The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream

Lenten Mid-week Services, Wednesdays -
7 PM Central Daylight Savings Time
NT Greek Lessons - Thursdays, 7 PM.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

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

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Signs of LIfe in the Yard - Deplorable Plants Are Greening Up.
Winter Leaves and Spring Returns

Creeping Charlie - Jill Over Ground -
mint family.

We have a running joke about the garbage can police fining us for leaving the bin out front too long. I pull out ours and the Wright one and return them, lest the constable take action against us. I was rolling my neighbor's garbage can back when I looked down to see Creeping Charlie (Jill over the Ground) green and growing in his yard.

Creeping Chalrlie is a mint that fills in the gaps in lawns. My first Google return on the plant was a post on how to get rid of it.

This plant flowers in March, so its purpose should be obvious. Flowers are relatively rare in March, but bees are coming out to feed. They depend on the pollen from deplorable plants, the ones everyone tries to remove from their precious monoculture lawns.

February still promises freezing nights, but March 1 predictions have our temperatures above freezing all month. April may be like early summer.

In the meantime, various persistent wild flowers grow up and bloom in lawns not visited by broad-leaf weed killer. The tiny flowers hurt no one and feed the beneficial insect population.

Clover makes nitrogen compounds while growing,
contributes nitrogen when covered with mulch.


Last year, the heavy rains altered plant growth in Springdale. One result was having lawns packed with Dutch white clover. I was delighted. If I had to cover a section for more gardening, clover was the best kind of compost to develop in place before planting. If left in the sun to flower and seed, it was good for insects and birds alike.

 This is an easy-to-grow herb,
not a weed. Birds covet the fluff.


What about dandelions? We had one bloom in December. I never pull them out now, because they

  • bring up minerals from below, including calcium, 
  • provide seed fluff for birds' nests and 
  • pollen for flying insects. 
  • Their greens are delicious and packed with nutrition for us humans. 

Clay soil is the best for ion exchange but always needs more organic material for the soil creatures to use - lightening up the heaviness of clay. Everything growing

  1. sends roots into the soil, opening tunnels up for rain and worm,
  2. encourages root fungus, and 
  3. rains plant material down on top for the wee little creatures below.
 By Norma Boeckler



Do rotting leaves really help the living plants? They must go somewhere. The fool says in his heart, "I must rake and haul away the leaves." I look for those stalwarts of gardening from the 1950s. They provide me with hundreds of pounds of free organic fertilizer (minus some labor costs). We count bags of leaves by the dozen each year, and most are gone by the end of summer. We covered the bird feeding area with cardboard, then with leaves, and now with more leaves.

  By Norma Boeckler


Bird-feeding takes place outside our bedroom picture window. A tall Butterfly Bush provides a waiting room for them, a screen for us. They also use the swing I built for them. They hop onto the hanging feeder all day -

  1. Chickadees
  2. Sparrows
  3. Starlings
  4. Cardinals
  5. Finches
  6. Doves.
The squirrels have their own distant hanging feeder, which the birds raid, a subtle reminder to the tree rodents: "How do you like robbery?"

Bird feeding is enhanced by four bird-baths and the large area of leaves rotting into the cardboard beneath the leaves. Birds need plenty of raw meat for their babies, so they have a large area where earthworms, beetles, and various creature of rot surface in their endless labor. Leaves feed the soil creatures and give them away, moving and rustling. 

Vantage points - stumps and lower bush branches - give the birds a safe elevated point for listening, watching, and pouncing on the food they must gather for the nest. They do not leave without their own donations of droppings and seed, contributing to the cycle of growth. 

Birds love pokeberries and plant them. They eat the early-blooming wild strawberries and plant them. Blackberries are delicious, so they eat and plant them. Meanwhile, the beneficial insects feed from those berry flowers.



Wild strawberries impress me with two qualities. One is that they spread in the deepest shade behind our home, as long as they get moisture. Second - they flower and fruit so early in the season. All this takes place for birds, bees, and insects without my planning or work.

All I can do is enhance what has already been created, engineered, and managed by God - for mutual benefit among all living things and for enjoyment and beauty.

The predators also prosper. More than once I have seen a cat apparently frozen to the ground, waiting for a bird to land. Large hawks stop by the maple tree to scout for food - rabbits are numerous and well fed in the Creation Garden.

 Cow Vetch grows on its own in my yard.
The plant enriches the soil, feeds bumblebees and butterflies.
Budgies love the seed.
Tear it down? Why?


Doncha just hate crab grass? I used to loathe crab grass for its promiscuous seeding and spreading. I realized several things from dealing with it:
  1. The plant was brought over for growing grain - and escaped.
  2. If mowing is a hobby, mowing crab grass will keep it under control.
  3. Weed-killer just opens up a bare spot in the lawn or garden, pretty ridiculous, like burning down a house to remove a spider. The spider will return to the rubble and feast anyway.
  4. Covering crab grass with cardboard and mulch will make a good gardening area.
  5. Birds and other creatures eat seed, so the seeds have value.


  By Norma Boeckler