Thursday, January 14, 2016

Tree Recycling

Lauren Krohn

My favorite part of the holiday season has always been picking out the tallest, fullest, grandest Christmas tree and squishing it into my South Philly row home to live with us for a month.  Everything about it has that special magic: the lights, that piney smell, the promise of gifts underneath, plus an excuse to pack my house with another unnecessary plant (something of a special talent of mine).  Lately, however, I've been feeling guilty about the Christmas tree.  These are beautiful trees, who spend their whole lives growing into their beautiful selves just to be chopped and eventually sent to a landfill.  And landfills, unfortunately, are not very magical.

Thankfully, Philadelphia offers a FREE tree recycling program!  This Saturday, January 16, is the last day for it, so if you're like me and can't let go of your tree until the last possible moment then now is that moment.  So don't end the holiday season feeling guilty, and drop your tree off to be recycled!

See the chart below for the drop-off locations provided on the website:

Please drop-off your tree at any of these 23 locations from 9am to 3pm [on Saturday, January 16th, 2016]:
66th & Haverford Ave. 
American & Thompson St.
1400 Cottman - Pennway & Cottman Ave. (Jardel Rec.)
54th & Woodbine Ave. 
Graver Lane & Seminole 
2901 Princeton Ave. (Mayfair Rec.) 
43rd & Powelton Ave. 
Cathedral & Ridge Ave. 
7901 Ridgeway St. (Fox Chase Rec.) 
72nd & Buist Ave. 
Washington Ln. & Ardleigh 
8101 Bustleton Ave. 
Broad & Christian St. 
Upsal & Lowber St. 
2900 Comly Rd. – Palmer Playground 
20th & Hartranft St. 
Fisher & Ogontz Ave. 
7231 Torresdale Ave. – Russo Park 
15th & Bigler St. 
5th & Chelten Ave. (water reservoir) 
Intersection of Wayne Ave & Logan St.
Corinthian & Poplar St. 
Castor & Foulkrod St. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Wild Flowers??

Alexander Grimwade

It is hard to remember sometimes that every ornamental and flowering plant we grow in our gardens and houses has its origin in a plant that grows wild somewhere in the world. This was brought home to me when hiking in southern Italy this fall.

Ivy-leaved cyclamen
Along the sides of the roads and carpeting the oak forest floor are thousands of wild cyclamen in various shades of pink. Gardeners are most familiar with the fickle florist’s cyclamen -- Cyclamen persicum -- with its gaudy and large white, red, or pink flowers. The wild Italian plants are ivy-leaved cyclamen – Cyclamen hederifolium. There are some reports that it can be hardy in our area. Older plants have tubers of as much as 10 inches in diameter, and are known in Italian as “pan porcino”, as they are a favorite food of pigs, including the wild boar that frequent Italian oak forests.

Sternbergia lutea

Rocky limestone slopes are often carpeted with beautiful yellow fall crocuses – Sternbergia lutea. Although not related to true crocuses they are similar in flower structure. These can be grown in our region if you can find the bulbs, and have an alkaline patch of soil, for example, near a wall.

Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale)

Finally, a fall favorite everywhere is the autumn crocus -- Colchicum autumnale. We came across several patches of these poking through the leaf litter. They are easily recognized by the pale violet or pink flower with no accompanying leaves. The leaves, which emerge then die back in summer, are extremely poisonous and are the source of the drug colchicine. They are easily grown in our area.