• Ingo Wölbern
  • Don’t burn that papyrus! They’re perfectly good tampons!

I’ve been in Berkeley, California, all this week. Plants and flowers proliferate. Streets are big gardens made of smaller gardens; the sidewalks sprout flowering things from fractures caused by nearby roots. Even the gutters grow. Way up in the Berkeley Hills near Grizzly Peak, where I am lucky enough to be staying, you can walk a few blocks to the nearest bus stop and pass raspberry and blackberry bushes, and lemon, orange, pear, plum, and apple trees. Lavender, tarragon, mint, rosemary, sage, and thyme spring up almost at random. Then there are the flowers: bleeding hearts, pink flowering currants, drooping pink foxglove, purple lilac, yellow geraniums, fuzzy blush-brush flowers with long and floppy pine-needle finger-shaped leaves. Oh, and redwoods grow in people’s backyards.


I thought nothing could be better suited to Botany Week than a post about California horticulture. That—plus two camping trips into coastal redwood forests—provides for plenty of material. But then I received an e-mail from my mother about Softcups (“Have you heard of these?  My co-worker uses them and says they’re great. Love Mom”). I thought about what menstrual solutions were available to women before the Internet.