I belatedly report that the Salvia in the side garden called "Point Sal Spreader" had its first blooms the day before yesterday, on April 5. This has been a tough, reliable bloomer getting by with very little supplemental watering. "Point Sal Spreader" bloomed on April 4 in 2009, March 20 in 2010, and April 11 in 2011, thus calculating years of 350 days, 387 days, and 371 days.
Kenneth R. Miller's Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul (Penguin 2008) is a short book (221 pages) but it seems to me an important one. Miller puts into historical perspective the ongoing work by the religiously devout to malign evolution, with particular emphasis on the insidious effects of the switch in terminology from "scientific creationism" to "intelligent design," which, he argues persuasively, attempts not simply to deny the fact of evolution but to discredit scientific thinking in its entirety. While Miller neatly dismantles the main ideas advocates of "intelligent design" use to back their thinking, that is not his primary aim. He is more concerned with raising alarm bells to alert us to the danger "intelligent design" poses to the tradition of skeptical, critical thinking that has long underpinned the advance of science. Concise, clear, convincing. Highly recommended.
A beautiful halo of light around the moon tonight. Sometimes called a "glory," these rings of diffuse light are caused by ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. I've seen a similar phenomenon (from above, in an airplane) on the surface of a cloud layer, created by the sun--in which case the sun produces a bright halo around the shadow of the aircraft. Somewhat different, but much the same effect.
First blooms today on the apple tree at the back of the garden. Our tree is the variety called "Pink Lady." Tasty, but usually worm-eaten by the time we get to them..... First blooms today also on the small yellow and brick-red species tulips under the "Flavor King" pluot tree, Tulipa clusiana. These flowers look red when closed, but open on sunny spring days to reveal deep lemon yellow centers. The apple tree bloomed on March 23 in 2009, March 30 in 2010, and March 29 in 2011, calculating years of 372 days, 364 days, and 368 days, averaging to 368 days. The yellow tulips bloomed on April 4 in 2011 and on March 16 in 2010.
The first leaves opened yesterday (March 31) on the Sangiovese vines. Still none on the Cabernet vines, but the buds are swollen. The Sangiovese is usually about 10 days to a week ahead of the Cabernet.