Artist Profile: Charon Henning

To say that Charon Henning is simply an artist is a vast understatement. When I interviewed her and learned more and more about where she came from and what she has done, a common refrain kept going through my head, that of The Cat in the Hat – “But that is not all I can do. Oh no. That is not all…”

Charon’s roots as a Visual Science Communicator and Scientific Illustrator began when she was a child and would bring home toads and harvestmen to share with her mother, who never discouraged her curiosity. In her basement, Charon had a set up of tanks where she could watch creatures she’d collected at a creek near her house. But the point of no return for Charon, “when it really took off…

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Poem of the Week: The Bee

By Emily Dickinson

Like trains of cars on tracks of plush
I hear the level bee:
A jar across the flowers goes,
Their velvet masonry

Withstands until the sweet assault
Their chivalry consumes,
While he, victorious, tilts away
To vanquish other blooms.

His feet are shod with gauze,
His helmet is of gold;
His breast, a single onyx
With chrysoprase, inlaid.

His labor is a chant,
His idleness a tune;
Oh, for a bee’s experience
Of clovers and of noon!

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Poem of the Week: Mider’s Song

This is a poem by Fiona Macleod, a pseudonym for William Sharp who included this poem in his play, The Immortal Hour.

How beautiful they are,
The lordly ones
Who dwell in the hills,
In the hollow hills.

They have faces like flowers
And their breath is wind
That blows over grass
Filled with dewy clover.

Their limbs are more white
Than shafts of moonshine:
They are more fleet
Than the March wind.

They laugh and are glad
And are terrible:
When their lances shake
Every green reed quivers.

How beautiful they are,
How beautiful,
The lordly ones
In the hollow hills.

I would go back
To the Country of the Young,
And see again
The lances of the Shee,

As they keep their hosting
With laughing cries
In pale places
Under the moon.

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Diary of an Urban Wild Garden: See No Weevil

It all started back in April when I found a teeny weevil on a window ledge in the living room. The weevil had ceased to be, but where had it come from? I posted it on Twitter and quickly learned it was a Hollyhock Weevil (Rhopalapion longirostre), which made sense because there are hollyhocks planted right outside the window I found it in. The flowers had been there a few years, sown as part of a fairy garden flower mix, but they didn’t appear to have much wildlife value so their days would be limited once I got around to adding new native plants to that area.

But now I was interested in these flowers I had mostly ignored. The hollyhocks were barely beginning to sprout out of the ground, but over the next few weeks I kept an eye on them as…

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Poem of the Week: Sonnet – To Science

By Edgar Allan Poe

Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art! 
   Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes. 
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet’s heart, 
   Vulture, whose wings are dull realities? 
How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise, 
   Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering 
To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies, 
   Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing? 
Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car, 
   And driven the Hamadryad from the wood 
To seek a shelter in some happier star? 
   Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood, 
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me 
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree? 

Learn more about the meaning behind this poem in this article on the Poe Museum’s website.

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Pollinator Week

This week was Pollinator Week and I started thinking about all the different pollinators that visit my yard. Over the roughly seven years since we moved in, I’ve been continually adding new native plants and transforming a yard of grass to wildlife habitat. In the last couple of years I’ve focused on the backyard and creating more pollinator habitat. Flowers start blooming before winter is over and there is a constant bloom throughout the spring and summer and well into the autumn. I also leave things messy because old flower stems are used for bees to nest in. There are patches of bare soil for ground nesting bees to dig their holes and I never use pesticides.

As a result, I have been rewarded by dozens and dozens of different types of pollinators – from bumble bees and leaf-cutter bees to…

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