The Banana Tree at Vassar

by Carrie Perkins I chose Vassar College in part for its stunning library. With stained-glass windows, long wooden tables lit by little lamps, and secret passageways, it reminded me a little bit of Hogwarts. Whether camping out with coffee and snacks to study for exams or just curling up with a book on a rainy day, it became my favorite place to study. So it was to my great surprise that I found an even better study spot toward the end of my time at Vassar: the college’s greenhouse. Complete with patio table and chairs, the whisper of misting machines, and the chattering of insects, it gave the library a run for its money. Covering every bench were hundreds of unique and sometimes rare plant

Venus Fly Teacher

by Tony Chang My mom is an incredible plant caretaker—she just knows how to make things grow. She has the ability to pick plants from the wilds of the forest and somehow tame them to flourish as house plants. When my parents divorced, I was five years old. The sudden shift from two parents to one was jolting. I lived with my dad and only saw my mom once every weekend. That shift made me cherish the moments I could spend with my mother. Typically, when we saw each other we would visit the plant nursery together. My mom, being alone, an immigrant, and not speaking much English, found solace and security amongst the docile plants. So, despite not having any interest in plants myself, I tolerate

Plants and Places

by Andrew Hipp "And so, when his prescribed devotion to boyish beauties has carried our candidate so far that the universal beauty dawns upon his inward sight, he is almost within reach of the final revelation. And this is the way, the only way, he must approach, or be led toward, the sanctuary of Love. Starting from individual beauties, the quest for the universal beauty must find him ever mounting the heavenly ladder, stepping from rung to rung--that is, from one to two, and from two to every lovely body, from bodily beauty to the beauty of institutions, from institutions to learning, and from learning in general to the special lore that pertains to nothing but the beautiful itself--until

The Viper Leaves

by Brandon LaBumbard Like many of us, I once thought that plants were just the backdrop for observing wildlife. There were times where I would stop and observe the plants around me (outside of botany classes) but I really only focused on a few types of plants - flowers, pines, and ferns. My plant story that changed my mind happened in Peru, catching frogs, for my Master’s degree research. We were always told to look out for pit vipers (Bothrops) because they love to eat frogs, and as such, would be found in the areas we were looking for frogs. I saw an amazing little frog sitting on a leaf and when I went to grab it, I felt a sharp shooting pain in my hand. I screamed, thinking I had been bi