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Gardens, the weather and more.
June 16, 2008

I'd like to say I had a wonderful Father's Day, but when it is your turn to work..............

Oh well, such is life.

Did you notice the Title "Gardening for Wildlife"?

Blue and Orange............

Opposite colors on the color wheel, yet they attract each other in a flower garden.

Yes, opposites do go well in a flower garden, the rich contrast can be stunning.

This can work with a number of color combinations.

You don't have to have everything with in the same color to look good.

Can you hardly stand it..........

June is half over already and the first official day of summer is later this week.

The weather has been up and down, warm, muggy and some rain. Sometimes lots of rain.

Thankfully, my small part of the country has managed to stay relatively safe.

Yet not to far North of here, Parts of Michigan received about 11 inches of rain in a single storm this past Thursday night/Friday morning, which caused considerable damage.

Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin and other regions can relate.

Our prayers go out to the ravaged areas and all the people affected.

Often we don't think of what others must be going through until it hits home.

The loss of homes and everytrhing a person owns.

We surely don't stop to think what floods can do to the land and wildlife.

How many baby birds, mammals etc. must drown or lose their families.

With all of its beauty, the natural world can be cruel as well.

I work hard at putting out this newsletter (though sometimes it may not seem so). I do though, and I want to thank all of you for your kind words, compliments and inspiration.

Especially when you consider me a friend of sorts.

I think we are friends.

You invite me into your house, we chat a bit, and maybe share a cup of cyber coffee or soda.

Some of you correspond with me on a regular basis and even share parts of your life with me.

I must thank you for spending your valuable time with me.

After all, there wouldn't be a newsletter with out you.

The picture to the right is the picture of mama duck when she was sitting on her nest at the garden center.

Forgive me, but I still take pictures the old fashion way.

With film........................

When the next roll is developed, I hope to have a picture or two of her and the babies.

With the heat and humidity, you can almost see and here corn and tomatoes grow.

Both are heavy feeders and require their share of water.

My evening walks with Keet are shorter in the hot weather. No matter how much she drinks, she still seems to over heat and I don't want my fir kid to have a heat stroke or anything like that.

When I return from our walk, I have a poodle pup waiting for me.

He is still timid on walks so they are short ones.

No matter, Keet doesn't miss a thing. She get so jealous, she will watch me walk away and wait for our return.

As soon as we are in the door, Keet has to scold Ziggy and then they chase each other around the house. Here is a recent picture of Keet and the poodle pup.

Thankfully they are small dogs.

Yolanda really enjoys her feeders, especially when a male Cardinal shows up.

Bless her heart, she will say to Karen and me how they always loved our yard and she will say this often.

For new readers, Yolanda is our special girl that is brain injured from an auto accident about 15 years ago.

She remembers everything before her accident like it was yesterday, but can't remember what happened a couple of minutes ago.

Birds continue to entertain and with the warm weather, butterflies are becoming more common and if you live near water, you may have a few dragon-flies drift through your habitat.

Mid June bring fire-flies and the night sounds of crickets.

Fire-fly larvae are welcomed in my yard, as they will feed off slugs.

In return, some species of fire-flies mimic light signals of other species to attract them and then eat them when they approach.

Nature can be very cruel.

Did you know, that with most species birds, (about 75% to 80% ) never make it to their first birthday.

After that, many of them can live to a ripe old age in bird years.

Robins, Jays, several species of Blackbirds can live up to 12 - 15 years.

Birds of prey can live twice that and more.

As habitat shrinks many of our bird populations are shrinking as well.

Without our help, many of our birds may be gone for good.

Your efforts in caring for birds and gardening for wildlife helps more than you may know.

Your suburban or city yard may be a safe haven between flyways.

Your rural habitats strengthen what is around you and attracts more birds and wildlife.

I've mentioned this before, we are stewards of our planet and what is around us. As a good steward, you are helping and an example for others.

It's that time for Japanese beetles.

Remember, instead of spraying toxic chemicals that can harm good insects and pollinators, consider using organic sprays with hot peeper in them.

4: O'clocks attract the beetle, yet toxins in the plant will make sure they don't leave.

