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Autumn Chores
October 15, 2018

Sure enough, this past weeks was three days of heat and humidity.

Temperatures reached the low to mid 80's

Warm enough for this Katydid to stop and visit.

Followed by four days of 40's and low 50's, with the furnace kicked on.

Before I forget, Karen and
I are planning a short trip up north, to the Traverse City, MI. area (Lord willing).

We are hoping for some respite time from Yolanda, some fall colors, and of course a bit of shopping.

I will try to get a newsletter for next week, if I find some time.

If not, thank you for your understanding.

Busy times ahead.

Here is the resident Turkey once again.

He is a daily visitor a couple times each day.

Below are pictures of late season cut flowers, a White-crowned sparrow visiting on the way to winter grounds, and a Blue jay with a leaf in its mouth.

After last week's letter, I watched this bird bury an acorn in the lawn, and stuff this leaf in the hole.

Maybe a marker, I haven't a clue.

A couple pictures of plants still in bloom and of course, a fur kid or two.

It is time for some Fall Cleanup.

A few chores that can be tackled now.


(A mixed Bouquet.)

Step outside on a quiet night and listen.

This time of year you may very well hear the peeps and chirps of migrating birds.

Most birds fly at night to avoid predators, and make sounds to keep in contact with the flock.

I've been hearing them on a
regular basis for several nights now.

Autumn is in full swing now.

At least for the northern regions it is.

That means spectacular color displays.

Fall mums, and even native plants like Asters and Chocolate Eupatorium pictured in my yard from two days ago.

Flowers don't have to stop, just because your exotics are no longer blooming.

God's color palette is in all its glory in much of North America.

The Great Lakes region has been breath taking this year.

I encourage you to get out and enjoy it.

While fall has a beautiful time, its pulchritude is short lived.

There are pumpkins, and fall festivals to everywhere.

This is also the time to get serious about fall cleanup.

Yes, while the weather still allows you and me to get outside with some comfort.

I enjoy the cool crisp days, with the warmth of the sun beating on me.

To me, this is Autumn.

(Blue Jay with leaf in mouth.)

Whether you have had a killing frost or not, the growing season is pretty much over.

Well, our southern friends can still enjoy some blooms and slow growing vegetables.

Plant growth comes to a screeching halt or grows at a snails pace, once the length of day is shorter than 12 hours.

In my part of Michigan, frosts and freezes have done their job over the weekend.

Now comes clean up.

Cutting back and pulling annuals that served me well.

Some perennials I will cut back, while others I will leave, as the seeds continue to feed birds and small mammals.

No longer is my yard put to bed nice and tidy.

Leaf litter and small twigs will cover the gardens.

It is healthier all the way around.

Litter insulates and decomposes to feed your gardens.

Birds forage for hibernating insects, etc.

It is Nature's way.

I suggest you do some of the same.

Hyssop (Agastache) still in bloom.

As mentioned over the years, you do want to cut back diseased plants.

Toss the debris in the trash, and pick up as much of the fungus riddled leaves as possible.

Fungus over winters.

If your plants have a virus, like 'Aster Yellow', You might just as well dig and remove all of the plant and figure on planting something else.

At best, you might control or contain the virus, but you will never get rid of it and may eventually kill a plant.

The same goes with fungus, like Powdery mildew, Black spot, and Apple scab.

There are preventive remedies, but you wont get rid of it completely.

Again, into the trash, and not the compost heap.

When you are cutting and pruning, be sure to dip your cutting blades or at least spray them with rubbing alcohol.

A 10% mixture of chlorine bleach will sanitize too, just don't leave metal in the bleach water for any length of time for corrosion to take place.

When pruning living branches, use Bypass pruners and loppers (they cut like scissors).

Dead and dying material, you can use Bypass (I do), or you can use anvil type pruners.

Anvil have one sharp blade and a blunt surface to crush off the dead material.

Using anvils on living material only crushes the branch or stem, this promotes a weak spot and an invitation for diseases.

Time has pretty much run out for transplanting in northern regions.

You still can, but mulch well.

Roots need to grow and establish themselves before the ground freezes.

September and early October is a good time for this, as the soil is still warm.

Again, my friends further south can take your time.

Zones 3-6, dig up tender bulbs if you haven't

Wash and air dry before you store them.

It helps to have a killing frost/freeze, as this will stop the flow of plant juices before you dig and cut back.

These are just a few of Autumns's Chores.

If they didn't put in the time, they won't do a thing for you next year.

Warmer zones, can keep them in the ground over winter.

True, you may get away with it in Zones 5-6, but do you want to lose your glads if we have an extreme winter?

Amaryllis bulbs, I am a bit late at digging, but I replant late, I'm good to go.

Amaryllis need 12 weeks of dormancy to really bloom well for you.

I replant mine in February, I have color when I need it.

Christmas offers plenty of color and I'm too busy to mess with bulbs at that time.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Until then,

Here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

"Do not go where the path may lead,Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail".

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be your own person, make your own way.

Not bad advice.

Now here is the word of God.

"You make known to me the path of life;you will fill me with joy in your presence,with eternal pleasures at your right hand".

Psalm 16:11

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart,and do not lean on your own understanding.In all your ways acknowledge him,and he will make straight your paths".

Proverbs 3:5-6

"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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