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Gardening For Wildlife, #018 Starting a garden with little $ and how a bird does a bird breathe
May 29, 2007


We flip calendar pages again this week.

Where does the time go?

How was you weekend?

Hopefully you were able to take some time to honor our heroes.

I visited my parents at the cemetery after church on Sunday.

A family tradition is cut flowers from our yards and gardens.

We cut a nice bunch of flowers and give them to our parents.

We lay them on the ground or place them in water.

It's been that way for as long as I can remember with my mom's family.

There was some well needed rain over the past few days.

I understand that certain regions are still in need of rain.

Sunday and Monday were nice, sunny and in the 60's and 70's with low humidity.

I'll take it just about any time.

Karen is looking at puppies.

Not to serious though so far.

I'm not ready for another dog.

Besides, we're to busy right now.

There isn't time to house train a puppy, is there?

I wonder how Keet would be toward another pooch.

I still have my moments missing my buddy.

The first of the month is always a good time for a thorough cleaning of your feeders and other birding features you may have.

It gets you in the habit of cleaning at least once a month.

Hummer feeders are different all together.

Keep your hummer feeders cleaned and supplied every 2 to 3 days as the weather heats up.

It's a good idea to go back to the hummer pages from time to time.

We live in a time of instant gratification.

Microwave ovens, cell phones, MP3's, digital cameras.

Phones and cameras in one.

Instant yard and gardens.

You know,

"I want it this way and I want it now."

That takes so much fun out of gardening for wildlife.

Taking the time to plan and design the layout of you gardens.

Shopping for plants, shrubs and trees.

Keeping favorite plants and family gifts.

Planting from seed and watching it grow.

Buying baby plants and nurturing them along.

Even when I can afford a larger tree or shrub, I will take the baby or plant some seeds.

It's not that I'm cheap (I am).

It's because I enjoy watching things grow.

I like the challenge.

I can plant some seeds this year and have the same plant next year that I would've paid $8 to $10 for this year.

For one year I don't have an adult plant to enjoy.

But. I plant the seeds, water, nurture, transplant and have several plants to enjoy or give away.

You'll have blooms next year and the joy of knowing "YOU DID IT".

All that for the price of a pack of seeds.

Some seed ideas are, lupines, columbines, coreopsis and daisies.

I plant lupines and let the ones I have go to seed every year, because they are a short lived perennial and I like a nice patch of lupines.

Instead of buying all your annuals, you can plant some your self and save some seeds next fall for next spring.

Other ways of doing it yourself and saving money.

Bare root plants are always less costly.

Yes, you get a smaller plant, but can you wait a year or two?

Get cuttings from friends and neighbors.

My dad was forever bringing home slips of a plant or a twig to root.

I'm sure he didn't always ask, but it worked for him :-)

Several cuttings root real easy in just moist soil.

Red twig dogwood, willows, and several others root this way.

You will need to practice with this some and learn what roots and what doesn't.

Again, there is that learning process.

Don't be afraid to ask experienced gardeners or garden centers in your area.

When possible, I will assist you.

Most gardeners are more than willing to share information and plants if they have extras.

Just ask.

Iris clumps need to be divided every couple of years.

Daisies need to be split.

I'm digging up some columbine later this week to give to the neighbor.

They re-seed quite prolifically and a nice patch is much more attractive than a single plant.

Not just for our eyes, but for hummers as well.

Now, if anyone has seeds from a red columbine (hint, hint)?

Say, I really like your hollyhocks. When they go to seed, could I have a pod or two?

If possible, can you save some cardinal runner seeds for me this fall?

I'll be happy to trade you this for some of that.

Gardeners do it all the time.

Boy, We are getting your garden prepared and so far it has cost you only a pack of seeds or two.

So that leaves a few extra bucks for something special.

It could be a small tree you've had your eyes on or maybe some yard art.

Maybe a bench to sit on so you can really enjoy your new gardens and the wildlife that is beginning to visit you.

Now that you are sitting in your garden, I just know you are relaxing some now.

Maybe you even left the cell phone in the house.

Than again, it is your camera too.

Because wildlife gardens are more natural, we don't spend a ton on insecticides and herbicides.

The more wild your gardens, the more wildlife you will have.

By taking some time, you can build your gardens with passion and the knowledge of knowing you did it.

Gardening doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg.

Baby trees can be had from the arbor day foundation or your county extension.

Sometimes you can get a certain tree by asking a farmer or stranger.

Just think of the legacy you are leaving behind.

Even if it is a single tree.

Pride and joy comes after frustration and mistakes.

Learning and doing is fun.

The past few weeks I've been out of it, with Pookie passing and all.

I owe you a bit extra.

But first, I must stop to catch my breath.


There that is better now.

You know, birds don't have that problem.

Catching their breath that is.

A bird's organ system is similar to other vertebrates but are heavily modified to serve the needs of powered flight.

In particular, they support a far higher metabolism than most other animals.

The large size of a birds heart is a prime example of this.

Birds have a highly specialized respiratory system unique to birds.

Besides lungs, birds have a multitude of air sacs called pulmonary sacs that extent throughout their body. In many cases, even extending into hollow bones.

Air flows through the interconnecting sacs almost like blood in the circulatory system.

The lungs are located so air flows through them, not in-and-out as in other animals.

Oxygen transfer to the blood is a continuous process, taking place in both inhalation and exhalation.

"Mother Nature's" system is so efficient that birds can get by with smaller lungs.

Birds never run out of breath because of the constant flow of oxygen.

Birds never have to stop to catch their breath or because they are winded.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a constant flow of oxygen?

You may see birds breathing from their mouth, but this is part of their cooling system.

Not because they are winded.

This time of year it is common to see birds with their mouth open.

Birds also breathe from their mouth when stressed or afraid.

Here is a basic diagram on a bird's respiratory system.


Once again, it is time to fly.

Do have a blessed week and remember to smile.

Smiles are free, yet they can be priceless

Until next time.

"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 enjoyed this letter, please feel free to forward it to friends and family.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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