The Sunday Roundup 3

Winter in Alberta.

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As a Landscape Gardener, my winters are slow: I have a garden or two to design, some projects to plan and income tax to figure-out, but otherwise my time is my own. It’s a time where I imagine that life will slow down enough so that I can begin to venture into serious book reading, learning and creative soul searching. I imagine myself completing unfinished projects and pursuing new ideas. Some think 4 or 5 months of winter would leave me with time to burn and a serious case of cabin fever…


Catching-up with processing and organizing photography, completing projects and working on my website fill the time that isn’t spent doing the obligatory housework, seasonal celebrations, fending off those who think I have nothing to do and Arwen chauffeuring. I have a bit of cabin fever, but its not because of a lack of things to do or because I’m house-bound. It’s because I begin to miss greenness. Lush, trembling, pulsing, fresh greenness…

♦ So this week my antidote to winter will be a visit to Muttart Conservatory and shopping trip for house plants. Who knows, I may even take a lead from Dave Walter, who has been avoiding cabin fever by rooting through his houseplants and figuring out what goes on in the world within a plant pot. David has up-ended his house plants to find the Clivia Food Web: Part I and Clivia Foodweb: Part II.

Diversity awaits in minute proportions.

♦ In warmer climes, Steven Schwartzman has been photographing the wild grape, Vitis mustangensis. Mr Schwartzman first caught my attention with this photograph of ants in living amber, but he holds my attention with many other interesting posts and photographs, ensuring my return to his blog in the future.

♦ Last week I featured a New Yoik Times article on the importance of invertebrate biodiversity. Now the Dragonfly Woman has picked up the torch and is running with it: first by blogging the study in Science Sunday: Impediments to Invertebrate Conservation, and then by following up with Things You Can Do To Promote Invertebrate Conservation.  She presents ideas on how ordinary citizens (like me and you ) as well as scientists, can help promote biodiversity through invertebrate conservation. Important articles, folks: what’s good for bugs is good for us.

♦ One non-photographyblog I am fond of visiting is Pencil and Leaf, which presents the work of Valerie Littlewood, a pencil and paper artist who creates ethereal bee illustrations. Her latest post is on the hairiness of bees, and Bombus pratorum. She includes some SEM imagery to illustrate bumble bee pilosity.

♦ As I mentioned in the introduction, Splendor Awaits will occasionally stray into non-buggy areas…

One of my early influences were the books of the British photographer, Heather Angel. She has recently written an article on photographing  the wildflower Nigella damascena (‘Love-in-the-Mist’, a common garden annual in North America) with a white background while using the techniques of photo stacking. She has combined  41 images to capture this lacy flower in full focus. Read about the equipment and the process in Photo Insight with Heather Angel. (Image used in accordance to Amateur Photographer guidelines: non-commercial use)

♦ News to me: In the History of Entomology Dept: Richard Hoppe at the The Panda’s Thumb has been reading the autobiography of the entomologist Alfred Wallace, the co-revealer of evolution by natural selection. When reading about a hypothesis by Herbert Spencer, Richard was reminded of the controversy created by Lynn Margulis, who had advocated a paper positing that butterfly caterpillars originated  by mating between worm-like and winged ancestors. (See how Richard’s  innocent quotation from Ecclesiastes leads to pages of commentators flying off the rails. Get a life, people!)

Indeed, nothing is new under the sun…


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This entry was posted in Alberta, Biodiversity, Bugs, close-up, Conservation, Edmonton, Entomology, Equipment, garden, History, Science, Season, Technique, Updates, Winter and tagged , , , , , .


  1. Steven Schwartzman 22 January, 2012 at 3:29 PM #

    Thanks for the mention.

    Thanks also for making me aware of the “paper positing that butterfly caterpillars originated by mating between worm-like and winged ancestors.” I gather that almost all entomologists reject that hypothesis, but I’ve long found it curious that every butterfly was once a caterpillar: it’s hardly the outcome that a visitor from another planet who encountered a caterpillar would expect.

  2. Dragonfly Woman 23 January, 2012 at 3:21 PM #

    Thanks for the shoutout! I appreciate it!

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