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Gardening Tips Part III
March 24, 2014

Welcome to Spring.

The calendar tells me it's spring.

March Madness is in full swing (how are your brackets looking).

Major League Baseball is just a week away (I can hardly wait).

Those are sure signs of spring.

Aren't they?

So which one of you have taken spring?

Return spring, and no questions asked.

I Promise.

The birds and wildlife know that it is supposed to be spring.

Skunks, raccoons and chipmunks have awakened from their dens and hiding places.

(Picture taken last week.)

Robins have arrived in mass, though we had some robins winter over, they are here for sure.

Turkey vultures have arrived here in Michigan

Vultures can always find food.

The poor Sandhill Cranes and Great Blue herons, are in for a rude awakening, when they struggle to find open water.

Even Canada's finest are arriving daily.

Yes, for now the Canada Goose is also a welcome sight and sound.

Length of day dictates hormonal changes, which dictates migration and mating.

The weather plays only a small part.

I've been sharing a few gardening tips with you for the past two weeks.

This week will probably be the last of the tips for now.

I'm simply trying to think spring, and I know this is needed for many of you.

Then again, gardening is starting for many of you as well.

Some more tips and tricks for you.


Before you plan a major landscape project this spring, walk around your property to determine if you have micro-climate areas.

Sun or shade in certain spots, wet or dry in certain spots.

Look for spots that are different from the main areas.

You can turn a micro-climate into an advantage.


The corner of a house may shelter a tender plant from frost or winds.

A soggy space or low area can be ideal for bog plants.

A dry, sunny space should be where you plant drought tolerant plants.

Remember, your yard is not the same throughout its space so learn its personality.

Simply yet useful............

The next time you boil or steam vegetables, don't pour the water down the drain.

Use it to water for house plants, and your potted patio plants.

You'll be amazed at how the plants respond to the "vegetable soup."

(Be sure to allow water to cool down to air temperature before using it.)

Garden for all the senses, wind chimes are as important as nice fragrances.

Choose plant and flower textures and colors that not only attract wildlife, but appeal you your senses as well (visual and creativity).

Rock and yard art like fountains, statues and other sculptures say something about you too, make sure your gardens speak about you and your creations, not a familiar cookie cutter design from a contractor.

Your yard need to be yours, or you wont spent the time in or with it.

Right plant, right place - choose pest-resistant plants well-adapted to your local climate and soils.

Plant them well, and let them grow without being pushed.

Try untested new plants in a small area (push the envelope).

Lose some of the lawn, making edges and corners easier to mow with less backing up.

Lighten up on the fertilizers and pesticides, enjoy a few wildflowers.

Let some hedges grow informally, instead of keeping everything tightly sheared.

Garden to encourage year-round wildlife. Include a well-stocked bird feeder.

Ponder the mysteries of the universe, in the microcosm of your own back yard.

Soil fertility refers not only to the amount of nutrients soil containers but also to the soil's general health.

Just one teaspoon of healthy soil contains thousands of fungi, bacteria and other micro-organisms.

Choose Wisely if you want less work.

Most shrubs, spaced properly when planted, need pruning only to slightly shape them as they grow.

Some shrubs, however, need regular pruning to improve their flowering effect so know what your shrubs need for their best performance.

When you use chemicals to kill bad bugs, you also kill good bugs.

Instead, opt for organic controls such as soapy water and horticultural oils to smother bad bugs.

Your yard is a living, breathing lifecycle so don't overload it with toxic chemicals.

Remember, a formal design is a high-maintenance design because it usually involved manicured plants that need regular pruning.

An informal design is easier to keep and enjoy, so keep it simple but stunning.

A garden is work but healthy, pleasurable work when you plan, prep and care for it.

It's a place to call your own, a haven of rest and relaxation when the day is done.

Create a yard environment that welcomes bees, birds and butterflies.

Put out a bird bath. Install a birdhouse. Put up a bird feeder. And let the wonderful wildlife come.

It adds song and heart to your garden.

As you do all this, create some pathways that take you through your garden.

Give yourself the peace and joy of experiencing it in the evening, in the morning, in the afternoon.

Aging and lazy gardeners learn to appreciate weeds as well as flowers.

Find a nice, medium sized beach umbrella, and set it where you are working, to protect you from the sun, or to sit under while you enjoy a flower break with your beverage of choice.

And finally.........................

If things don't turn out the way you planned, savor the lessons learned and try something different next year.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week, and a couple more pictures of Northern Cardinals once again.

God Bless.

If you have not often felt the joy of doing a kind act, you have neglected much, and most of all yourself.

A. Neilen

Kindness and giving.

not only help others, but also helps you and me too.

"Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over,
will be put into your lap.
For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Luke 6:38

"In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Acts 20:35

"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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