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Fossils tell the tale

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Accompanying the new mural depicting the history of plant life at the Smith College Botanic Garden is an exhibit of plant fossils on loan from the Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College. “Fossils are the basis for all our knowledge about the evolution of plants,” said the botanic garden’s director, Michael Marcotrigiano. “The fossils complement the mural by giving the viewer a look at the pieces of evidence …

The flora story: Unique mural at Smith’s Botanic Garden depicts 4 billion years of plant history

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A new mural at Smith College that depicts billions of years of plant history, might well be the first of its kind, anywhere on Earth. Museums of natural history have long answered the perennial challenge of explaining what Earth looked like millions — even billions — of years ago, with the use of …

Get Growing: It’s a good time to sharpen the gardening tools

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Sharpen up those tools! Throughout the winter, garden magazines and websites remind us to sharpen our garden pruners so they’ll be ready to make swift, tidy cuts again come spring. Somehow I never get around to that mysterious task. Of course, some of us lose tools so frequently that keeping them sharp year …

With new varieties, search for perfect tomato goes on

Friday, January 15, 2016

Page through any of the freshly arrived seed catalogs and you’ll note the words “new” and “improved” splashed across many of the tomato varieties available to home gardeners for 2016. New flavors, lively colors, different sizes, higher yields, …

Fashion moment for plaid extends to housewares, decor

Friday, January 15, 2016

NEW YORK — Plaids are having a fashion moment as retailers and designers play with the classic pattern. But the apparel and footwear industries are sharing the love: Fresh takes on plaid have made headway in housewares and …

Get Growing: House plants need TLC in winter

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Winter is a hard time for house plants. Dry heat robs them of needed humidity, and there’s less natural light. A basic understanding of what plants do in winter makes it easier to keep them healthy throughout the …

Artful architecture: Stunning mid-century modern style draws a pair of art historians to their home in Amherst

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

When husband-and-wife art historians Jessica Maier and Nick Camerlenghi first set eyes on their mid-century modern house in Amherst last April, they knew they were looking at a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And though the boxy, flat-roofed house may seem …

Living Smart: How to hold on to that holiday sparkle

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

We’ve spent the past several weeks (dare I say, months?) celebrating the holidays with friends and family amongst twinkling lights, glittering ornaments and beautifully wrapped packages. But now that the parties are over, how can we maintain that …

Get Growing: New columnist thrives on trial-and-error gardening

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Greetings, garden lovers. As you may know, the longtime occupant of this space, Cheryl Wilson, has retired. In her many years of writing home and garden features as well as this column, she guided readers through countless gardens …

Area bird sightings as reported by Audubon

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Here are this week’s bird sightings from the Western Voice of Audubon. Three barnacle geese were in the Connecticut River between Longmeadow and Agawam for one day only. Reports continue to be received of red-headed woodpeckers in the …

Chinese medicinal herbs a niche market for US farmers

Sunday, December 27, 2015

DELMAR, N.Y. — Expanding interest in traditional Chinese medicine in the United States is fostering a potentially lucrative new niche market for farmers who plant the varieties of herbs, flowers and trees sought by practitioners. While almost all …

Audubon report on bird sightings for western Massachusetts

Friday, December 25, 2015

This week’s bird sightings from the Western Voice of Audubon: Reports continue of red-headed woodpeckers in Longmeadow, short-eared owls in Northampton and white-fronted and cackling gees in Hampden. Barrow’s goldeneyes were seen on the Connecticut River in Agawam and Hadley. A long-eared owl and four common redpolls were …

Get Growing: Tending a new Christmas rose

Friday, December 18, 2015

Since childhood I have been intrigued by the legend of the Christmas rose. My parents had a tiny book about the legend. At the time I assumed the rose was the rose that blooms in summer so I …