ASLE 2013 – and I’d never been to Kansas

Bricks, Lawrence KSI arrived on the heels of a big thunderstorm that flooded basements and washed the place clean before disappearing off to neighbouring states. The air is still heavy with heat and humidity, and more storms are forecast but so far we’ve been lucky.

I flew into Kansas City, MO, which is across the Kansas River from Kansas City, KS, more or less. The Missouri River is also involved in ways I have yet to become clear on. Anyway I left that puzzle behind me and was whisked off to Lawrence, about 40 miles west, where Kansas University is hosting the tenth biennial ASLE conference, whose theme is Changing Nature: Migrations, Energies, Limits.

I spent Tuesday walking around the neighbourhood I’m staying in, which borders the university, and where there is, happily, no shortage of gardens to gawp at.






A bit of wildlife too. Funny to see the rabbits, not as pretty or numerous as the ones that entertained ASLE 2009. I throw in a gratuitous cat picture because I don’t have cats in my suitcases as often as I used to. And a Jaybird for the sports fans.






Pretty campus, on top of a steep hill which gets steeper during the hottest time of the day. And it has been warm. Not inside where the air conditioning is: there, it’s been very chilly. Never occurred to me to bring winter clothing for the meetings…






And finally, a couple more gardens. I suspect that exams and graduations got the better of the campus garden which does have some lettuce struggling for life against the weeds. But most gardens here suffer the effects of short growing seasons, which are short and powerful: hot sunny weather and lots of rain mean it’s hard to exert much control over what grows where once it starts. The school garden at right seems to be well in someone’s hands though, with the broccoli nearly ready. And that’s where I’ll leave it – more about the conference itself another time.


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