Outdoor space provides a great refuge in the warmer months. A place to unwind, decompress, and forget about general stress for a little while; however, these green spaces can also become host to an unwanted mosquito habitat. Many species of mosquitoes use containers of water as egg-deposit sites, but really any hot, humid environment can lead to unwelcome infestation. The following plants actually act as natural mosquito deterrents, largely due to the smell and essential oils contained in the plants.  more

The Philadelphia Flower Show Moves Outside

By Donald H. Sanborn III | Photo by Rob Cardillo Photogaphy. Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

The annual Philadelphia Flower Show will be presented outside for the first time. The 2021 event, “Habitat: Nature’s Masterpiece,” will take place June 5-13 at Philadelphia’s Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Park, which will enable it to occupy 15 acres.

In a blog post for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) website, “The 2021 Philadelphia Flower Show: Five Reasons You Won’t Want to Miss It!,” Communications Manager Marion McParland notes that the 348-acre FDR Park, which opened in 1914 as League Island Park, is “a registered historical district … designed by the Olmsted Brothers company [landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. and John Charles Olmsted] in the early 20th century. Created with the park’s natural features as the canvas, paths were carved out of tidal marshes, through gentle hills and around huge shade trees, with Meadow Lake as the centerpiece.”

A PHS press release promises that the Flower Show’s move to the outdoor venue “will allow for new creative expression and horticultural displays as well as social distancing and the health benefits of being outside.” The release notes, “This departure from the show’s typical late winter timing is in response to the pandemic.”

Sam Lemheney, PHS chief of shows and events, recalls that, in March 2020, “We closed down the 2020 show, and a week later the pandemic shut down Philadelphia as well as the rest of the country. So we were very lucky to get our show in.”

This echoes a comment by Patricia Frawley, a past president of the Rutgers Master Gardeners of Mercer County, who has visited “at least 15” iterations of the Philadelphia Flower Show, including the 2020 exhibition. “It couldn’t have been better timing! You look back at such good memories.”

For Frawley the Flower Show represents “a promise of spring, a promise of possibility. It’s usually the first flower show, so it’s the first opportunity to immerse yourself in things that are growing. There are always new ideas, new colors, new everything.”

The Philadelphia Flower Show debuted in June 1829, two years after PHS was founded. It took place at Masonic Hall, on Chestnut Street. In “Yesterday’s Flower Show” (Green Scene, March 2000), Wilbur Zimmerman notes that the inaugural event “featured fruits, vegetables, flowers, and other plants … it was recorded in the minutes that the ‘Brilliant exhibition owes its merit to the individual patronage and contributions of gentlemen amateurs and professional cultivators.’”

America’s involvement in the World Wars caused the show to be canceled; there were no exhibitions in 1917-1918 or 1943-1946. In “Three Centuries of History Lead to Today’s Philadelphia Flower Show” (Montgomery News, February 2015), Dan Sokil observes that during the war years “flowers were luxuries. While flowers continued to be used for weddings, birthday celebrations, and funerals, the number and variety diminished and the floral trades suffered.” more

Princeton women’s lacrosse players Grace Tauckus, Taylor DeGroff, Sam Fish, Ellie Mueller, Meg Curran, and Mary Murphy explore the Grand Canyon.

Princeton University Student-Athletes Benefit from Pods During COVID

By Justin Feil | Photos Courtesy of Princeton University Athletics

Bridget Murphy expected to be a passenger when her mother picked her up from the airport in November, but mistakenly climbed into the car on the driver’s side.

“I got in thinking it was the other side of the car and I just started laughing,” recalls Murphy. “I said, ‘This is going to take some getting used to.’”

The Summit, New Jersey, resident had just returned from Canterbury, England, a town with roughly twice the population of Trenton that attracts thousands of visitors annually to its medieval culture, lively nightlife, and renowned shopping and dining. Murphy lived, studied, and trained in Canterbury with the four other freshmen on the Princeton University field hockey team while they began college remotely during the fall semester. Murphy was nervous to live with people she didn’t know well, but the group clicked instantly upon arrival in August.

“We weren’t forced to do anything together, but we loved doing everything together,” says Murphy. “We spent a lot of time together because we wanted to and because we’re such a close-knit group. This trip really bonded us as a class.”

Murphy reunited with her classmates on campus this spring semester along with most of the enrolled Princeton University students for a more traditional college setting, but over the fall they were not alone in forming their own de facto pod. Princeton University sent all students home in March of 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the school announced that students would not return to campus during the fall 2020 semester due to continued precautions, and the Ivy League canceled all fall and winter sports, groups of Princeton student-athletes buoyed their physical and mental health by living, training, and spending time together throughout the country as well as abroad.