Try and resist the beetle traps that are marketed so well.

While they do trap Japanese beetles, they attract more to your yard than the traps, trap.

If your aren't under water or had a recent soaking rain, Be sure to water slow a deep.

You want all of your plants, trees, shrubs etc. to put down deep roots and the only way they will put down a good deep system is to follow the moisture down.

When you water fast and shallow, roots tend to stay shallow and this stress all plants in hot dry times.

A deeper root system also strengthens all of your plantings.

It is much better to water once or twice a week and water deep than it is to water everyday with a shallow watering.

Often I hear from a customer has a lawn irrigation system and they think it is fine for their shrubs and trees.

It only scratches the surface and often make for a weaker planting.

Never put your plants to bed at night with wet foliage. I know natture doesn't have a time clock, but you do.

Anytime you water in the late evening or during the night, you are inviting fungus and other problems.

Fungus love damp conditions.

The best time to water if you can is right after sun rise.

There is less evaporation and water gets a chance to soak down deep without aiding fungus and other deseases.

Last week I asked you why you liked Gardening and or birds. a few of you took time out of your busy schedule to respond.

Here is what you had to say.

Debbie has this to say.

I think what I like most about gardening (in addition to the beauty of course) is watching the birds and butterflies.

I was so excited to have found a Robin nest in my Rhodie. Everyday I'd go by to say hello. It really was a joy for me, something I've always wanted...a nest in my yard!

Sadly, one day I found the next on the ground! The mom was nowhere to be seen and there was a dead baby bird on the ground.

It was so sad.

I've been there Debbie, to bad it had to be your first nest. As you can see, nature can be cruel.

Molly writes: My love of nature came to be from my Dad, he also passed his love of gardening to me.

Molly, is the love of gardening genetic? I often wonder if it is something passed through our genes. If so, what a wonderful gift it is and thank God for our parents

Steve in North Carolina: OK Ron you ask why we enjoy gardening.

I love growing anything I can find a place for.

I like growing flowers that hummingbirds are attracted to.

Its my dream to one day find a hummingbird nest while the birds are still using it.

I did find one a few years ago in my Mom's yard but it was in the fall after the leaves had fallen off the trees.

I also grow a vegetable garden. I dream all winter of what I'm going to grow in that garden. When the weather first begins to even slightly warm I'm ready to hit the garden and get a few things in the ground like onions.

My main reason I love my vegetable garden besides the obvious which is I love the fresh food which is much better than the stuff you buy in the stores.

Each spring after I get my garden full I take time to say a prayer. I ask God to bless my garden so that I will have extras for my family, friends and neighbors.

I really enjoy sharing the extras I always seem to have.

Steve, you are a lot like me when it comes to wanting to grow just about everything.

You are one up on me, I have yet to see any kind ohf hummer nest.

Through God, you found the secret to success my friend, and that is sharing.

Marti from Ohio:

I think I like the birds for the same reason-their freedom.

I like gardening for the simple fact of being outdoors!!

Marti, can you imagine what that must feel like, flap your wings and go just about anywhere, anytime. Yep, freedom. You goota love being outdoors in the fresh air and all of God's sights and sounds

Lisa, Cedar Hill, TN comments: I enjoy gardening for many reasonsÖ one of the most important is the way it puts me in touch with my inner gardening soul that was created by my father.

My Dad is the one who taught me to garden for nature. Our yard was home year round to birds, squirrels, chipmunks, frogs, toads, lizards and butterflies to name a few. We planned our vegetable garden every year knowing we were going to be feeding the deer and rabbits he hoped would visit.

He said we could always buy our produce at the market. He planted sunflowers just for the birds and we never had any berries to amount to much because he refused to net them. My mother could never understand why he kept planting new blueberry and strawberry bushes just for his critters (as she called them). Our yard became a baby bird hatchery every spring.

Dad would point out the nests in the various trees and bushes to me and tell me to be careful & quiet in the ďbaby zonesĒ until they hatched. Every time he heard of a tree, shrub or plant that was especially attractive to birds off he would go to find one for our yard. Over the years the lawn area shrunk and shrunk until we just had a small area of grass that was easily mowed in an hour.

