RI Outdoors: Bulbs Below, Bright Night Skies Above
Now That's Star Power!
The Litchfield Hills Amateur Astronomy Club hosts 11 “Star Parties” each year at The White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield, Conn. As is always the case, a lecture/slide-based program is only half the appeal. An additional hour to 1-1/2 hours is spent outside observing the heavens. The Astronomy Club is a member of the NASA Night Sky Network and eagerly shares its findings with the audience through printed information and hands-on demonstrations. The March program centers on the supernova — a star that increases greatly in brightness because of a catastrophic explosion that propels most of its mass into space. Our solar system may have been triggered by just such an explosion. But enough of the abstract. You won’t observe any supernovas in the sky at this Star Party, but you're apt to see the Pleiades, Sirius: The Dog Star, Castor and Pollux (the twin stars in Gemini), and the beautiful stars of Orion including Betelgeuse — a red star the size of the orbit of Mars. It too, is on the verge of exploding, but not for the next two million years. Astronomy club members will bring their telescopes for visitors to use. You can bring yours, too, or binoculars.
Friday, March 22, 7 p.m.
White Memorial Conservation Center
80 Whitehall Rd., Litchfield, CT
A South African Flower Show
The slightly warm, slightly damp atmosphere of the Berkshire Botanical Garden’s greenhouse is the closest we will come to inhaling the fragrance of warming earth — at least for the next couple of weeks. It’s a smell we all crave this time of year so the timing for The Bulb Show couldn’t be better. With careful planning, BBG’s horticulturalists have staged blossoms to open throughout the three week event. In addition to specimens of our well-known hardy bulbs — narcissus, daffodils, tulips, etc. — there will be rarely seen blooms native to South Africa. The bi-color Cobra Lily, for example, and the Tulipa Brownie, described by Director of Horticulture Dorthe Hviid as a double tulip “the color of hazelnut gelato.” “My favorite,” she adds, “is the Tulipa praestans ‘Shogun.’ It’s a very bright warm orange/red with black stamens. It’s not very tall, but when you look into it, it’s like a little fireplace. It warms your heart.” Inhale a much-craved early breath of spring while wandering among the blooms. Then come back next October to buy the rare bulbs during their harvest sale.
The Bulb Show
Through March 29
Berkshire Botanical Garden
5 W. Stockbridge Rd., Stockbridge, MA
More to do in the great outdoors:
March 16: Introduction to Backyard Beekeeping, Berkshire Botanical Garden, Stockbridge, MA
March 16: Bare Naked Beauty: Woody Plants in Winter, Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, Lenox, MA
March 16: Audubon Sharon MapleFest & Bake Sale, Sharon, CT
March 16: Moonlight Ski Wine & Cheese, Notchview, Windsor, MA
March 16: Maple Sugaring Tour, Farm at Miller’s Crossing, Hudson, NY
March 23: March Along the Pine Island Trail & Little Pond Boardwalk, White Memorial Conservation Center, Litchfield, CT
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