Secret Garden film adaptation

    From Gilgamesh’s Garden of the Gods to the Garden of Eden, cultivated green spaces have found their way into writing since the practice began. Recently, garden clubs across America have declared June 6th as National Gardening Exercise Day, a reminder that exercise in nature is more fun than hitting the treadmill indoors yet again.

    Some of our favorite fictional gardens have been the sight of some serious exertion as well, both mental and physical. Check them out.

    Kublai Khan’s Garden in Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino: In this strange and beautiful novel, Marco Polo sits in Kublai Khan’s garden and describes to the emperor the various, wondrous cities he has seen on his travels.

    The garden itself is as magical as the invisible cities Polo describes. As he tells Khan, “Perhaps this garden exists only in the shadow of our lowered eyelids, and we have never stopped: you, from raising dust on the fields of battle; and I, from bargaining sacks of pepper in distant bazaars... Perhaps the terraces of this garden overlook only the lake of our mind.”

    The Gardens in Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence: This scandalous 1928 novel tells the story of Constance, Lady Chatterley, a bored and frustrated young wife who begins an affair with the estate’s gamekeeper. Lawrence’s novel was censored for its explicit descriptions of sex, but the garden details are racy enough in themselves.

    Take, for instance, this brief snippet: “Yellow celandines now were in crowds, flat open, pressed back in urgency, and the yellow glitter of themselves. It was the yellow, the powerful yellow of early summer. And primroses were broad, and full of pale abandon, thick-clustered primroses no longer shy.” Whew!

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