Erika Howsare



Photo: Courtesy Mike and Isobel Sadler

Minimal modern: A new kitchen gets down to the basics

Mike and Isobel Sadler move every few years. They’re the third-generation owners of Charlottesville Area Builders, and they usually occupy a house their company has recently built—both to showcase new features for potential clients and to test-drive floors, appliances and so on. This summer, they moved again, to a contemporary home in Ivy looking toward […]

“Even on scarred land, the trees are growing with a ferocity that gives me hope.”

The long season of trees

My children have a library book right now that tells us trees appeared in the middle Devonian Period, over 350 million years ago. The drawings of these early specimens look strange to my eye, not as graceful as the trees out my window, but the proto-trees—Lepidosigillaria and Eospermatopteris—were doing important work. “Deeper roots and more […]

The USA National Phenology Network enlists citizen scientists to help gather information about climate change through the observation of plants budding, blooming, 
and dropping seeds, and the connections to insect and animal migration patterns.

In their own backyards

“Phenology” might not be a word you use in everyday conversation, but it’s one of the keys to tracking climate change. The term refers to the study of timing in the natural world—the dates when plants flower, leaves emerge, seeds drop, and animals migrate. The USA National Phenology Network is building a stable of citizen […]

The new Heyward Community Forest, near Ragged Mountain, is full of beautiful spots to explore. Photo: Steven Barling

The city’s newest wilderness: Right outside town, community forest will offer a wild escape

Just a quick drive from the most urban sections of Charlottesville is a unique wild environment—acres of boulder forests, sunny woodlands where blueberries grow, and a creek with architectural ruins along its banks. It’s all part of a 144-acre property called the Heyward Community Forest, snugged against the Ragged Mountain Reservoir. The city acquired the […]

Cat Thrasher transformed the front yard of her Kellytown home into a large urban garden, where she says she’s been “trying ‘square-foot gardening’ in the form of planting some things very close together.” Photo: John Robinson

How does your garden grow?

Outdoor options may be limited this summer, but gardening is definitely having a moment. Whether you’re a veteran dirt-lover or a total beginner, there’s never been a better time to dive in and cultivate some earth (or even a window box) near your home. Here are some ideas to spur you along. Dig in: Tips […]

Photo: Jen Fariello

Off the radar: Don’t forget these five wedding rentals

Renting items for your wedding? You’ve probably already researched and budgeted for the obvious things—chairs, glassware—but there are other items that a lot of couples tend to forget. Meredith Jackson, from Charlottesville’s rental company Festive Fare, clued us in about some of those lesser-known rental needs. You know about the linens, but don’t forget the […]