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Plan Flower Gardens Now
February 12, 2018

A wintry February week to you.

Happy Birthday to Honest Abe (Feb. 12).

A week of romance for some.

My heart goes out to the many that have lost the love of their life.

This past week we visited a wound clinic, followed up by a visit to a radiologist.

Yolanda has a small wound on her back, on a scar, that simply won't heal.

We are looking for anything, bu nothing shows up.

Next is to try dabbing Milk of Magnesia on the wound to see if this works.

Apparently it is an old remedy, not typically in medical books.

(An elderly doctor from Yolanda/Karen's office suggested we give it a try.)

The Great Backyard Bird Count, runs February 16 - 19.

It isn't too late to register.

With several more weeks of winter, I thought it would be nice to focus on our gardens.

Maybe installing a new bed or two.


(A male Cardinal in the neighbors spruce tree, the blur is a snowflake.)

Installing a new flower garden requires time, effort, and some money.

Not to mention, most flower gardens don’t reach their full potential for two to three years, especially when perennial flowers are the focus.

It’s true that flower gardens (especially the formal type), need as much, or more care than lawns or shrub areas.

But, it doesn’t take a special skill set to care for a thriving garden.

If you choose the cottage garden look as I do, your garden will require less upkeep and care.

Flower gardening may also become a passion.

It can also be overwhelming if you aren't careful.

There are millions of plants to choose from, and even more ways to combine them.

I'll cover a few stages of building your flowering borders from the soil up.

Gardens should start with the soil.

However, most of us don't have the patience for that.

It is essential though, because that soil is what your flowers need to be healthy.

You may have to amend your soil for better growing conditions.

Choosing the right location for your gardens is another key factor.

Most flowers thrive in full to partial sun, (at least six hours of direct sun is needed to be called full sunlight).

Also, you don't want your garden in a place that impedes other activities in your yard.

I must add this important bit ...

If this is your first garden, it's probably best to start small.

Taking on a large garden plot can quickly become overwhelming and it may even turn you off from the idea altogether.

Gardening should be fun, so ease into it.

As any experienced gardener will tell you, there is always room for improvement and new ideas.

Annual Flowers Are the Blooming Stars:

Many of the most beautiful flowers in the garden are annuals, meaning they need to planted every year.

These include favorites like zinnias, petunias, impatiens, and marigolds (the list goes on), and they are prized for the brilliant color they add to the landscape.

Some annuals are self-sowing or what some of us like to call 'volunteers.'

Most of the time, annuals will seed themselves and produce beautiful plants year after year.

all over again. A little research may come in handy.

Then, there are biennial flowers like Foxglove, Canterbury Bells, Money plant, and some varieties of Rudbeckia.

(Canterbury Bells in my Yard, they are quite showy.)

These plants will have two growing seasons in their life cycle.

After this time, they will seed out so the process can start all over again.

Ideally, you want to plant biennials for two or three years in a row, until they cycle of reseeding naturally takes over.

Allow the tiny seedlings to grow before you decide to start weeding and cultivating.

Perennials Are Reliable Favorites:

Perennial plants and flowers are what make a garden look better and better with age (maturity).

Choosing the right plants for your garden and keeping them growing well is what makes perennial gardening such an enjoyable journey for the gardener.

There are always new perennials to try and new techniques to learn (Always).

For the novice gardener, You'll be delighted to know that perennials come back year after year, often getting bigger an better.

Though some are limited to just a few years (Lupine comes to mind).

Even though they come back, you do still need to care for perennial flowers.

This includes dividing them and knowing when to cut them back after the growing season.

With careful attention, some planning, perennials will be a mainstay in your flower beds.

You can pretty much have perennials in bloom from early spring, to well past the first frost/freeze of Autumn.

If you choose to have flowers gardens, you will attract pollinators, and birds that come to feed on some insects.

Here are some pretty good lists of flowers to Attract Hummingbirds and Flowers For Butterflies.

Of course, flowers also attract all sorts of other pollinators like bees, and Hoverflies.

Make an effort to avoid toxic chemicals to kill off unwanted insects.

Toxins don't pick and choose, they are killers of all.

Insecticides affect our bees, and get into our food sources.

Birds feed on insects and hummers pollinate.

I digress.

If you don't have space in the garden, containers are always an option.

For most of you, a good two to four months is still ahead before garden season is here.

You may want to take some time planning and looking into plants you may want to grow.

Many seeds can be started indoors with aid of grow lights or nice windows.

A few years ago I finally invested in a grow light, and recently another one.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

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

God Bless.

“I was taught how to work.

I think that's everything.

Creativity and imagination alone

Are not going to get you there.”

Writer Elizabeth Gilbert (1969 )

I still think that every teen aged boy (why not girl too), should pend at last one week working on a farm (especially bailing hay and pitching compost.)

I did.

Then they will know what real work is and possibly appreciate life a little more.

"Whatever you do,

Work at it with all your heart,

As working for the Lord,

Not for human masters".

Colossians 3:23

"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.

A Blessed week to you .

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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