Sassy Sassafras

“The world is exploding in emerald, sage, and lusty chartreuse – neon green with so much yellow in it. It is an explosive green that, if one could watch it moment by moment throughout the day, would grow in every dimension.”
― Amy Seidl, Early Spring: An Ecologist and Her Children Wake to a Warming World

Spring Sassafras Leaf Display With Three Different Leaf Shapes

Sassafras albidum  is a native, deciduous, aromatic tree with a very unusual characteristic-it has three different leaf shapes..   The new leaves in the above photo show all three shapes. They resemble  turkey foot, mitten and football shapes. All parts of the tree are very aromatic. Pull up a seedling and smell the roots-root beer!  Learn more about this unique tree at the following link.

Sassafras Albidum

Spring Wardrobes

“The seventeenth of March. In other words, spring. Desmond, people who think themselves smart, I mean those in the height of fashion, women or men – can they afford to wait any longer before buying their spring wardrobes?”
― Colette, Cheri and The Last of Cheri

Tender,  new leaves of the satsuma tree provide perfect sites for the deposit of giant swallowtail eggs. Upon hatching, giant swallowtail caterpillars begin  consuming the leaves. Thanks, Mom! 

Giant Swallowtail in Spring Finery

The winners in any spring wardrobe contest  would surely be butterflies.  Giant Swallowtails  are on the runways  in South Mobile County now.  Work it girls!

Garden Gambles

One of the healthiest ways to gamble is with a spade and a package of garden seeds. ~Dan Bennett

Gambling in the garden can appear in various ways. One very frustrating way comes in the form of  battle with garden pests.  Gardeners wanting to avoid environmentally harmful pesticides, must decide if the battle if worth the effort. An example is a breakfast favorite, strawberries-sweet,  juicy containers of vitamin C.   Much to the consternation of many backyard gardeners, slugs and snails beat the masters of the spade in the race for the luscious benefits.  The following link gives advice to those with bellicose tendencies. Onward to  battle!

Slug and Snail Control Resource


Changing the World

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

A or B    Which choice is the earth friendly choice?

Small groups of citizens across Mobile County are taking responsibility for their communities by forming teams to make their neighborhoods greener, cleaner and more beautiful places to live.  They are verifying Ms. Mead’s statement,  by changing the world, one neighborhood at a time.   The  Love Your Community program, a collaborative effort of County Commissioner, Connie Hudson and Keep Mobile Beautiful, Inc.,  can help groups start improving their neighborhoods by providing tools and supplies for cleanup activities.  Click on the link below to get started.

Love Your Community  


The generosity of the Gulf Coast  Resource and Conservation Development Council,  has provided grant funding to allow the six sets of  illustrations demonstrating individual choices that make our  community a greener, cleaner and more beautiful  place to live,  to be made into posters for use in Mobile County school and community presentations.  Learn more about the contributions the Gulf Coast RC&D makes to the South Alabama gulf coast region at  the following link.   GCRC&D


Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
-George Bernard Shaw

A or B   Which will you choose?

One time use plastic products are not earth friendly choices. Plastic straws find their way into  waterways, bays, and the Gulf of Mexico, becoming threats to wildlife.  Avoiding the use of plastic straws or using paper straws are better choices.



“The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.”
—Gaylord Nelson

A or B   Which will you choose?

Fiber choices have an effect upon the planet. 70% of microplastics polluting the air, water and the land are synthetic fibers made from petrochemicals.   Plastic degrades into microplastic particles entering the food streams of aquatic life, wildlife, and human beings.   Microplastic fibers float into the air,  as synthetic materials are abraded,  and enter water systems when synthetic materials are laundered. Choosing natural fibers such as cotton, flax, and wool having the ability to decompose, are earth friendly choices.


Hiking Discoveries

“I am Falling in love again with autumn,
The smell of warm cider,
The orange color leaves,
Pumpkins everywhere
and the crisp breeze,
People walking or riding their bikes,
Folks jogging or going on hikes,
I love autumn for many reasons and
I’m pleased to admit- this is my favorite season”
― Charmaine J Forde

An autumn hike may allow one to discover native plants unfamiliar to many suburban dwellers. The above plant, Phytolacca americana, is very familiar to birds, consuming the purple berries.  However, this plant should be avoided by human beings and other mammals. All parts of the plant are toxic. Commonly called pokeberry, pokeweed, poke sallet, poke salad, and polk salad, the leaves of this native plant  have been consumed  by human beings, through a boil and drain process. But, a far safer method to eat greens  is to buy  them from the local market. Hikers should enjoy the shiny purple berries from a distance,  keeping pets and children away from this toxic plant.

Learn more about this native plant at the following link.  Wikipedia

Autumn on Flat Creek

“It is autumn on tip-toe that silently walks the hills and treads the forested expanses, gracing in each step a billion leaves in a chorus of colors so brilliantly ingenious that a thousand museums or more could not hold the artistry because a thousand artists or more will never possess the talent to produce what autumn effortlessly creates.” ― Craig D. Lounsbrough

Even a small alligator in the backwoods of Monroe County appreciates the beauty of autumn foliage.  Look at that smile! Now is the time to “tread the forested expanses” and drink in the beauty of an autumn day.

Gold on the Ground

“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.”
― Jim Bishop



NEVER, NEVER, NEVER burn one of nature’s best resources – pine straw!  Pine straw  should be used for mulching garden beds. Azaleas, blueberries, camellias and other acid loving plants will appreciate your efforts.  Autumn is a great time to train little gardeners  about the BMPs of gardening.  Collect the “gold” on the ground.