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Another Native Plant, With A Special Guest.
August 25, 2014

(panicum, native switchgrass plooms.)

Here it is, the last part of August, and we are getting the warmest and most humid weather of the whole summer season.

I promised not to complain about the heat after last winter, and I'm not complaining now.

Everyone needs some air you can wear :-)

If the warm stretch continues, We just might get some beach time and swimming in the Big Lake.

This past saturday was spent celebrating birthdays of our two youngest grandkids.

My grandson is age 7 and granddaughter is now 4.

How fast time goes by.

Because they are brother and sister, it works out well.

Birthdays are a day apart, and the party can be separated for boy and girl, so the kids don't feel short changed.

Each gets his and her attention and time in the spotlight (as it should be).

These things are too much like work, however.

Even for the grandparents that chip in time and money.

We wouldn't have it any other way.

Would we?

Another native plant that is blooming this year.

Meadow Blazingstar (Liatris ligulistylis)

The Ultimate Monarch Magnet!

The crimson-red buds burst open to reveal brilliant purplish-pink flowers that are irresistible to Monarch butterflies and many other pollinators.

Meadow Blazingstar is a widely-branched and numerous individual flowers bloom over an extended period of time.

The seeds are a Goldfinch favorite.

Every bit of 5 feet tall im my garden, and as advertized, my first Monarch Butterfly since the summer of 2012.

For more than a week now, I have seen a monarch.

Probably the same one, but still a monarch.

I've been checking the Asclepias (milkweed plants) in the yard, but no signs of life yet.

The fields. I haven't had time to check.

I will order more for next year.

The monarch has chosen the Liatris over the butterfly bush.

Going native is a good thing.

Other than that, there simply aren't a lot of butterflies to report on.

I have seen a Giant Swallowtail, and an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (maybe more).

Not much else.

No matter, I think this was the most excited I've been this year about wildlife in my yard.

Have any of you purchased Monarch eggs and raised them to release in your gardens?

I am interested, and may do this myself next year, if it helps the creatures to survive.

Please let me know how your success was.

I know, I know.

I preach native plants to you as much as possible.

But here is another case of a native plant serving double duty.

With habitat disappearing at an alarming rate, you can help provide wildlife with an oasis of the habitat they need to thrive.

The native plants that you use can meet the needs, including food and cover, of native wildlife without causing long-term damage to local plant communities.

With the right diversity of native plants in your urban landscape, you can provide much for many.

Protective cover for many animals.

Seeds, nuts, and fruits for chipmunks, squirrels and other mammals.

Seeds, fruits, and insects for birds.

Food for native insects that feed the birds and pollinate your plants.

Nectar for hummingbirds and butterflies.

Larval host plants for butterfly caterpillars.

(Native Butterfly Weed Pictured.)

Invasive Species:

I realize it is almost impossible these days to go strictly naive.

The use of only native plants in your landscape helps limit the chances that potentially invasive, exotic plant species will be introduced into the environment around your home.

Many of the invasive, exotic plant species present in the South’s natural areas today were introduced as landscape plantings many decades ago.

Non native species like Dandelion, garlic mustard, and wild carrot were once cultivated in the gardens of the first settlers.

Since then, they seem to cover the continent from the Atlantic, to the Pacific.

Continued introduction of new exotic plants into suburban landscapes will result in many new invasive plants in the future.

In Michigan for example, Standard size Barberry and Burning bush are no longer sold in garden centers.

Dwarf varieties aren't yet considered invasive and can be purchased.

Beauty, Low Maintenance, and Community:

Many native plants produce showy flowers, abundant fruits and seeds, and brilliant fall foliage.

I've shared with you, picture of some native plants.

Cup Plant, Tall Garden Phlox, Rudbeckia, Coneflower, Sneezeweed and more.

Native shrubs like Winterberry, Snowberry, Oregon Holly, Ninebark, Elderberries and many more, that offer beauty for you and life giving, and sustaining for your local wildlife.

Native trees, Spruce, Pine, Maple, Oak, Willows, and the lengthy list of native trees that provide for you and your natural world.

By planting native plants, you will have a beautiful yard that is friendly to wildlife.

Native plants generally grow well and require little care when grown on proper soils under the right environmental conditions.

By choosing the right native plants, you will be able to use fewer pesticides and less water.

As more people use native plants in their urban landscaping, it adds to the available habitat for wildlife and benefits the community as a whole.

Going native helps save our natural heritage for future generations.

Going native will encourage more garden centers and nurseries to offer plant that naturally grow in your region.

The idea of offering meadow and prairie plants and grasses in my yard and to friends and neighbors makes me feel like i am making a difference.

Yes, I continue to beat the same OLE drum.

And Then There Was Two:


As a Naturalist, and lover of nature, all I can say I was .....


I'm pumped, I'm Geeked, you name it.

Two, count em, two monarchs at the same time, on the same Meadow Liatris.

Now tell me native plants aren't important.

Yes, I am so excited over two butterflies.

Sad but true.

I pray this is a positive sign for all of us.

Monarch migration begins in 2-3 weeks for me.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

“Like a butterfly stuck in a chrysalis, waiting for the perfect moment, I was waiting for the day I could burst forth and fly away and find my home.”

Emme Rollins

I can't find where the bible mentions butterflies.

I can find a bit of a metaphor, however.

We are to be renewed and transformed, just like a caterpillar into a beautiful Butterfly.

Unlike the butterfly, we get to be renewed daily.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:2

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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