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Other Fall Colors and Some Points of View
November 14, 2011

I'm slowly adapting to the time change.

The first part of last week brought some mild weather and that allowed me to get some more outdoor work dome.

We were given some well needed rain in mid-week and some more mild temps by week's end.

Just in time to rake leaves on Saturday.

A bit early for me, but the roses are bedded down for the winter (one last task).

I harvested some herbs to dry, a few green onions and the last of the fennel.

All plants grown from seed this past spring.

I'm still nursing along a pot of Romaine lettuce in hopes of having one last salad.

(Hunter's moon taken this past week.)

Times have changed for me.

It's no secret.......................

There was a time, when September rolled around that I would pretty much cash it in.

My thoughts moved to next spring and how I can't wait for April to roll around once again.

What could I possibly do in a
garden this time of year besides take notes on what worked and what didn't and think of next spring.

Boy did I short change myself for all those years.

I was blessed to have parents that gardened and more blessed to enjoy gardening at a young age.

Growing up in the 1950's, 60's and early 70's meant a few things when it came to gardening.

This goes for vegetable gardens as well as flowers gardens.

You planted your seeds or plants.

You watered them, tossed on some fertilizer along with tons of toxins to keep insects and other things at bay.

When it came to veggie gardens, it was all about the biggest crop you can grow, no matter what.

Who cared if you were killing off beneficial insects and pollinators, that was never an option.

Flower beds and gardens were were much the same plus they being filled with the latest and greatest exotic plants from around the globe.

Gardens that were full of ornamental grasses, hostas and daisies.

Introduced roses, peonies, iris from places like Germany, Siberia and Japan.

The newest introduction of lilies and so on.

Not to mention shrubs and trees like lilacs and Japanese maples.

Now don't get me wrong, I still grow some of these myself for one reason or another, yet my gardens have become more native.

Vegetable gardens,............... by the time September rolled around, the only thing left was to harvest a few things and pull up or plow under dead and dieing vegetation.

September was left with very little garden flowers and nothing to watch grow in the veggie garden.

Yes, can spring come too soon?

Old Habits Die Hard.

I have been blessed with a curious mind and often ask will ask questions or seek answers.

By the time I reached adulthood, some of my thinking began to change.

Yet, there was the ever present "That's the way it has always been done."

"If its not broke, don't fix it."

"How Boring." I would think.

I continued well into my 30's with the same gloom and doom attitude about September (though many of my gardening practices were changing).

And it got only worse into October and November.

Can spring come any sooner?

For me, the greatest satisfaction in gardening is to watch something grow.

To plant a seed or to root a new plant.

To see it grow and produce.

Often, the produce or flowers are secondary for me.

It is the success story, beginning to end.

I'm sure it is that way for many of you as well.

It's about "The Challenge."

Isn't it?

Better Late Than Never.

By the time I had reached my mid teens, my love for birds and the 'Natural World' really kicked in.

I began to use less pesticides when I could.

My nature walks would often end up with me bringing wildflowers home to plant (shame on me).

I began to notice more birds would hang out in the gardens to feed on natural food items.

More bees and more crops.

Once married and a house of my own, I began to look for more native plants to grow.

Phlox, Hibiscus, okay Got em.

Finding natives to purchase was a difficult task until the last couple of decades, but you could still find Phlox, Hibiscus, Echinacea and a few others.

Garden Centers are finally grasping the 'Grow Native Concept'.

Now you can look for and find a plethora of plants that bloom or have fall color.

Growers are producing all sorts of different Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Eupatorium, Actaea, Hardy Asters and several other native plants that will give you plenty of late summer and into mid fall flowers

Native trees and shrubs also offer up fall color too.

Not simply the colorful foliage we look for, but trees and shrubs that offer three and four season attractions.

Pictured throughout today's letter are some of the local attractions that add to the season.

Not only are some of the fruits attractive, but they are a main stay for your birds and animals.

(Notice the robin feasting away on the fruits, there were scores of them in the field that day.)

Pictures were taken this past week.

Some fruits will disappear soon, but others will remain through most of winter.

The red Viburnum cranberries (Viburnum Trilobum) will feed birds off and on for most of the winter.

So will the Winterberry holly (Ilex verticillata).

Blue and white dogwood berries (Cornus spp.)on the leafless shrubs.

The Chokeberries on the Aronia (Aronia spp.) aren't always grazed upon, but they do add to a winter garden.

Crabapples (Malus spp.) come in various sizes and colors and add to the landscape as well.

Not to mention the food they offer robins, waxwings and other birds.

You just might find a squirrel or deer grazing as well.

Several species of native dogwoods (trees and shrubs) offer fall color and fruits that attract various species of birds as well.

Colorful bark can only add to the season.

I went through this short story so you not only might learn a bit more about me, but to understand that there are so many native plants and grasses that you can add to your landscapes.

Plants that offer beauty to more than one season.

Even if you don't feed birds, you can attract them with what they want most.

'Nature's' offerings.

Natures Beauty is all around you, no matter the time of year.

One only has to look.

Observe your surrounds.

Thank You Creator.

Creation was set up a certain way for a reason.

For us and all of the wild to live in.

Native is always best, that is why God put certain plants here in the first place.

This is also why so many of our exotics struggle and require pesticides and too much TLC.

Still other exotics become invasive as they have no true predator or natural system to keep them in check.

As you sit down this winter and make plans for next year's gardens, You might consider growing a few more native flowers, shrubs and trees.

Natives offer a long blooming and fruiting season that exotics just don't stand up to.

Yes, no matter where you live, you can always find native plants for your landscape.

Flowers for the pollinators and fruits and nuts for birds and other wildlife.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

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

God Bless.

"Don't smother each other.
No one can grow in the shade."

Leo Buscaglia

I truly would've loved to have met this man, he had it right.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said,

“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12 (NIV)

"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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