So Many Tomatoes!

Volunteering on an Israeli moshav gave me some interesting insights into tomato plants.

Building Blocks of Our World


Our world is based primarily on carbon, oxygen, hydrogen,and silicon. How and when did these elements arise?

Jerusalem, Center of the World – Part II

A continuation of Part I celebrating plants whose botanical names include the city of Jerusalem in Greek/Latin – Hierosolyma.

Jerusalem – Center of the World – Part I

Jerusalem was already an important city in the ancient world and has fascinated the world ever since.  The ancient Greeks called it Hierosoylma.


Fascination with Honey

We all know that bees make honey. But how do they do that?

That’s One Big Bee!

 We recognize honey bees, bumble bees and even yellow jackets. Have you even heard of th Megachile sculpturalis?

Successful Tree Planting Program in Israel 

For over 120 KKL-JNF has been replanting the terribly degraded landscape of Israel. Their remarkable progress can be readily seen throughout the country.

A Wonderfully Colored Insect

Is it an art object, a colorful decoration, a delightful piece of worked glass! Look again!

Modality of the Chanukah Miracle

We traditionally light the menorah with olive oil. Have you given enough thought to the plant material involved?

A Naturalist Looks at the Shofar

A shofar is much more than a ram’s horn! Knowing more about the details of making one plus the characteristics of allowable horns, can only enhance your observance of Rosh Hashana.

Unwelcome Tenant

Sometimes the outdoors comes indoors. This is very unsettling for those who live in the house. But what to do?!

What is a Nudibranch?!!

A chance reference in a book by a scientific philosopher opens a whole new and beautiful realm.


How Leaves Get Their Colors – Part I

Fall foliage attracts great attention. Coloration is a glorious and complicated process beginning in the spring.

Magic Chlorophyll – Part II

Photosynthesis is the basis for most plant life. Our lives depend on plants. It behooves us to understand more about this marvelous pigment.


Where Did All the Chloroplasts Go – Part III

Just when we think we understand how things work, Nature scrambles our expectations!

Chlorophyll has Colleagues! – IV

Although chlorophyll is widely known as a plant pigment, it is not alone in giving us colorful trees.

Fall & Spring Tree Colors – V

We have examined the role of chlorophyll, carotenoids and anthocyanins in giving us such wonderful colors.


Beautiful Fall Gingko Trees

Gingkoes are a memory of ancient times. They are the only members of their lineage with a unique bilobed leaf. They truly shine in the fall as their leaves turn golden,

Strange Doings in Riverdale

Plants have their normal blooming times. Why are we seeing out of season blooms on some of our plants?

Shabbos Bird Mystery

Bird identification takes experience but what do you do when you can hear the bird but cannot see it?

Methuselah is Alive and Well in Israel

The male date palm grown from an ancient date seed named Methuselah is growing at Kibbutz Ketura.  Come see for yourself. 

Jurassic Park Date Fruit

Ancient date seeds  germinated both male and female trees. And then they had offspring!

Underwater Meadows? Impossible! – Part I

We expect grass and flowers growing out of the soil. Surprise! Seagrasses do just that but underwater

The Green Beneath the Sea – Seagrasses II 

There is a whole ecology filled with plants beneath the coastal waters. Seagrass is an invaluable resource for fish, molluscs and marine animals.


Poison Ivy – Beautiful but Dangerous – Part I

With its glossy leaves that change colors through the seasons, poison ivy can seem attractive.

Do not be fooled. Weeks of misery lie ahead for the unwary!

If You are in Despair over Poison Ivy – Get a Goat!    PartII

There are many ways to tackle this plant safely. However, if the area is hugely overgrown with poison ivy, have a goat come to the rescue.



Fibonacci Number I – Math & Nature Go Hand in Hand

While too many of us are uncomfortable with math, there are underlying patterns in Nature that can be described by mathematical formulae. Fibonacci Numbers crop up all the time.

Fibonacci Numbers II – Are Plants Mathematicians?

Humans look for patterns. Mathematics shows us the underlying patterns in nature that we see but are otherwise hard for us to formulate. 

Fibonacci Numbers III – We Are Not Done Yet

A surprising number of flower petals conform to numbers in the Fibonacci Sequence. A final tidbit involves a musical piece based on the sequence.

A Hat Made of Mushrooms

No magic involved! All you need is the ability to closely examine the natural world and discover the many properties of the plants and fungi growing around us around us.

Open Sesame

So often we are surrounded by materials that we take for granted and never think to explore further. With our restrictions on moving about, many of us are cooking more and paying more attention to ingredients!

HOW it all began

I wasn’t always an avid reader. I remember being in first grade and being taught from the Dick and Jane series how to read. For the life of me, even at six years old, I could not fathom how anyone could rouse any interest in “Watch Dick run” or “Look at Spot.” Apparently I did grasp the process because I never need any further help with the subject but reading was definitely not a priority.

girl, child, read
writing, writer, notes

Writing is work!

Reading eventually became a source of great pleasure for me.  Writing, however, was an altogether different matter. Elementary school was full of compositions and book reports. In high school and beyond, no semester was complete without at least one research paper. And I cannot say that I ever enjoyed it!

New Post: what is that tree!!!

We moved into our present home almost forty years ago. While the property had lawns front and back, there was little evidence that the previous owners were interested in gardening or landscaping. There were, however, lovely trees, some of which were quite large. In the front, close to the public walkway, there was a spindly tree with very large leaves which I could not identify.


The suet Challenge

We have been warned for years against eating too much fat but the birds love it. What gives!!!

Speedy Red Dots

Summer sees  renewed activity for outdoor creatures. Some of them, however, decide to check out our homes. First I was intrigued by those flashing red dots on my computer screen. Finally, exasperated, I just wanted them to go home.

Perspective is Everything

Parallel lines cannot meet. Sometimes our eyes do not agree with the math.

The Art of the Garden-Flowery Oasis

Apartment buildings are not known for their esthetic grounds. A building in Riverdale has some surprises for us!

the art of the Garden - Sticks and Stones

Gardens require thoughtful planning and incorporate more than plants.

the art of the garden - common plants, uncommon beauty

It is not necessary to use exotic plants to achieve distinction. Less can be more!

Rosh Hashanah and Botany

The Jewish New Year is greeted with thanks for God’s bounty and blessings as we engage in the quest for spiritual growth.

Outdoor Guests-Adorable Chipmunks

I never expected to see chipmunks in my backyard after all these years.

Outdoor Guests – Coyotes! You’ve Got to be Kidding!!!

I thought that Riverdale, Bronx, NY was such a suburban area.

EcoFlora Can Save Us All

This project provides intellectual stimulation, outdoor activity and non-partisan interaction. Who could ask for more!

The Shape of Things

Sometimes pattern similarities are misleading but teasing out the threads can be fun.