Guest Columns

I Still Bleed Ink

Early one Saturday morning back in 1975 found me at the main street newspaper office in Forest City sweeping the front room, when an old farmer wearing faded overalls came through the front door (no keypad, no buzzer, no armed guard) wanting to see the editor.

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Finally, Planting Trees

These past two weeks Kit and I have fretted and fussed about trees. We’ve confessed poor choices and lamented mistakes in the hope of helping you avoid costly problems.

What gets birders really going? A rare bird!

People who are “into birding” are excited when they see a new bird for the first time. Many keep “life lists” — an account of each different species they have actually seen worldwide…

The Power of Patents

The United States patent system was created to promote innovation and economic growth, and provides exclusivity for those who expend resources and capital in an effort to develop and provide novel products and services.

A Wingman’s Farewell

Perhaps you’ve seen him — this happy man zipping along the streets of Southern Village, his recumbent trike low and fast — a jaunty multi-colored pennant bobbing merrily in his windy wake.

How to Kill a Tree

These are good days to plant trees. You can do it right or you can lay a trap for future generations. Last week Kit shared some of her misadventures with trees;

A Parking Deck’s Impact on Cobb Terrace

The undersigned residents of Cobb Terrace wish to register their strong objection to the direct connection from the north side of the proposed parking deck to North Street for cars entering and leaving the deck.

A Beautiful Garden of Art

Welcome to the world of The North Carolina Botanical Garden where garden design, horticulture, education, and the arts interplay to inspire and enlighten visitors from across the globe.

What a New Parking Deck Will Mean for Chapel Hill

Over the past 10 months, the Chapel Hill Town Council has been discussing proposed redevelopment along East Rosemary Street that would include construction of a parking deck by the town and development of a new 200,000+ square foot office/research building by Grubb Properties.

Trading (Parking) Places

Anyone who has played Monopoly understands you don’t trade Park Place to the player who owns Boardwalk in exchange for Tennessee and New York avenues, especially if you don’t already own St. James Place.

In Praise of Losers and Suckers

Up until now, in this space I have avoided the temptation to say anything even vaguely political; but herein, I succumb. The latest outrage over service members being called “losers and suckers” is my tipping point.

Misadventures with Trees

“Let’s write about trees,” Lise e-mailed me. I groaned. You see, as a gardener, I have a love-hate relationship with trees. My reply to Lise was this: “Okay, I’ll write about the trees I have lost and you can write about…

Carrboro, North Carolina

Carr Mill Mall, in the heart of Carrboro, NC, was named for Julian Carr. The mall was a former cotton mill.

Why Do You Garden?

Every garden has to have an aim attached to it, otherwise it simply doesn’t make sense. A garden is more than just a conglomeration of plants.

On the Unintended Power of the Snapshot

Maybe you can’t hug a photograph — as “Data,” played by Jonathan Ke Quan, the adorable inventor kid, tells his father in the ‘80s classic feel-good film, “The Goonies.”

Get Out and Give Back

For those of us who call Orange County home – and there are a lot of us, from natives and transplants to students and retirees – it’s time to take stock of how much our community has done for us and to think about how we can give back during this critical economic recession.

A Tale of a Japanese Maple

When I first saw the Japanese maple, Acer palmatum Mikawa yatsubusa, it literally stopped me in my tracks as I’d never seen anything like it. Now Japanese maples are commonly found everywhere, primarily for two reasons: (1) They are lovely…

Confessions of a Former Hoarder

I love stuff. Old stuff — books, hats, cameras, typewriters, photographs, magazines, tools, odd-shaped rocks, broken mugs full of pens that I haven’t used in years.

Forgetting the Idiot Check

The Idiot Check. I forgot to do the Idiot Check. So, that makes — guess who — the idiot. It’s a vital travel tactic I learned from my rocker son, Jon, who taught me how after each gig…

When is a Bulb Not a Bulb?

Recently a garden group asked me to give a presentation on bulbs. When I replied that I really was a perennial gardener, rather than a bulb gardener, the chairman replied, “But you like to do research.”

Dear Tourists: We Have Missed You

From the energy you bring to our streets, to the sound of the applause greeting a local performance of music, dance or sport – we miss you. We miss your laughter…

Planting for Hummers

If you’ve been spending time walking in natural areas or visiting parks like the NC Botanical Garden, have you noticed an increase in the number of hummingbirds that are around? The female birds have raised their young and they, the adult males with beautiful red gorgets (throats) and young…

Fighting Inequality, One Baked Good at a Time

If you’d asked me or my friend Shiny last year what our plans for this summer would be, we might’ve said traveling perhaps, maybe an internship somewhere. We certainly wouldn’t have told you that we’d be biking around Chapel Hill every day with a basket full of buns and cookies.

Change in the Weather

Soon, the weather will transition from one season to the next. It’s too hot outside to be enjoying your fall garden, but it is time to start counting the days — counting backward that is. The successful fall gardener starts with the date of the first predicted freeze, calculating backwards from there.

A Little Good News

In this political and cultural inflection point in which we find ourselves as a nation, it is gratifying to be able to bring to our community “a little good news today.”