|My Butterfly Weed looked like this a few days ago. I should have known its cousin would produce similar pods.|
|Today I was startled to see pods on one plant, looking just like Milkweed pods. I told our helper - "Milkweed sells out fast in the spring, because Monarchs need it to lay their eggs."|
The collars are so useful and flexible that I am using them all the time instead of putting them away. They protect against weed-eaters and also hold mulch and newsprint in place when the plant is starting.
|Creation methods are simple - I placed all the organic matter I could find under the bush, including piles of dead leaves and grass, mushroom compost, and wood mulch. I prune often and water every so often.|
"You trimmed your Crepe Myrtle flowers away," one observed. "Yes I did. They were going to seed. Most people enjoy one bloom and let it go. I prune every bloom off, once they are done, and get an entire new set of blooms." I found a few more to trim off the top and saw the entire plant was packed with buds forming.
|By Norma A. Boeckler|
I continue to wait for Joe Pye to bloom. The senior plant is now 7 feet tall, the buds tantalizing me. All the Joe Pye will bloom at once soon, with butterflies and beneficial insects all over them. Already the Mountain Mint is attracting insects, not to mention Cat Mint and Shasta Daisies. I enjoy the insect life as much as the flowers.
To expand the mulching, we threw down newspapers around each newly weed-eaten rose. The collars were good in isolating plants almost swamped by the grassy weeds. We circled each rose collar with newspapers and poured wood mulch on the paper to keep paper down and moisture in the soil. Touching up will include a little more trimming of grass inside (also pulling it out) and added mulch. Ideally, each plant will be growing up from mulch alone.
Larger grassy areas can be carpeted with cardboard and newspapers, covered with mulch. Pine needles work well too, and we get those free next door. They hate them - we covet them for the area around the maple tree.
|By Norma A. Boeckler|
Sitting on the ground - or mulch - I see a lot more of the rose bush, so I trim away dead wood and trim the branches. Every snip of the shears will active the rose above and the roots below. I pointed that out to my helper, who got some roses and Crepe Myrtles from our abundance.
The plants are always surprising me. A dill grew up in the midst of the grass and it was spared. Dill seed from a plant will volunteer much better than from a seed packet. I spotted a tiny seed packet of dill at WM today - $1.98. Haha. I have that free at home. I will scatter that in sunny areas and hope it volunteers the way Buckwheat does: forever, and ever, and ever, and ever.
Ranger Bob looked over the backyard and said, "You have what you wanted, a green wall of vegetation." That did not happen by accident. I created a ground-level wall of logs from the tree trimming which he did for me. The birds perched on the logs and planted their favorite foods. Someone suggested using a wire stretched across the yard for the same result, but I imagined it tripping someone up. The logs will rot into the ground and add to its fertility, meanwhile providing shelter for bugs and food stations for toads.
Lightning bugs are the adults of the heralded glow-worm. Adults and juveniles prey upon snails and slugs, and my yard was once the Fantasy Island for slugs. Other beneficial creatures keep down slugs, too, but I was glad to see lightning bugs flitting around in the yard. Some think they are relatively rare, but perhaps they are the ones who "spray for mosquitoes" and "treat the lawn for ants."
Creation Gardening allows God's creatures to do their work in overlapping regiments of eaters who are eaten. Whatever lives obtains nourishment from its surroundings, and that life is eaten or decomposed by something else. The end result - as one book so eloquently explained - is to keep an endless cycle of usable nutrition in the soil. Nothing is lost if nothing is poisoned.
Is it an accident that bees work around me and never sting? The birds call out for me. The level of bird calls goes up as soon as I step out the door. Leaving things alone (no toxins, no chemical fertilizers, no tillers) will accomplish quite a lot.
|By Norma A. Boeckler|
Enhancing how Creation can work - as designed - is a constant delight. Some things worth trying:
- Making extra watering places for the birds and creatures, kept fresh.
- Buying solar pump to keep the water moving, which attracts animals.
- Leaving logs and stumps on the ground, to create a decomposition zone where bugs and worms gather, toads take cover, birds perch.
- Saving paper and cardboard for mulch.
- Borrowing leaves from neighbors and never giving them back, except as roses and other flowers.
- Stopping the car to take home bags of autumn leaves. First they call you crazy; later they call for gardening advice.
- Chatting up a neighbor with pine needles on the ground.
- Mulching with dead grass, dead weeds.
- Gardening for beneficial insects.
- Setting aside the sunniest area for butterflies.
I read this question about growing roses. "All my friends are going organic for their roses. I keep using rose fertilizer on mine and I am getting terrible results. Should I switch to organic methods?"
|Queen Elizabeth, developed by a Lutheran Creationist.|
Queen Elizabeth's private gardens use no man-made toxins, and naturalists find it to be a paradise where rare species find a home and flourish.