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When Anthony Planakis was going through the New York Police Academy, they told him to write his interests down on a little card.

"Beekeeping, of course I put that down," says 54-year-old Planakis, who is a fourth generation beekeeper. "And the very first job, the sergeant comes right up to me and I just look up and go, 'Hey, Sarge,' and he goes, 'Bees?' and I go, 'Yeah, where?' 'Harlem.' And I go, 'Cool.' That was it, that was the first job I handled," he says.

Washington lawmakers are about to go into an overtime session because they can’t reach a budget deal. But Wednesday another issue briefly took center stage in the Republican-led Senate budget committee: dandelions.

Marine veteran Jack Kegley and UW Assistant Professor Jeremy Watson enjoy the new healing garden built by UW students.
KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

A dull empty space outside Puget Sound VA’s emergency room has been transformed into a serene space for sitting.

Flowers generate weak electric fields, and a new study shows that bumblebees can actually sense those electric fields using the tiny hairs on their fuzzy little bodies.

"The bumblebees can feel that hair bend and use that feeling to tell the difference between flowers," says Gregory Sutton, a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.

At London's annual Chelsea Flower Show, the flora is fit for a queen: shaped in her likeness and crafted in honor of her 90th birthday. The new princess has her own chrysanthemum too.

But this year's event, which opens Tuesday, kicks off with a warning from the Royal Horticultural Society: Britain has a "lost generation of gardeners."

In Florida, homeowners have a propensity for landscaping. They take great pride in the green carpet of grass in front of their homes. But one Florida man is working on a project that's turning his neighbors' lawns into working farms.

Chris Castro has an obsession — turning the perfectly manicured lawns in his Orlando neighborhood into mini-farms.

"The amount of interest in Orlando is incredibly surprising," Castro says.

A leading brand of home and garden pest-control products says it will stop using a class of pesticides linked to the decline of bees.

Ortho, part of the Miracle-Gro family, says the decision to drop the use of the chemicals — called neonicotinoids, or neonics for short — comes after considering the range of possible threats to bees and other pollinators.

"While agencies in the U.S. are still evaluating the overall impact of neonics on pollinator populations, it's time for Ortho to move on," says Tim Martin, the general manager of the Ortho Brand.

An example of Seattle's Pollinator Pathway.
Pollinatorpathway.com

Sarah Bergmann was working at a New York ad agency when she heard about the decline in honeybee populations. The agency was working on a campaign to raise awareness of the honeybee, Bergmann says.

"The more I read, the more I realized the honeybee is actually a symptom," she says.

Flickr Photo/Alden Chadwick (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks to Edible Seattle editor Tara Austen Weaver about her new memoir, "Orchard House." 

Spring planting season is coming early this year for a lot of home gardeners. And this year some Pacific Northwest nurseries are getting familiar with the flavors of the Caribbean.

A Western Oregon mail order company has begun selling what might become the No. 1 conversation starter of Northwest garden parties this summer.

Everything in Alaska is a little bit bigger — even the produce. A 138-pound cabbage, 65-pound cantaloupe and 35-pound broccoli are just a few of the monsters that have sprung forth from Alaska's soil in recent years.

At the annual Alaska State Fair, which opens Thursday in Palmer, the public will have the chance to gawk at giants like these as they're weighed for competition.

courtesy, the author

The first thing you notice about Marty Wingate’s cozy North Seattle home is the garden. Plants overflow from the steep slope that leads up from the street to her front door. You see blooms of every hue, leaves of every shape, even small trees. The sheer multitude of flora is almost overwhelming.

When searching for ingredients to cook with, Irish chef Darina Allen sometimes has only to make a short trip — to her yard. There, she's sure to find a constellation of bright yellow dandelion flowers.

"Where other people see weeds, I see dinner!" she says.

Allen's the founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School and an advocate of organic farming. She says that with a quick transplant from the yard to the kitchen, the humble dandelion might shed its bad rap.

Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

Washington farmers can expect longer growing seasons, drier summers and increased risk of disease and pest outbreaks, according to some of the predictions in the National Climate Assessment released Tuesday.

