What this blog means to me… I’ve been writing/illustrating this blog for four years now. Why?

The majority of science communication work is by scientists, for scientists. The explicit goal of my work is the cultural integration of science into daily life. Science impacts everything that we interact with, foods, medicines, gardens, the materials in our buildings, shampoo. There’s really no facet of our modern existence that isn’t improved by a better understanding of how the things around us work.

I create this work to draw attention to some of those things.

This blog started as me just sharing my sketchbook. Some days it is still that, but more often than not I find myself designing much more elaborate content. Writing, editing, researching, conducting interviews, designing whole story lines and then coming up with illustrations to accompany it. That takes a lot more time then just keeping a sketchbook.

The science communication work that I’d like to do next is even more involved. I’d like to be producing videos. In fact, me and a few science writers wrote a script for a web series and as the producer I’m trying to come up with financing for the first season.

I’m hoping that the same people who enjoy these sketches (and many more) will come to enjoy the story that we have written. Part of why I’ve continued this sketchbook project is in support of the upcoming film project. So share this work, share it a lot. Tell all of your friends. Visit often and hopefully as a community we can, for the love of science and art, create something funny and informative together.

bottlebrush

Bottle Brush (Callistemon) is another high drought tolerance ornamental plant, this one is brought in from Australia.

Drought tolerant gardening

art le ague garden

This is a Leucadendron (Proteacea) probably Leucadendron discolor or a closely related hybrid. It’s a South African plant, growing in a Californian garden as a drought tolerant species. I found this one in the garden outside the Santa Cruz Art League (http://www.scal.org). With increasing drought here in California, gardeners are choosing pretty drought tolerant plants. Native Californian species are of course best for wildlife, but Australian and South African species do here as well. There is a good collection of them grouped by region at the UCSC Arboretum ( http://arboretum.ucsc.edu), if you want to see the options. They also often sell plants as well, so stop by the gift shop on your way out.

covercrop

Cover cropping is a method of managing soil health, it fixes nitrogen in a biologically active form, adds biomass to the soil, reduces pests and weeds. You alternate your vegetable crops, with often in the winter, vetch and grains. In the spring right when it starts to flower you cut it up and till it into the soil. It’s all around a good agricultural practice. This is just my second year cover cropping my community garden plot. The first five years I was too tempted by the mild California weather, I planted vegetables year round. Each year, despite adding compost, my plants got smaller and smaller. My garden mates who cover cropped got these huge bumper crops that made me jealous (and kinda amazed). So, now I cover crop. This is some of the blooming Vicia faba, its really very beautiful.

Bell Bean
(http://ucanr.org/sites/asi/db/covercrops.cfm?crop_id=5)