Saturday, August 17, 2019

Bird of Paradise Ornamental Tree

Several years ago I recognized a seedling that came up in my pasture as a summer blooming, water thrifty small tree. I potted it up and waited until I created a good spot in my garden to plant it. About a year ago I figured out where I wanted it. Even though it was a potted plant that had enough time to create a root ball in the pot, the soil was very loose and planting the little tree did not go as smoothly as it should have for a plant in a pot. It did suffer a fair amount of die back but has come out pretty well this year. It even put out blooms that I have been enjoying for most of the summer.

As I was thinking about writing a blog post about this plant, I realized I really did not know much about it other than having seen it in a few locations where its drought tolerance had been touted. I knew a common
name for the tree was Bird of Paradise. I looked for it in the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower plant database and did not find it. This concerned me because I had always guessed it was a native. Since it did come up as a seedling, when I did not see it listed as a native, I was concerned about its status. I then checked the Texas Invasives database and was relieved to see that it was not listed there. TexasSmartScape lists the plant as being good for North Texas and it listed the scientific name, Caesalpinia gilliesii, so I could do some more research on the
ornamental tree. It turns out the tree is a South American native from Argentina. Even though it has been blooming all summer, it has produced less than a handful of seed pods. Just to be on the safe side, I will be removing any pods that do form to make sure my tree does not spread itself in the local ecosystem.

It is a lovely ornamental tree with lacy, mimosa like green foliage and exotic yellow flowers with crazy, red thread like stamens. It does have very low water requirements and I am glad to have it as part of my garden.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Perfect Match - Research Project Earrings

My music, math and science jewelry and accessories have been created with the hopes that people who geek out over those topics will be able to find things that reflect their passions. A recent purchaser of my helium atom earrings on Etsy shared her reason for her purchase with me. I was so happy with her motivation, I asked if I could share it with my readers. Keep reading to find out her fun story.

Several years ago when I was thinking of things I could design for my EclecticSkeptic Etsy shop for science geeks like me, I had an aha moment for a creative way to turn some of my supplies into a representation of hydrogen atoms. It turns out this design has been popular with both science types who know what they are and people who just like pretty hoop earrings. I expanded my hydrogen atom earring offerings when I found a supplier of similar gold tone hoops and also made a pair using larger hoops. It turns out it was these larger hoops that inspired me to see if I could create representations of helium atoms as well. I had to create a custom supply piece to make it work out, but the bottom line was yes.

So what about the fun story of the purchase? Imagine you are a college student doing a summer research project. You want to be able to subtly share that you are part of this project that involves helium. You search online to find the perfect pair of earrings to tell your story. You find some helium atom earrings and can even choose the color of the protons. Now you will be able to cleverly show your participation in the project as you go about your days at school in the lab and around campus. How cool is that! I love it. I have sold a few pair in person as gifts for people expected to appreciate the chemistry behind the jewelry but this was the first time I knew the story behind the purchase of a pair online.

If you are passionate about science, math or music, check out my sections in my EclecticSkeptic shop. If I do not have quite what you are looking for, drop me a note and I will be happy to see if I can create what you are looking for.