Nate Watters

In dense, concrete-locked urban areas like Seattle space for gardening is hard to come by. After all, this is a city where land is so valuable that people spend an average of $346 per square foot on their homes.

Flickr Photo/sea turtle

Marcie Sillman talks with garden writer Marty Wingate about winter planting.

An Oregon lawmaker is looking to restrict household use of four common pesticides that pose risks to bees.

Rep. Jeff Reardon, D-Portland, says given the toxicity of certain pesticides and their track record for killing bees, untrained home gardeners shouldn't be allowed to use them.

Some causes just seem hopeless some days. Like world peace. Or ending poverty. Or in a different vein, getting rid of non-native plants.

KUOW Photo/Marcie Sillman and Marty Wingate courtesy photo.

Seattle gardener Marty Wingate loves the Pacific Coast iris: it's a native plant, so it doesn't require summer watering, it has a nice grassy look and it thrives in partial shade.

Flickr Photo/Erik Torner

FDA To Regulate Imported Food
Imported foods have long avoided regulation by the Federal Drug Administration. That should all come to and end soon. The FDA has proposed a set of standards to ensure that food imported into the United States complies with standards met by American farms and food-processing plants. Personal injury and products liability attorney Bill Marler explains what the changes mean.

A New Day At The NCAA?
As we head into August, college football fans are rolling out their school colors. The University of Washington Huskies play their first game on August 31. The WSU Cougars play at Auburn on that same day. The anticipation is building for college football but things might soon be different. Sportswriter Art Thiel explains what could be changing as the organization governing college sports undergoes a potential sea change.

Greendays Gardening
Our expert gardening panel knows flowers, native plants and vegetables. Have a question? They offer guidance for your garden every Tuesday. Email your question to Weekday.

Flickr Photo/Lindsey Turner

Understanding The Vitamin Myth
There is often contradictory information about the health benefits of vitamins and supplements: take them, don’t take them, low vitamin D is tied to aging, Omega-3 might cause cancer. So how do doctors and nutritionists cipher through the different information to provide the best advice to patients? Dr. Calvin Kwan, clinical resident at Bastyr Center for Natural Health, and Mary Purdy, a registered dietitian with Seattle Healing Arts Center, explain when vitamins are and are not effective.

Composer Lawrence Dillion
The Seattle Chamber Music Society Summer Festival wraps up its 32nd season of performances in Benaroya Hall this week. Since 2007 the Society has premiered new pieces of chamber music through the efforts of its commissioning club. Club members pool together money to support the creation of work by leading American composers. This year’s piece, by composer Lawrence Dillon, premiered at the summer festival in Seattle on July 8. The composition “Sanctuary” is a musical musing for piano, horn and strings on the many meanings of the word. Dillon earned a doctorate in composition  from Juilliard in 1985. He was the youngest composer in the school’s  history ever to do so.  Dillon speaks with KUOW's Dave Beck and we'll hear recorded excerpts  from the premiere of “Sanctuary.”

Greendays Gardening
Our gardening panel includes a flower expert, native plant expert, and vegetable gardening expert. They answer your gardening questions every Tuesday.   

Greendays Gardening Panel

Jun 25, 2013
Flickr Photo/Judy van der Velden

Study Finds Improvement Among Nation's Charter Schools
A new study out of Stanford University shows charter schools across the country are both attracting more students and, in some cases, doing a better job of educating them than public schools. We talk with study leader Dr. Margaret Raymond of Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes. 

Seattle Times Tries To Help Solve a Mystery
If you read the Seattle Times, on Sunday you might have noticed a front-page story about a mystery woman who died in 2010. It turns out not even her husband knew her true identity. Investigators are still trying to figure out who she was, and the Seattle Times is asking its readers to help. We talk with reporter Maureen O’Hagan.

Greendays Gardening
Our gardening panel includes a flower expert, native plant expert and vegetable gardening expert. They answer your gardening questions every Tuesday.

Phantom Rouge / Flickr

If you’ve been working in the garden lately, or have taken a trip down to the basement, you’ve probably encountered a few spiders. Maybe you’ve even wondered if you’re in danger of being bitten by a brown recluse spider, whose venom can be toxic. A Washington State University entomologist says odds are you probably won’t run into one, at least not in the Pacific Northwest.