“From being on a huge team that’s been really close, and then not being together all of a sudden for multiple months, I know some guys were struggling at home — whether from a loneliness standpoint or academic standpoint or baseball and taking care of their work for baseball — so to be together was huge,” says Sy Snedeker, a senior baseball player who lived with four teammates in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Student-athletes from across a range of Princeton sports originally tried to organize getting larger groups together in one place. “It sounded a little too good to be true because it was,” says Taylor Beckett, one of Snedeker’s Myrtle Beach housemates. “It’s tough to get dozens to all agree on one place and all move in one direction.” more

Alzheimer’s disease shown on MRI.

New Medical Innovations You May Have Missed

By Taylor Smith

2020 will surely be remembered as a year that rocked the medical, political, social, economic, and cultural world as we know it. While schools, colleges, and traditional work environments were dramatically altered, families around the world were unable to gather to celebrate holidays or visit loved ones.

Of course, all this upheaval and change was incredibly distracting and understandably dominated news headlines. What people may have missed were the medical breakthroughs and advances that occurred beyond the COVID-19 vaccine. Medical researchers and scientific labs took no breaks in 2020. As a result, the past year saw radical improvements in the treatment of heart health, cancer, diabetes, and more.

At the 2020 Medical Innovation Summit, the Cleveland Clinic released its own list of the modern medical breakthroughs of the past year. Leading the list is a novel drug for primary-progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). The FDA-approved therapeutic monoclonal antibody is the first and only MS treatment for the primary-progressive population of patients. In addition, a new universal hepatitis C treatment is proven to be 90 percent effective for hepatitis C genotypes 1-6, which can serve a broader scope of hepatitis C patients. Thirdly, two PARP inhibitors have been found to greatly delay the progression of prostate cancer in men. Approved in May 2020, the PARP inhibitors have shown promise for treating women’s cancers, as well. more

Protesters rally in support of the legalization of marijuana in front of the White House in Washington D.C., in 2016. (Shutterstock.com)

Now legal for recreational use, it’s about to make a big impact in the state

By Donald Gilpin

A coronavirus we hadn’t even heard of fourteen months ago and a president who, at least for now, has moved on dominated the headlines and our consciousness over the past year, but the big story of the year ahead might be a very different issue that promises to provoke some of our deepest concerns and beliefs: cannabis, bringing its far-reaching impact and billion-dollar industry to New Jersey.

With more than two-thirds of New Jersey voters supporting the November 3, 2020 ballot issue to legalize recreational use of cannabis and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on February 22 signing into law the legislation that permits and regulates marijuana use, the state has embarked on the numerous complex steps to create a cannabis industry.

Almost every faction of the state’s population is involved in one way or another, and thousands are eager to weigh in on the determination of who, when, and how the state proceeds in growing, processing, testing, marketing, regulating, selling, and educating the public. 

At stake as New Jersey anticipates the effects of legalization are the future of a potentially huge economic juggernaut for growers, distributors and the state, the development and growth of minority businesses, and nothing less than social justice itself for all.

“This legislation will establish an industry that brings equity and economic opportunity to our communities, while establishing minimum standards for safe products and allowing law enforcement to focus their resources on real public safety matters,” said Murphy in signing the bills. “Today we’re taking a monumental step forward to reduce racial disparities in our criminal justice system, while building a promising new industry and standing on the right side of history. I’d like to thank the legislature, advocates, faith leaders, and community leaders for their dedicated work and partnership on this critical issue.”

Disparities in law enforcement over the years have seen Black New Jersey residents more than three times as likely as white residents to be charged with marijuana possession, despite similar rates of usage.  The recently signed bills, however, decriminalize the use or possession of up to six ounces of marijuana. Marijuana for medical purposes has been legal in the state since 2010, but patients are not allowed to grow their own cannabis. more

Continuing a Family Legacy of Public Service

By Anne Levin

At Princeton Council’s annual reorganization meeting on January 4, 2021, New Jersey Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman enthusiastically administered the oath of office to new Mayor Mark Freda and newly elected Council President Leticia Fraga. Less than 48 hours after the virtual ceremony, the Ewing resident was huddled with more than 100 other lawmakers and staff in a crowded office at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

It was January 6, the day a mob of insurgents roamed the halls stalking members of Congress — Democrats, like Watson Coleman, in particular — in their violent attempt to halt the lawful certification of the presidential election. When she was diagnosed with COVID-19 a few days later, she issued a press release saying she believed she contracted the virus from lawmakers who declined to wear masks during the protective isolation.

Watson Coleman was fortunate. After an infusion of monoclonal antibodies, she experienced mild symptoms and recovered quickly. She rested briefly but was soon back at work, venting her anger in television interviews and an editorial for The Washington Post.

