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Gardening For Wildlife, #22 Tidbits and news
July 02, 2007

The year is half over already, where does the time go?

Our great Neighbor to the North Celebrated a birthday of sorts on Sunday.

That's right.


Of course,

The United States of America celebrates her birthday this Wednesday (July 4th).


Please be careful on holiday or vacations this week and throughout the summer.

I must report that the ground did get wet this past Wednesday.

Not enough rain to call measurable, but enough to actually give the surface that wet look.

Yes, there were storms that popped up elsewhere, but not here.

You know it's getting dry, when the weeds begin to droop.

The stress is showing on the local trees and in the fields.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago about smaller fruits in the wild.

Well, these fruits are drying up to nothing.

Even the birds have left them to whither on the plants.

Storms are in the forecast for the 4th of July so we will see.

The past few days have been spectacular.

Temperatures in the mid 70's and low 80's with low humidity.

Nights have been cool.

So cool, that Parts of Michigan's upper peninsula had temperatures in the 20's

There goes there gardens.

Can you stand it?

Frost in late June.

Many of you know there are several ponds and a wetland near my homestead.

On the other side of the pond nearest to me is a wooded area and a creek runs through it.

At woods edge is a nice snag (dead tree) with several branches.

A popular hangout for many of the local birds.

Akita and I make sure we walk that way on a regular basis.

One day last week all at the same time sharing the snag was a male Northern cardinal, a male Gray catbird singing his tune, Downy woodpecker and a Northern flicker.

A nice Kodak moment( wish I had mine at that time). A couple of doves joined the party before birds dispersed.

A keep spooking a female Yellow warbler.

She seem to have a nest in a willow thicket.

A pleasant surprise for me.

On another day, two Green herons used the tree as a stop off.

We watched them for several minutes and listened to the squawks.

I can't say I've ever seen two of them at one time before, possibly juveniles or a parent teaching a youngster.

Herons are lone feeders.

When I see three Great blue herons fly over, I assume it is a family on a training mission.

Yes, there is always something to see and hear if we take the moment to do so.

Sometimes it takes a purposeful moment to stop and watch.

Even if you must visit a preserve or park.

Do so, it is wonderful training for your senses and how relaxing as well. heard of this universal law.....

For every action, there is an equal or greater reaction.

What a blessing it is to hear and see God's creatures.

I would call that a much greater reaction, wouldn't you?

A possible heads up.

The distributor that supplies the nursery/garden center where I'm at has given a short advance notice on the cost of Black oil sunflower seed.

Yep, expect a big cost increase around the second or third week of July.

Seeds are a commodity and of course supply and demand can dictate prices.

The word is this.

The potato chip market and others that cook in oil are scooping up sunflowers for the oil.

Hey, no "Trans fats".

Add that to fewer acres of sunflowers planted this spring (corn for ethanol gas).

I'm hoping the market will ride the storm.

Let's hope so.

I will stock up just incase.

If I hear anything different, I will let you know.

Until then, you can still feed the birds.

Simply train them to your schedule.

Make sure to keep plenty of fresh water and plant with birds in mind.

In The Yard and Garden.

Be sure to raise your lawn mower if you haven't by now.

Mowers should be at the highest setting.

I know, it may not look as manicured, but it is healthier for your lawn all the way around.

Less moisture is lost when the grass is longer (less watering).

Longer grass helps in choking out weeds that want to take hold.

When watering your lawn, it should be done in the early daylight hours.

Night watering can promote fungus and other troubles.

Watering in the first half of the day allows for proper drying and minimizes fungus a chance of getting a foot hold.

The same goes for your flowers, Water in the first half of the day.

Ground water if possible.

Annuals work hard and they offer color from spring to killing frosts.

To keep them working hard, proper water and feeding are needed.

But that isn't enough.

Deadhead your annuals as often as possible.

In fact, if you dare, pinch off a few of the buds to encourage more growth and more blooms a few weeks down the road.

Annuals a pretty.

I wouldn't have a garden without the season long colors.

But annuals have one thing in mind.

to reproduce and die.

Yes, when they go to seed, they think they have done their job and the plant peter's out.

When we deadhead, the plant tells itself it must keep blooming. If it doesn't bloom some more, it wont pass on to next years seeds and another generation.

Some season long blooming perennials are much the same way.

Gaillardia (blanket flower) and Coreopsis (tick seed) are a couple of perennials that continue to bloom if they haven't gone to seed and slow down or stop blooming all together if they go to seed.

By September I let them go to seed for the wildlife.

Until then, I deadhead and I am rewarded with a season long show. (Plus I get hummers and all kinds of butterflies.)

I like bright colors.

Colors bring the gardens to life and annuals offer a wide variety of colors.

Red salvia.

Zinnias in just about every color in the rainbow.

Marigolds in vivid yellows and oranges.

Impatiens galore.





The list goes on.

Many of these flowers offer nectar for hummers and butterflies

They offer seed for birds later on.

Flowers attract other insects that attract birds as well.

We aren't planting just for us, we are gardening for wildlife.

Annuals also offer protection for young birds and small mammals.

They offer shade for toads and salamanders.

Isn't gardening GREAT?

By September, annuals are at a show stopping peak.

Hey, it's the first of the month.

The first brings a reminder to clean your feeders well and make sure you include a good scrubbing of your birdbaths.

Japanese beetles are the scourge of any garden.

I'm not a big fan of pesticides, but here is a case where selective use may be needed.

Hand picking is ideal.

Early morning or evening seems to be the best time for picking.

A container of hot soapy water is the weapon of choice here.

Beetle traps seem to attract more bugs. Caution is the word here.

Place your traps as far away from plants as possible and don't place two traps close together. The pheromones will only confuse the beetles and they will stay in the middle.

When using pesticides, please remember to keep it off the flowers. Pesticides kill bees, butterflies and other pollinators we need.

Because Japanese beetles are a non native, there isn't a natural control when they are insects.

Birds aren't to fond of them.

Though starlings they have been known to scarf down Japanese beetles.

I do have some 4:O clocks planted. I understand they are supposed to attract these beetles and kill them off.

I'll keep you posted.

I managed to finish LIFE CYCLE OF A BUTTERFLY

You may find a couple of interesting tidbits.

Life Cycle of a Butterfly

Say, I haven't done a favorite birds in a long time.

Readers that have been with me for some time know what I'm referring to.

Do you have a favorite bird or birds and why.

For example:

My favorite bird is the Black-capped chickadee.

Besides being so darn cute, they are probably the friendliest bird around. They seem to have a trust in humans.

My second favorite bird is the American robin. Not because it is my state bird or because it is the harbinger of spring.

I do like that and I enjoy their song immensely. However, I admire their courage.

What other bird defends the nest and fledglings like a robin?

If it was a large bird, it could put the hurt on someone.

Yes, I admire the parenting skills and protection of robins.

Come on everyone....................

Let's get some favorite birds that I can publish.

Give me your favorite bird, your first name along with your city and state or province.

My British friends, I would like to hear about your birds too.

If you've given me a bird before, that's okay. Give it again.

Everyone enjoys favorite birds

Well, that's the mixed bag for the week.

It's time to fly for now.

Wear your smiles

Think of all we have to be thankful for?

Can you smile now?

I know I can.

When I'm having a pitty party moment, I can think of what I'm thankful for and I smile.

Share your smile with others.

Make their day or confuse them.

Either way, you shared yours.

As always, have a blessed week.

"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 pass them on to friends and family members. Encourage them to sign up for their copy.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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