Beth Botts, Squirrels, Christmas Trees and more

December 12, 2010

Let’s show some love for today’s host…Beth Botts!

I’m taking the day off. Actually, that’s only partially true. I’m taking the day off from radio but not from work. Sunday morning, in the middle of what is predicted to be a snow storm (whaddaya say, Rick DiMaio?) I’ll be appearing with my caroling group, The Frozen Robins at the Wonderland Express exhibit a the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Meanwhile, our “tribute” to Rahm Emanuel and the holiday season, “Oh Rahm, O Rahm Emanuel”, continues rolling along on YouTube. We’re somewhere near 700 views and climbing. If you get a chance, link to the video and pass it along to friends. We’ll see how far we can ride this pony.

At this point, I’m turning the proceedings over to Ms. Botts…and the irrepressible Heather Frey. Beth wrote the following piece for her own blogsite, “Growing In Chicago.” You can read about her guest hosting gig there (which will make her happy, I’m sure) or below. I’m a little honked off because I wanted to cover the Project Squirrel story. Doesn’t everybody? But she beat me to it fair and square. So she better come up with some good advice for keeping those characters out of my garden. I’ll be checking out the podcast, missy!

Take it away, Beth:

On the radio: Houseplants, squirrels and Christmas trees

We’ll talk about winter houseplant care with Jean Bragdon from Lurvey’s . Shawn Kingzette from The Care of Trees (I know, he seems to be on about every other week, but he’s sucker enough to keep getting up early on Sunday morning) will chat about the practicalities of live Christmas trees.

And we’ll talk about squirrels, and studying squirrels, and helping scientists study squirrels, and yes, keeping squirrels from eating your crocus bulbs, with Steve Sullivan , curator of urban ecology at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park.

Steve runs Project Squirrel, which enlists kids and other members of the public, such as, for instance, you, to collect data on the competing populations of gray and fox squirrels in northeastern Illinois.

It’s one of a number of “citizen science” programs in our area, including Project BudBurst , Monarch Watch and — my personal favorite, simply because I have never met anyone who can pronounce the perversely unforgettable acronym — CoCoRaH. Call it Wikipedia for weather geeks, only probably more reliable.

Resourceful producer Heather Frey will be there to handle all the technical radio stuff and bail me out of whatever trouble I get into. We’ll try to get to a garden question or two. It won’t exactly be Glenn Beck, but isn’t that a good thing?

Got a garden question? I recommend you call or e-mail the Plant Clinic of The Morton Arboretum in Lisle , the Master Gardeners of the University of Illinois Extension or the Plant Information Service of the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe.