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September 09, 2013

(Local field of Goldenrod.)

It happens every year.

Flip the calender to September and our parks and beaches become almost desolate.

It shouldn't be, but it works out to my advantage (yours too).

Most Septembers still provide summer like weather, yet most days, parks and beaches remain empty.

I know, school is in session.

But what of the others?

No matter, I get to enjoy the peace and quiet.

Especially at the beach.

We had a beach day this past Wednesday.

I can hear myself think.

I can talk to Karen without having to raise my voice.

No screams.

No kicking sand.

I can listen to the waves lapping or even crashing the shore.

In parks, picnic tables are no longer at a premium.

Listen for the sounds of Nature.

Watch and study your surroundings.

Yes, soak up the special days.

Breathe in life.

Thank our Creator, for He is good.

On the way home from the beach, I did see the third monarch of the season, just before it left its mark on the windshield.

I never felt so bad about a butterfly as I did that one.

September also brings a plethora of garden produce.

Fruits and vegetables are at their peak right about now.

If you don't have the frustrations and privileges of growing any produce, make a trip or two to a local Farmers Market.

It is well worth the effort.

The education and entertainment alone is worth it.

I find a day or two to pickle the Jalapeno, Pepperoncini, and other hot peppers.

Sneak in a few quarts of tomatoes as well.

As long as it is a few jars at a time, I do enjoy these tasks.

Tastes good too.

Yes, September is a good time of the year.

Find a time frame this month to clean out your nest boxes (bird houses).

If you can take them down, do so.

Clean out all old nesting materials, clean and sanitize.

I like to use the 'Oxygen Cleaners' (Oxi Boost, Oxi Clean, etc.)

Not only does this stuff deep clean, it sanitizes at the same time.

Because it is all natural, it leaves no harmful effects like bleach can.

If you can't remove a house, clean out the nest litter, scrub the best possible (old tooth brush works) rinse and spray to soaking with Cider Vinegar.

Unless rodents are an issue, you may want to leave your boxes out during winter.

Some birds do use them as roosting spots in cold, wet weather.

"Are you Nuts Ron?

Digging up and trashing all of those plants"?

Words from a neighbor.

Gone are the Hosta and Peonies.

I know, you think I'm crazy as well.

Here is my thinking.

Hosta have never done a thing for me.

They were a filler for a shaded spot.

Besides, they have no value to wildlife, other than a few pollinators.

If they aren't laced with slug holes, they become a salad for the deer.

Peonies, while very attractive and fragrant, they too have no value for native wildlife.

Peonies at best, are attractive for two short weeks.

They take up valuable space and look quite plain the rest of the year, (ugly when covered in mildew like they are now).

I want plants with a longer blooming season and attract native wildlife in one shape or form.

Fruits and seeds for birds and small critters.

Host plants for butterflies and moths.

Natural protection as well.

I can still find deer resistant natives.

Native plants were created for pour habitats.

They simply do better with less.

Besides, this is called "Gardening For Wildlife".

It was time for some things to go and time to make room for more native flowers and shrubs.

More digging to follow.


Speaking of digging up plants.

This is an ideal time to move and transplant many things.

The temperatures begin to cool a bit, while the soil temperature is still warm.

Before you dig up and move,

Always have the new planting sight prepared.

Did the hole twice as wide and deep.

Fill it back in to a proper level.

Hydrate the plant about an hour before you dig it up.

'Old School' had us pruning a good third of the plant or shrub back to reduce shock.

However, in recent years, experts recommend little or no pruning.

The plants need green foliage to manufacture food, and to help establish a healthy plant and root system.

If your plant has died back or going dormant, there is no need to prune, other than cutting back.

Do continue to water, however.

Hummingbird season is in full force here in Southwest Michigan.

Red Salvia, Black and Blue Salvia, Cardinal vine, and Agastache are in their prime flowering as well.

I've pumped up the nectar content in the feeders from 4 parts water to 1 part sugar to 3 parts water and one part sugar.

The added content helps the little guys fatten up.

If you recall, a hummingbird must double its weight before migration.

Every stop off, it has to add more weight (energy) to carry on.

Karen ordered this gizmo from one of the many catalogs that come.

(I think our mail carrier must wear a truss to deliver all the catalogs).

Anyway, I joked and said it would never work.

Who ever heard of a hummingbird perch.

Well eat my words and check this out.

The hummer perch is now used on a regular basis (closeup pictured below,).

After all, resting does conserve energy.

Keep your feeders filled with clean sugar water.

Also pictured is a male Ruby that was still here the last week of August.

As your busyness slows down, take some time to observe the wildlife that visits your gardens.

Maybe its a Tree Frog snoozing (Gray Tree Frog napping on the siding of our house last week).

The frog was green this time as there was plenty of Hydrangea foliage nearby, usually it appears gray when I see it.

The picture of a bumble bee busy at work on a sunflower.

I really appreciate Bumbles, they are a work horse in the gardens.

Not only are the pollen sacks visible, but notice the yellow patch in her head.

This is a very important way these bees pollinate.

Each time she visits another flower on this sunflower head, she distributes pollen from the stamen (male) to the Pistil (female) part of a flower.

Fuzzy heads are a good thing.

Take time to watch a Goldfinch glean from a seed head.

Watch a predatory insect as it lays in wait for a meal.

One of the last Fireflies of the season perched on a flower last week.

Gardens are full of activity when you take the time to see what is happening in your surroundings.

The dime sized toadletts of June are now larger than a quarter.

If you have butterflies this year, watch them feed.

Not simply flit from flower to flower.

Watch as the proboscis.

The curled up straw like feature that straighten out and literally sucks like a straw.

I am privileged to have ducks all year long.

Breathe in your surroundings.

Give thanks to the One that made them all.

I love it.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

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

God Bless.

Thirsty hearts are those whose longings have been
wakened by the touch of God within them.

A. W. Tozer

Awaken my spirit lord.

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.

John 7:37

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

Revelation 22:17

"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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