Bonnie Watson Coleman speaking at the 2017 Women’s March in Trenton, New Jersey.

On February 13, when Donald Trump was acquitted by the Senate on an impeachment charge of inciting the insurrection, Watson Coleman was quick to issue a statement: “Republicans have shown, yet again, that they are not actually interested in the rule of law so much as they’re interested in showing fealty to Donald Trump and his dangerous, destructive brand of politics. They have displayed that no amount of reason can break through the stranglehold he has over many of them. It’s time for Democrats to move forward on COVID relief and other important business without them.”

Watson Coleman did just that, hosting a tele-townhall February 25 on COVID vaccine safety and distribution. “My number one priority is crushing this virus,” she said in an interview a few weeks earlier. “We want to make sure everybody has access to the vaccine, and that we eliminate any disparities, and that Biden’s plan is executed.” 

A 76-year-old cancer survivor, Watson Coleman shows no signs of slowing her pace. She is currently serving her fourth term as a U.S. Representative for New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District. She was the first Black woman to represent the state in Congress. She served eight consecutive terms in the New Jersey General Assembly and was the first Black woman to serve as majority leader and as chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee. more

Sylvia Beach standing with author Stephen Vincent Benét in the doorway of the Shakespeare and Company store.

PU Digital Project Explores the Iconic Bookstore’s Influence in Literary History

By Wendy Greenberg| Images courtesy of Shakespeare and Company Project, Princeton University shakespeareandcompany.princeton.edu

It was a place where writers and artists — many of whom were expatriate Americans — met and formed a community of their own. The Shakespeare and Company bookstore in Paris in the 1920s and ’30s was a home to many, a place to replenish the intellect and refresh the spirit, and even a place where mail was delivered. It was where literary luminaries such as Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Archibald MacLeish may have crossed paths.

Shakespeare and Company was the creation of Sylvia Beach, who in 1919 arrived in Paris via Princeton, recognized a market for English language books, and offered encouragement and support to the writers who bought, browsed, and borrowed.

The bookstore closed in 1941, but Princeton University’s digital humanities venture, the Shakespeare and Company Project (shakespeareandcompany.princeton.edu), has brought the iconic shop to life once again.

A meticulous record-keeper, Beach kept addresses, logbooks, and lending cards that show what her lively community was reading between the two World Wars: James Joyce was reading about Oscar Wilde; Simone de Beauvoir was reading Ernest Hemingway; and Hemingway himself was reading about bullfighting. The information originated in the Sylvia Beach papers — 180 boxes in the Department of Special Collections, Manuscripts Division, Princeton University Library.

Besides running a bookstore and lending library for more than a thousand members (the lending library has cards for 653 individuals, but the logbooks reveal many, many more), Beach gained celebrity by publishing James Joyce’s Ulysses in 1922, when it was banned in the United States and England. In tribute to her, the road behind the Princeton Public Library is named Sylvia Beach Way. When she lived in Princeton, Beach resided on Library Place.

 more

By Stuart Mitchner

Green energy! Even though those two words underscore issues like climate change and sustainability, my first thought is of the green energy of poetry, of the “goat-footed balloon man” of e.e. cummings “blowing far and wee when all the world is mud-luscious and puddle-lovely” and of Dylan Thomas’s “force that through the green fuse drives the flower.” From there, primal word-association brings forth comic strip images of the superhero energy of The Green Hornet reincarnated in DC comics’ Green Lantern (“Beware My Power”), which inspires in turn fantasies of Henry David Thoreau as a graphic super hero, the Wizard of Walden, and Melville’s Moby-Dick reduced to the energy-efficient size of a Save the Whale comic book.

In fact, a British graphic artist named Nick Hayes has produced The Rime of the Modern Mariner (Viking), a green redo of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s immortal Rime. In an article on the Sierra Club website (“4 Thought-Provoking Graphic Novels About the Environment”), Chelsea Leu notes that Hayes has the mariner shoot the albatross with a gun rather than a crossbow and uses Coleridge’s “naturalistic ideas to illustrate (literally) the frightening 21st-century environmental issues we face” in a world Hayes calls “detached from consequence.” After killing the albatross, the modern mariner “sees all manner of horrors — a North Pacific drilling barge leaking a ‘glossy thick petroleum slick,’ swaths of polystyrene bobbing in the heart of the North Pacific gyre, and nylon netting in the body of the albatross itself — all rendered in precise but nightmarish line art.” During a “lavishly illustrated dream sequence, the mariner comes to an understanding of his place in nature, a sort of rebirth that has him feeling truly interconnected with life on earth.” Hayes also manages to work in jawbreakers like “polymethyl methacrylate” and “Themisto gaudichaudii,” presumably without undue damage to the original meter and rhyme scheme. Whole pages of “painstakingly detailed” drawing are devoted to a single elegant line of verse, accomplished with art that is “streaky and ragged or simple and clean-cut in all the right places.”

