The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

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email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
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and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hot and Cold Plants - The Cold Is Winning at the Moment


Nothing shows the management skills of the Creator as well as the cycle of growth based on rain, snow, heat, and cold.

On one end, kale tolerates cold and even stays green and fresh under the snow. Carrots in ground and Brussels sprouts grow sweeter with a frost. Hardy bulbs require a winter freeze, emerging through snow (crocus, and some small bulbs), but tender bulbs like gladioli need to be gathered up in the Fall for winter storage.

When the warmth and sunlight plants are pouting and not growing, roses enjoy growing in cold weather and drizzly days. They would rather not be cooked on the South side of the house or be beaten down as the blazing sun sets in the West. I pruned last years's roses back by 50% and they regained that growth before bursting into buds and blooms by Mother's Day.

This year the cold-loving peas and the moderate roses are starring in the garden. Tomatoes are just starting to blossom, so fruit may form with some sunny days, a promise not yet fulfilled. Tomatoes are stubborn. If it is too hot or too cold, they will blossom without setting fruit.

These delicate, tiny jewels are all over my yard now,
growing in the grass and along the margins of the garden.
Wild strawberries flower and fruit early.


Meanwhile, wild and domesticated strawberries bloom and form fruit with abandon, in the cold, in the rain.

Sweet corn insists on warm soil, and pumpkins are even fussier, which may be good for all of us. "Without frost, pumpkins would take over the world." I am not sure if the cold is keeping the corn from sprouting, after almost two weeks, or if the squirrels decided I was storing their food underground.

Imagine pumpkins germinating early and growing past a light frost. We would need machetes to get around the garden.

Reach for Mulch Instead of Spray - Add Rainwater ICU
I usually get some insect damage on the leaves of new, small, tender leaves. Even sunflowers have to get past the pests when first growing. As soon as I planted the Passion Flower vines, insects attacked the leaves, and each one only had two leaves for starters.

I did a slow burn as I looked at one leaf on each, mangled and chewed. The first thought - bug spray - but I overcame the urge. Instead, I got a fresh bag of shredded cypress mulch out, poured it on, and pulled the excess away from the plant. A hill of mulch sat guarding the plants. The next day I poured rainwater on the plants and the mulch. Something glistened in the mulch - spider webs. Spiders love to set up shop in wood mulch.

Additional stored rainwater means the creatures of rot will take over, and God will sort out the right quantity of each one.

Ichneumon wasps look like large gnats
but they are powerful assistants in the garden.
Put down the spray and pick up a beneficial insects book, puhleeze.


Once a chaplain said, "I helped my son identify birch trees for his scouting badge. After that I was shocked at how many birch trees grew everywhere I looked." The same is true for beneficial bugs. When we learn how they work and what they look like, their population (in our eyes) grows exponentially.

I bought an e-book about an early researcher of parasitic wasps - The Snoring Bird. I was looking at our roses when - buzz - there was a tiny ichneumon wasp.

Papa spent two very strenuous years in his quest for the secretive snoring bird in Celebes (now Sulawesi) while also hunting for his beloved ichneumon wasps— strange and exotic creatures that became something like family icons for us, as they had, in many ways, determined the trajectory of our lives as he pursued them at great cost over several continents. My Snoring Bird is the story of that path,

Heinrich, Bernd (2008-12-24). The Snoring Bird (Kindle Locations 87-90). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition. 

The wasp damaged Charles Darwin's view of the Creator, since he felt strongly about a bug that purposely let its young grow by feeding on living pests. That change of heart illustrates the blindness of rationalism. What should have strengthened his view of Creation knocked him off course, so he argued for mindless, senseless, random change instead. Darwin also shows how a man with great patience and observational powers could gather mountains of data and come to wrong conclusions.

Darwin missed the boat with earthworms too. He studied them for 40 years and wrote a fine book on the topic. Yes, I had that in my organic gardening library. He was so thorough that no one else studied them and wrote them up for the longest time.  But Darwin saw them as soil movers, not soil improvers.

Passion Flower vines give us maypops as fruit.