I Like Aix

Mandarin duck, Aix galericulata (Linnaeus 1758) (from the In-Terms-in-ator)


Peri-Performative Post-Scriptum

“I Like Aix” corely references “I Like Ike”, a slogan for Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower’s presidential campaign in the 1950s. Aix galericulata means “crested aix”, the word αἴξ, aix, being used by Aristotle for an unknown variety of water-bird. In Greek, it would have been pronounced something like “aye-ks”, which is what I’ve used in the title of this incendiary intervention. But “ay-ks” is probably better in modern English.

Mulch is Less

An interesting bio-paradox from the world’s premier papyrocentric purveyor of progressive performativity:

Vast stretches of roadside have been transformed. Where there were thick clumps of grass, there are low-growing wildflowers such as black medic, birds-foot trefoil and red clover. The verges are cut two or three times a year, not 12, saving the council tens of thousands of pounds. Butterflies and other invertebrates have returned in their droves. […]

The process is simple: cut infrequently, ideally, just twice a year in spring and then late summer once plants have bloomed and seeded; remove the clippings to gradually reduce the fertility of the soil and prevent a buildup of mulch; repeat, wait, and enjoy the resurgent wildlife and flowers. […]

“As fertility declines in a soil, biodiversity increases. At first that seems a little counterintuitive because you imagine the more you pour into a soil, the more plants that can grow. That’s not how it works in the natural system. In more fertile systems, a few species dominate and they swamp and smother everything else.”

Grass cuttings are almost always left where they fall along the thousands of miles of road verges that are maintained by law in the UK. Over time, the resulting mulch increases the fertility of the soil, meaning the grass grows with increasing vigour and needs to be cut more frequently. The cut and collect method breaks the cycle. — On the verge: a quiet roadside revolution is boosting wildflowers, The Guardian, 14iii2020