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Harmony in Nature and Gardens
November 09, 2015

What glorious weather we enjoyed much of last week.

Temperatures reaching the mid 70's for a few days.

Shorts and tee shirts in November.

All but the last minute chores are now done.

Yolanda is doing better and growing a bit stronger once again.

It shows just how wonderful God is, and how resilient the human body, soul, and spirit can be.

Snickers had a go round with constipation.

That too passed :-)

Our five year old granddaughter spent Friday night with us.

She went home toting a bag of sugar cookies she helped make with grandpa.

Yep, she's feeling pretty special, and I'm doing well myself.

There are still patches of fall colors around here.

Somewhere on this page is a picture or two of Sweetgum trees in fall colors.

The Aspen were a nice golden yellow, until the wind and rain beat them down over the weekend.

After years of preaching and teaching about shredding and using your leaves, 'The National Wildlife Federation' comes along and announces this past week what others and myself have been saying for years.

Hopefully this will help get the word out.

Were we ahead of the times, or were they slow to recognize the value of leaves?

'Straight No Chaser'.

Ten guys singing acapella.

In perfect harmony (if that is possible).

Karen, Yolanda, and I went to see them in Concert.

If you haven't heard them, or seen them in person, you must do so.

Harmonizing with only the voices God gave them.

A thing of beauty.

This got me to thinking about nature and humans.

Nature was created to live in harmony.

We were created to live in harmony with nature and with each other.

We see how far that got us, when mankind ignores or Creator.

Still, nature is designed to harmonize.

Countless numbers of life forms.

Together they make the world alive.

An intricate tapestry being weaved.

From the tiniest microbe, to the largest trees and largest animals.

They all create the circle of life.

Though you and I may not think of this very often.

Life is hard.

Nature is even harder.

Why make it more difficult.

(Sweet Gum Tree.)

Harmony is lost when non native species are introduced.

European starlings and English sparrows get the headlines for wreaking havoc on our native birds.

Little is mentioned about the Rock pigeon.

You may even think it to be a native bird as it has been here for centuries.

Mute swans, for all of their beauty and grace, take away from our native and now endangered (at the very least threatened) Trumpeter swans.

They also harass Loons as the nest.

Yet, because these birds are so graceful, people are up in arms when their numbers are thinned out from time to time.

The same person may be cheering on the killing of starlings and sparrows.

We are forced to live with a missing piece of nature's harmony.

Never mind the introduction of such plants as Kudzu, and Phyllaries grass.

Plants that are destroying native ecosystems by aggressively taking over land and choking out natives, and providing little in return.

Harmony In Your Gardens.

Do you want birds and butterflies in your yard and gardens?

Do you enjoy watching, and listening to the harmonizing sounds of bees and bird songs?

Do you stop and watch Nature's dances of the butterflies as they flit about?

Stop in awe as hummingbirds grace you with their presence?

Even the late season sounds of Cicadas, Katydids, and Crickets form a great choir.

For you to enjoy all of this, you must now prepare ahead.

You know,

Plan your work, work your plan.

Unless you are planting a Prairie type garden, or something along that line, you aren't going to get away from introduced plants.

Probably 99% of the annuals we grow are non native.

Something like 50% of the perennials sold at garden centers are introduced.

Most of our trees can be native, but a Colorado Blue Spruce, isn't native to Michigan.

For best results, look for natives that are true natives to your region.

Not simply because they will grow better.

Because they will also feed your native bugs and butterflies.

All flowers can feed pollinators, but not all plants feed the bugs.

We all know that Milkweed is the host plant for Monarch butterflies.

Did you know that willows and cottonwoods trees host Mourning Cloaks?

Great Spangled Fritillaries hort on common Violet species.

Common buckeyes host on Plantain (a common lawn weed).

You get the idea, know your butterflies and their hosts.

Other than becoming deer lettuce and slug food, Hostas offer nothing for native insects.

Yet they are one of the most popular garden plants.

Introduced Grasses like Miscanthus and Pennisetum off er little to native insects as food or as host plants.

Native grasses like Panicums and Bouteloua should be a mainstay in any native garden.

Native plants attract native insects.

Bad bugs attract good bugs.

Native insects attract insect feeding birds.

Birds need copious amounts of bugs when they are feeding a growing brood.

Harsh chemicals kill of the bugs, which kill off and chase away good bugs and bug eating birds.

Which leads to a pretty dull landscape.

Flowers aren't much good to me if they aren't alive with other life.

Harmony, perfect Harmony.

That is what nature offers.

If one person is out of sink in a group of singers, or musicians, the whole song is lacking, or ruined.

If one artist is missing from the performance, it can affect the group as a whole.

No matter how awesome everyone else is performing.

The same goes with nature.

These past couple of years, butterflies in general have been lacking in my gardens.

The absence throws off the balance of nature.

Somehow this void takes away from all other participants (birds, bees, etc.).

Perfect Harmony.

Plan your work and work your plan.

It doesn't happen overnight.

And it takes effort and practice.

It may even take a community of gardens to begin to attract wildlife that was once plentiful.

It is always easier to tear something down than it is to build it up.

We humans as a whole have done a pretty good job of tearing down nature, now let's all start to rebuild it.

Here is one thing I know for sure..........

Nature Is Forgiving, Much Like Her Creator.

'Straight No Chaser'.

When you're as good as these guys, you don't need music.

When your garden is in harmony, it provides all the music you need.

Perfect Harmony.

Life is good.

Well, it's time to go for now.

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

God Bless.

“to love is to risk, not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. to try is to risk failure. But risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in my life is to risk nothing.”

Leo Buscaglia

Here is what Jesus had to say.

"A new command I give you:
Love one another.
As I have loved you,
so you must love one another.

John 13:34

"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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