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Planning For The Garden
January 23, 2017

There was a rare sighting around here this past week.

Blue Sky.

I had to take a picture of it.

It is the lack of sunshine that has put Michigan # 2 on the worst states to live during winter.

I think Minnesota is #1 because of the cold factor, with Alaska coming in at #3.

We hit 61 degrees (F.) on Saturday, sunshine and some windows were open.

I even grilled the burgers in short sleeves.

An extended January thaw that isn't healthy on the most part.

Still, a day of sun was a rare treat for us.

Yes, I choose to love Michigan, and it isn't so bad when the we have snow.

Snow brightens things up, even when the sun is buried under, yet another day of Lake Affect Clouds.

This is a strange January, weather wise.

Prayers go out to all the storm ravaged regions.

Still, we have gained more than a half hour of daylight, on the night side alone.

That is some progress.

All the leaf compost I put down last fall should help save some of the plants fro freeze and through damage.

I preach every year to keep leaf litter intact, and this helps to show why.

Miss Penny had her stitches removed this morning.

She is no worse for wear, yet you would think she was gone all day, the way Snickers acted when she came back home (gone less than 30 minutes).

Below are pictures of the two (again).

Fur kids, you gotta love em.

Seed and Garden Catalogs are still coming in the mail just about everyday for the past month or so.

This gets the gardening juices flowing, if you aren't already anticipating spring and gardens.

This is relaxing to me however, as I get a chance to sit down and thumb through all of the catalogs.

Especially the ones with color pictures.

I will thumb through many of them time and time again, before I start making out wish lists and reality lists.

You Too?

Those of us that live in the more temperate regions hopefully have more time to do this (unless the honey do list is a big one).

Our friends in the Deep South, South West and Pacific regions may already be planting seeds for this years gardens.

Those of us that live in the more temperate regions hopefully have more time to do this (unless the honey do list is a big one).

Our friends in the Deep South, South West and Pacific regions may already be planting seeds for this years gardens.

Some northern gardeners are also planting certain seeds as well.

In greenhouses, windowsills, under plant lights in spare rooms (like I will soon), in cold frames, tucked away in a corner with a gro-light.

There is something I can't explain, a gardener must plant.

For me it is simply the challenge and joy of watching something grow.

I can't explain the feeling exactly.

Almost like being a proud papa, as you watched your babies grow and bloom and produce.

You can sit back and say to yourself "I grew that from a seed, I did that."

Lisianthus needs a big head start of 3 months or more, if you want summer blooms.

Petunias and Impatiens also need a jump start of about 12 weeks before planting in your gardens.

If you are blessed enough to have your own greenhouse, you have it made.

You may turn a den or spare bedroom into a makeshift greenhouse or plant growing room.

Grow lights, converted shop lights and shelving units fill the free space.

I do this in a limited amount of space.

With age and wisdom, I have cut back.

I have found that some things are cheaper to buy than grow, or I simply don't have the space and time.

Still, I do grow when I can.

There is something about the challenge and the idea I can say "I grew that".

More often than not, it is the challenge and the very fact that I like to watch things grow.

If I can grow from seed to fruition..................... what a satisfied feeling that is for me and any gardener.

Often I will pay more for a product, but save on shipping fees (some companies really stick it to you on this one).

Sometimes it is out of principle, as I refuse to be held hostage by shipping fees.

January is also a good time to make plans for this spring and summer's gardens.

If you haven't done so by now, go over last year's gardening.

Maybe you kept a journal.

What worked and what didn't.

No success with petunias?

Maybe it is time to try something else in the spot.

Would a native perennial work for you?

One thing about native flowers, shrubs, trees and grasses.........

Once established, and planted in proper locations ( sun, shade, moist, dry, etc.), they require less of your time and resources.

Natives are also more resistant to viral attacks.

Natives offer more for your wildlife life than most introduced plants.

Draw out some plans and designs.

Make a workable (doable) list on what you want to plant and accomplish.

It could be a vegetable garden, a flowers garden, or maybe a wildlife garden (I do a bit of all three).

Redoing flowers beds, or a total makeover.

Maybe you finally want to go nature friendly.

I've been in a garden of some sort for most of my 62 years, and I can tell you this..............

The eyes, desires and dreams are always bigger than your budget, your time, or the space you really have to plant in.

Take this time you have now, and carefully plan and design wisely.

Even if it means scaling down or removing certain plants.

Separate the must haves from the wish list items

Plan it now.

You can plan and tweak your plan every year.

I continue to replant and remove items as I make my yard more attractive to the wildlife around here.

Tweaking, sometimes it is difficult to remove a plant all together.

Maybe you can find a corner or some place to keep a slip.

You can do the same. Remember, not everyone is a 'Master Gardener', 'State Certified Nurseryman', or has the decades of knowledge that you may have.

Here is to a bountiful garden and wildlife experience for all of you this coming year.

Winter doesn't have to be a boring time of year.

Indeed, it is often what we make it out to be.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

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

God Bless.

"Man has never made any material as resilient as the human spirit."

Bernard Williams (1929-) English Philosopher

Could it be, because God created the human spirit

and after his own image?

"This is the word of the Lord concerning Israel. The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him."

Zechariah 12:1

Are you still not convinced?

"God is spirit.

John 4:24

And one more.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Genesis 1:27

"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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