Wednesday, May 29, 2013

There's a New Blog in Town

It is sometimes striking to realize how close to nature we are in our little city. The built environment of Hudson has been here for two hundred years, but there is always the sense that without constant human vigilance, nature would take it all back. 

Lisa Durfee has sometimes touched on the relationship between the natural and built environments in Hudson on her blog The Tainted Lady Lounge. A couple of years ago, she published a series of photographs (the one at the right being one of them) showing how, over the course of a decade, a volunteer tree grew and flourished while a nearby building decayed and collapsed. In another post, Durfee drew attention to poison ivy growing against the window inside an abandoned house.

To explore further our relationship with nature, Brendan Donegan has a new nature blog devoted to Hudson and its environs called Columbia, Naturally. So far, there have been posts about vultures in Hudson (the avian kind), trees in early spring, and peepers. The most recent post is about weeds--which reminded me of how Pat Patricelli, who lived in Hudson for a while more than a decade ago, used to create the most spectacular floral arrangements for Historic Hudson events using nothing but weeds gathered in the alleys. 

In future, Donegan promises another post about weeds, as well as more posts about trees, South Bay, and the gardens of Hudson. Check out Columbia, Naturally. Gossips recommends it.

The photograph of yarrow growing somewhere in Hudson is from Columbia, Naturally.


  1. "Columbia, Naturally" is a great addition to the local blog-o-sphere. Informative, smart, and well-written. Thanks for the tip, Carole.

  2. Welcome new blogs! The level of interest in all-things-Hudson demonstrates that there's room for all.

    As to the question "what makes for a weed?" I'd offer a somewhat newer distinction than the notoriously non-naturalist Emerson could have foreseen (just ask Thoreau!).

    The contest between native and non-native species begs questions about native virtues that are often lost when they are replaced by more aggressive or adaptable non-native species.

    Sometimes the latter are more adaptable in new places because they don't encounter the evolutionary pressures they would have in their endemic habitats.

    Sometimes the strategies they adapted in their places of origin become out-and-out aggressive elsewhere, such as the toxins that are distributed throughout the cells of non-native sycamores which thrive so well in big metropolises.

    I don't mean to harm the sentiment that we all feel for some of these species (personally I'm particular to the alien Greater Celandine, and even starlings!), but these sentiments should not advise our management strategies.

    Recall that the starling was introduced over a century ago by a wealthy Manhattan socialite who believed that every bird mentioned by Shakespeare should be found in North America!

    That was a wildlife management decision, and a pretty poor one at that.

    It's an important discussion to have before we discuss what kinds of trees we'd like to see here.

    In the City of Hudson, citizens are already working with the state to make an end-run around our established grant-writers, who are a product and a part-and-parcel of the Old Boy Network.

    It's time to retire these bad old structures, to move right around the problematic Hudson Development Corporation, and to take our city back and force our officials to pay attention to the temper of the people and to our interests.

    If we lead, the leaders will eventually follow.

    Trees anyone? Like to join? Please contact me.