Last weekend I went with some friends to the National Botanic Garden.  We missed the infamous Titan arum blooming by just a few days… but we also missed its accompanying blockbuster lines.  And we did get to see its fallen — and odor-free — aftermath.  (Have you all seen this time-lapse video of its blooming?  Amazing!)

Leaf Pattern


Though we didn’t get to see the Titan arum, we found plenty to admire at the Botanic Garden.  How much in the human history of pattern and design must be inspired by plants.  I kept looking at the leaves and bark and blossoms and thinking how great they’d look transferred onto textiles and paper goods and architectural details.  In fact, I actually have a print-making project up my sleeve for this fall.

In the meanwhile, enjoy this crazy, impressive aloe.



Kachemak Bay

Homer Spit

I just returned from two weeks in Alaska, where I spent my time walking on beaches, hiking the tundra, reading by the midnight light in log cabins, and visiting tiny old fishing, mining, and mountaineering villages.

One of the places I liked most is the town of Homer, an important Halibut fishing capital and a dynamic, creative hub on the edge of the Kenai peninsula.  I wish I could spend a whole summer there.

I’m so excited about the posts coming up in the next few weeks!  Here are a couple images of Homer’s Kachemak Bay to get started.

Listening Lately – Spring Peepers

My husband and I always write on our calendar the first day we hear spring peepers.  Two choruses of peepers live by the creek near our house, and at the height of spring, we can even hear them chirrup from our deck.  Spring arrived late this year, but even then the peepers were on time: right in the middle of March.

Even so, I haven’t made it down to the creek to hear them as often as I’d like.  Then last night I was leaving the library after a meeting and was enveloped by a distant chorus.  Up close, an army of peepers can be high-pitched and bracing, but at a distance the sound feels more mellow.  I wound up rolling down my windows in the library parking lot and just listening.

Fibonacci in the Natural World

Yesterday I wrote about the finding the Fibonacci Sequence in the rays and tiers of New York’s Chrysler Building.  The Sequence appears everywhere.  In pinecones and artichokes and nautilus shells and the human ear’s cochlea.

Fibonacci Spiral

I’ve been reading about Fibonacci today, and I learned that its numbers (when divided into each other) move ever closer to the Golden Ratio that has been a hallmark of architecture from the Taj Mahal to the Parthenon.  Which makes the Chrysler Building’s homage to Fibonacci all the more resonant.

Since I’ve talked a lot about Fibonacci in architecture, I thought it was only fitting to end with this terrific video that talks about Fibonacci in plants.  It’s a fun and creative film — even for those who don’t like math.


After a week of sub-freezing temperatures, we had a day and a half of spring.  I went out on Tuesday to do some errands, and couldn’t resist making a detour over to the lake.

Lake Fowl

While most of the lake was still frozen solid, a small area in the center had thawed enough to create a bathing pool for just about every goose, duck, and seagull in our area.  There were literally hundreds of birds reclining on the ice around the pool, honking, congregating, and hopping into the water for a dip.

I didn’t have my camera with me on Tuesday, but my husband and I went back at lunchtime on Wednesday just before the torrential rain started.  By then, a lip of ice had melted around the lake’s edges, and the sky had turned dark and moody.

Not that it deterred the wildlife.

Canada Goose

The geese seemed somewhat fascinated with the new rim of melt at the lake’s perimeter and skated over to investigate.

Ice Edge



I hadn’t realized how much I missed fresh air and the loamy smell of springtime.  By now the rain and last night’s (mildly alarming) winds have returned us to a winter climate.  But for that short little interlude I took walks sans jacket and worked with windows wide open.  Five more weeks until peepers and daffodils.  Spring is coming; I couldn’t be more ready for it.