I didnít have any siblings to play with but I was never lonely or bored in our yard. To this day my favorite place to be is outside with nature. My childhood home has been sold now but it looks pretty much the same. Iím sure the new owners and their nature friends are still enjoying the nature sanctuary my father created.

My father is 76 now and lives in Florida and is still gardening for nature, just on a smaller scale and with different visitors. His doctor says he has the body and mind of a 60 year old and Iím positive it is largely because of his care of nature. It keeps you young and busy!

I didnít realize this was going to come out as a tribute to my Dad, but that is really what it is. This Fatherís Day Iím going to be sure and tell him what a wonderful lifelong gift he gave me all those years ago.

Lisa, A wonderful tribute to a wonderful man. It sounds like you and dad are very proud of each other. God Bless You.

Mel in Wyoming:

Why do I enjoy gardening?

I always wonder that too. I think its because my parents instilled it in me. They loved the soil...they would compliment the earth with gratitude.

They would spend hours tilling the soil and planting. The green house was built from scraps of old buildings, but to me it was a magnificent building in progress.

The love they had for these things was instilled in me. I try to carry on with the same respect. I love to watch things take hold and root and grow.

Its a miracle to see a tiny seed grow into something bigger. It is total relaxation to me to go into my yard and weed.

Its a time of peace and reflection.

As for the birds....I really dont know when my love for birds started. But my Mother would throw her left over sourdough pancakes on the garage roof top.

The kitchen windows overlooked the roof top. It was fun to watch the magpies snatch the pancakes and would take off and would have to land because they were too heavy. We would get a chuckle over that. I was very young then.But loved to watch the birds.

After I got married, one of our neighbors would feed the birds. She had every bird visit her place. She could name them and tell you all about their species. I found her knowlege enjoyable. We later moved 1hour away from town.. We had the river run beside our property....The birds were many. I checked out a book from the library and studied the different birds and what they enjoyed eatting.

The kids and I would watch the different varieties of birds. I found the busstop (which was 40 minutes away) was enjoyable to travel to. Early mornings we seen many birds. Our favorite was the mountain bluebirds.

I still love the birds. My family find me addicted to the birds.... But I am starting to rub off. I have seen them picking up the binoculars and feeding the birds...So like myself I hope that my love for the land and birds has rubbed off on my children who are now teenagers. It is something in the sould that is hard to explain...but I feel grateful to my Heavenly Father that I can stop and enjoy these simple things that he has given me.

I am grateful for my eyesite that I can see these things to. Many of us take these things for granted.

Mel, you are so right about the miracle of a seed. Isn't it neat how birds can become a part of our life, like much of nature and we don't realize it at the time.

It is so cool to hear about all the wonderful parents out there.

Fred and Karla from Ompah, Onatario write:

I would love to get a Flower Garden going in our Area , we have mostly Shade to partial Shade us we live in the Sugar Bush us they call it around here , it is mostly Maple Trees ..

We do have quite a collection of Birds us we feed them all Year , Hummingbirds when they first show up in May till about the 15th. of September ..

We also feed Turkeys here , had 14 of them all Winter , what fun they are ..

Bear and Deer are not uncommon in our Area also ..

If You have any suggestions of what we could plant it would be highly appreciated.

Karla, "Gardening For Wildlife" is always glad to help if we can. I hope some of the plant ideas gave you a good start. Please write again.

Gardeners have to start somewhere and it is at the beginning where we learn from others and our own mistakes.

It sounds like you have some nice birds, but you can keep the bear.

Well, there you have it.

If others would like to share, we would love to puplish it.

I enjoy reading about you and I know everyone else enjoys to hear about a fellow nature lover.


Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your thought of the week.

He who smiles rather than rages is always the stronger.

Japanese Proverb

How about that, A smile is stronger.

So all those smiles you've been sharing with others are making you stronger.

Pretty cool huh?

So, keep smiling and remember to share them.

When you get angry, smile...............

It's good for you.

Maybe think of Romans 12:19

Until next time my friend

"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 recieve their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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