Another graphic adventure is Philippe Squarzoni’s Climate Changed: A Personal Journey Through the Science (Harry N. Abrams), a 480-page novel in images about the author’s quest to educate himself on the basics. As “meticulously researched as it is illustrated,” Climate Changed is, in Leu’s words, “a crash course on the science, explaining everything from how the emissions in our atmosphere contribute to warming to the benefits and pitfalls of our renewable energy options.” A starred review in Publishers Weekly credits Squarzoni for taking on “one of the most important topics of our time” in a form “that is dense but comprehensible, informative and fascinating.”

The other two graphic books on the Sierra Club list are John Muir, Earth – Planet Universe, by Julie Bertagna with illustrations by William Goldsmith, and I’m Not a Plastic Bag by Rachel Hope Allison. more

Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve. (Photo by Jeffrey Tryon)

By Laurie Pellichero

After the cold, snowy winter and so much time spent indoors due to the pandemic, now’s the time to get outside and enjoy nature, hiking, biking, and the wealth of outdoor activities the area has to offer. Here is a sampling of some local favorites that could provide a welcome escape (check websites for safety protocols).

Baldpate Mountain. (Photo by Jeffery Tryon)

Baldpate Mountain

Owned by Mercer County since 1998, Baldpate Mountain off Route 29 in Titusville is the highest point in the county. It is part of the 17-mile Sourland Mountain Ridge, a rich source of outdoor adventures. Baldpate, once known as Kuser Mountain, is home to the Ted Stiles Preserve, which features one of the largest and least disturbed tracts of woodlands in the region with a variety of rare birds and wildlife.

Also on the property is Strawberry Hill Mansion, originally owned by the Kuser family, which overlooks the Delaware River. The Strawberry Hill Native Plant Garden is filled with native wildflowers, shrubs, and trees.

Popular visitor activities at Baldpate Mountain include hiking, mountain biking, jogging, horseback riding on designated trails, and birdwatching. Spring Nature Programs offered by the Mercer County Park Commission include free “Just a Hike” programs at Baldpate on Tuesday, April 13 and Wednesday, April 14 from 1 to 3:30pm. Participants meet at the Flddler’s Creek Road parking lot. Registration is required, visit register.communitypass.net/mercer or call 609.888.3218. Masks and social distancing are mandatory at all in-person programs. more

Don’t miss out on these Easter treats from Dylan’s Candy Bar in Manhattan!

 more

Join the city of Long Branch on April 17 and 18 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the annual Pier Village Kite Festival. This seaside event draws visitors from around the state to watch kite flyers launch their most incredible creations. more

Battleship New Jersey has re-opened for self-guided Fire Power tours on Saturdays and Sundays through October 31, 2021. Tours will be available from 11 a.m. with the last tour departing at 3 p.m. more

Did you know that sleeping under weight is scientifically proven to decrease anxiety and muscular tension while increasing restorative rest?

Naturally calming and wonderfully cuddly, Bearaby’s weighted blankets are made with 100% eco-materials and are hand-knit and filler free. Designed for both kids and adults, these blankets will have you sleeping more soundly and deeply in no time.

 more

Available select dates this spring, Beach Plum Farm will welcome guests for a relaxing four-day getaway in beautiful Cape May. The curated cottage stay includes greenhouse gardening classes, guided nature hikes, a cocktail class with Bluecoat Distillery, a private farm-to-table dinner, and more. more

In honor of Princeton’s annual Pi Day celebrations in commemoration of Albert Einstein’s birthday on March 14th (also known as 3.14, the numeric equivalent of Pi), Terra Momo Bread Company will be offering a unique “to-go” box that celebrates the unique genius of Einstein. more

It’s time to hop to it! Easter falls on April 4, 2021 this year and whether you’re hosting or missing loved ones across the country, The Fruit Company is pleased to present spectacular Easter gift baskets, bursting with fresh fruit, nuts, candies, and other delights.

 more

Image Source: jmclaughlin.com

Shop these bright new arrivals from J.McLaughlin

 more

1920: The Year That Made the Decade Roar

One hundred years later, there is a continued fascination with “The Roaring Twenties,” the only decade in American history with a widely applied nickname. How did a surge of innovation and cultural milestones emerge out of the ashes of WWI? Eric Burns, author of 1920: The Year That Made the Decade Roar, will look back at that critical (and often misunderstood) time, highlighting events that set the tone for the century that followed. more