Interfaith Amigos
Flickr Photo/University of Denver

 State To Seattle Public Schools: Fix Problems In Special Ed
Seattle Public Schools receive $11 million per year from the federal government designated for special education. The district is now in a danger of losing that money if they don’t fix a number of problems identified by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The mandate came down last week. Where is Seattle Public Schools’ special ed program falling short? And what solutions are the state proposing? We’ll get some answers this morning from education reporter Ann Dornfeld.

The Interfaith Amigos On Religious Practices That Could Benefit The Non-Religious
Many people in our region are religious, and many are not. The Interfaith Amigos share the teachings, meditations and practices from their religious traditions that would be a positive addition to all of our lives, even the non-religious.

Greendays Gardening Panel
Our gardening panel includes a flower expert, native plant expert and vegetable gardening expert. They answer your gardening questions every Tuesday.   

Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers
Washington’s 5th Congressional District Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers joins us to talk about transportation priorities following the Skagit River Bridge collapse, federal budget talks, immigration reform and more.

Scatter, Adapt And Remember: How Humans Will Survive A Mass Extinction
Science writer Annalee Newitz’s new book is about hope. Hope that human kind will be able to survive the impending doom that threatens to send us into another mass extinction. Newitz outlines the current scientific discoveries that might help humans survive the next big disaster.

Greendays Gardening Panel
Our panel of gardening experts knows flowers, native plants and vegetables. They join us with garden guidance every Tuesday. Have a question? Send an email to weekday@kuow.org.

Interfaith Amigos
Flickr Photo/University of Denver

 The Interfaith Amigos On The Role Of Doubt In Faith
Doubt is often part of religion. People often question the who, what, why and how of faith. The Interfaith Amigos share their thoughts and the personal doubts they’ve experienced.  

Greendays Gardening Panel
Our gardening panel includes a flower expert, native plant expert, and vegetable gardening expert.  They answer your gardening questions every Tuesday.   

Bellevue SWAT, Japanese Farm Food, And Greendays Gardening

Apr 23, 2013
Flickr Photo/Steve Wilson

Bellevue’s SWAT Team Comes To A Seattle Neighborhood
Columbia City residents heard Monday night from Seattle and Bellevue officials about a shooting involving Bellevue police that happened in Seattle late last month. According to KUOW’s Patricia Murphy, the Seattle Police Department is investigating the incident.

Japanese Farm Food
Nancy Singleton Hachisu moved from California to Japan intending to stay a year. Instead she fell in love with the culture, the food and a local farmer. Now — many years and three kids later — she lives on an organic farm in an 80-year-old traditional Japanese farmhouse. She writes about life, love and food in her cookbook "Japanese Farm Food."

Greendays Gardening Panel
Gardening is not just growing vegetables, pruning ornamentals or planting natives. Modern organic gardeners are trying to incorporate practices and aestheticism that works in any kind of garden. Our gardening panel is just the group to bring the ideas together this week and every week on KUOW. They answer your gardening questions live at 10:40 a.m. Call 206.543.5869 or email weekday@kuow.org.

Theologian Jim Wallis: Restore Faith In The Common Good

Apr 16, 2013
On God's Side
Courtesy/Brazos Press

Progressive theologian Jim Wallis thinks America needs to reacquaint itself with the notion of the “the common good." He says that means protecting the poor, fostering civil discourse, building economic trust and faith in democracy and working together to create healthier families and lifestyles.

He writes: “People were made for family, community, and human flourishing, not consumerism, materialism, addiction, and empty overwork.” Jim Wallis is editor-in-chief of Sojourners magazine. He joins us to discuss his latest book, "On God’s Side: What Religion Forgets and Politics Hasn’t Learned about Serving the Common Good."

Greendays Gardening: Pledge Drive Edition

Apr 2, 2013

What a beautiful weekend we just had! Did you start a gardening project, do some weeding, or walk the neighborhood and get new ideas? Our gardening experts Greg Rabourn, Marty Wingate and Lisa Taylor join us to answer your questions at 206.543.5869. Show your appreciation for their expertise and become a member of KUOW at 206.543.9595. 

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