Monday, January 21, 2008


The sun sign has changed.
We are in the days of Aquarius.

The southeast wind is keeping me inside
even though the temperatures are in the upper twenties.
Freezing drizzle is to fall this afternoon.

Seed catalogs have been arriving all month.
I brought out my order book from last year.
It is time for me to decide what I will plant in 2008.

I have been asking myself the hard question,
"Why do I garden?"
I have written a list.
Last year's early Spring
followed by the heavy April freeze changed me.
Mother Nature taught me to plant native.
She showed how to plant for the butterflies and for the birds.
She gave me a new reason to garden.

I must be honest with myself.
I still want tomatoes and zucchini for my dinner table.
I still want spinach and lettuces.

As I think and plan the gardens I can give up the desire for the blue ribbon, sterile flowers. I can help maintain the bio-diversity of my native plants. I can replace some lost habitat for the butterflies and birds. There is still room for the vegetables and some lawn can be planted with little bluestem, Savannah Sparrows would like that.

I may not be able to bring back the prairie or the Bison but I can plant Paw-paw for the Zebra Swallowtails and a Prickly Ash for the Giant Swallowtails. Even though the books say they are unattractive bushes.

I can be a different kind of steward.
The dandelions reseed. I do not need to buy seed.


smilnsigh said...

The wind and temps are keeping you inside. Freezing drizzle is coming. And you are planning your garden and asking questions like; "Why do I garden?" I love it. You have the perfect plan, for such a not-perfect sounding day.

But then, I know... Mother Nature does not deal in not-perfect days, really. To us, they may seem so. But... we have only been around for a small number of years, compared to Her. :-)


meggie said...

The dandelions to indeed seed unaided! Our lawn is full of them, to Gom's disgust. I don't mind them, & am ever mindful they too have a purpose in the scheme of things. Their deep roots often bring minerals up from the depths of the earth.
Lovely to be planning a garden with produce included.

Q said...

Dear Mari-Nanci,
I have chosen three places to get plants and seeds this year. I am working on finding enviromentally conscience companies to do my business with. As much as possible I would like to buy locally. I support businesses that have sustainable business practices.
I also would like to plant a few hedges for more nesting and cover for the birds. My front yard will have to become more "naturalized". As the flowerbeds become bird and butterfly habitat my weeding grows less and less.
It is a cold, grey day. Just right for planning for spring.

Q said...

Dear Meggie,
Often the dandelion is the only flower in the yard that is in bloom. They provide nectar for some butterflies. The leaves are "greens" and high in nutrition.
I have never gathered the greens and every year I think I will. This year, once again, I think I shall try them.
My husband always digs the dandelions out of the lawn. I grow a few in the flower beds. I am letting go of, "What will the neighbors think." Now I ask myself, "Is it good for the butterflies or the birds?"
I let poke weed grow last year and the birds loved the berries. Slowly I am going wild.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Hi Sherry, I often wonder why I garden. I just have to. My gardening style has changed over the years but still I must garden.

This year I want to incorporate a few veggies into my garden.

I think you will find that paw paws are interesting trees. They are sort of sculptural. I have tried to get them started a couple of times. I might have to resort to a nursery rather than taking them from a friends woods.

I don't know anything about the ash tree. We have an ash tree in our garden but I don't know what kind it is. It makes lots of little seedlings from the millions of seeds it produces.

I too have been thinking about the garden. I don't have any seed catalogs but I have been going through the file I keep of pretty or inspiring pictures I have torn out of the many magazines I get. It has been fun. I threw away many of these pictures. Funny how your tastes change over the years. I still have some pictures from 1989. Maybe I haven't changed all that much. tee hee...

Tumblewords: said...

Encouraging post! The world here is white - the ground and trees are white - I'm glad to know you have color and enthusiasm for spring!

Q said...

Dear Lisa,
Last year I planted one paw-paw bush. I hope to get a few more this spring. I bought mine from a local native plant nursery. I also planted twenty spice bushes last year. The Prickly Ash is a bush-tree sort of plant. Like the paw-paw they are host plants for butterflies. I am hoping the leaves will be all eaten up. LOL
I also have been gardening for 35 years. My gardens have changed too over the years. This change is the most dramatic of all. Restoring habitat means a "wilder" looking garden. I do seed to seed so I have lots of perching spots for the birds. Now I need more understorey for more nesting and protection. I need more duff!
We do dream of Spring on cold January days.

Anonymous said...

That is my kind of gardening! I agree that tomatoes and cucumbers are nice, but most of my space is for the birds and butterflies.

I haven't started my seed list this year, guess I need to get out my catalogs.

Chrissie said...

Dear Sherry, I hope to attract more butterflies this year. Last summer was poor and we had so few in our garden. I love to see what you plant to attract them to your garden. The rudbeckias I bought last year have gone, I dont think they will come back again. This year I will try to plant native like you. Here's to birds and bees and butterflies :-)

Q said...

Dear Sue,
I so enjoyed your video and your Haiku. You do have snow!
I am thinking about what to plant this coming season. I do miss the butterflies and dreaming about them takes the chill off the day for me.
Day dreams build hope. No freezing drizzle yet, maybe it went around.

Q said...

Dear Sandi,
Native plants are the best!
I do not need zinnias that look like mums, I have mums. LOL
Glad to know another garden is providing habitat. Milkweed is beautiful as is Blazing Star. Where would I be without the Bee Balm? Last year I had so many different butterflies in the gardens just by letting nature do what was best. I did add a few native bushes and plants.
In just a couple more months the landscape will change and spring will come.
I am looking forward to the return of the butterflies.

Q said...

Dear Chris,
I bet there is a native plant guide for your area. I also bet there is some way of learning what host plants and nectar plants the butterflies in your area need. I am not familiar with the birds and butterflies of the UK.
I am so excited to know you also are planting native and for the birds and butterflies. One garden at a time we can make a huge difference!
Oh Chris, the bees will be back soon. I miss the bees. I miss the butterflies. You already have frogs! I like frogs.
I will do some research and see if I can find out about your butterflies.

PAT said...

Sounds lovely, Sherry. They say we are to have freezing rain and possibly snow tonight and tomorrow.

We're working indoors. J will be happy to see Spring approaching, so he can do some "yard work".

I love dandelion bouquets, picked by tiny hands.

Mary said...

Sherry, I loved this post - from your heart and mind.

You inspire me. I have a catalog of native plants in NC. It will be all native this year - little by little every year. I want more butterflies, too.

Hugs and a wink,

~Red Tin Heart~ said...

I can't wait to plant my garden. I look forward to doing it every year about this time too. Have a great night. xoxo Nita

Q said...

Dear Pat,
The freezing drizzle did come to my house as frezzing mist. By early morning it was gone. No accumultion but we do have bitterly cold temperatures. I think this system is headed your way.
Inside projects are best now. Spring will come and once again we will be outside in the dirt. I hope you will consider planting native palnts this year. There are so many beautiful flowers that are native to Missouri. Maintaining our native plant life is a concern as more and more habitat is being distroyed by development.
Stay safe and warm,

Q said...

Dear Mary,
Yeah! for native plants.
The butterflies will love you!
Many of the nursery plants are sterile. Once I gave up the "show" gardens and went with the "food" gardens many butterflies came. You will enjoy the ease of the native plants and the beauty.
The birds love the natives too. Watching the Gold Finches get seed from the cone flowers is so fun. Much nicer than Gold Finches on the feeders. The Cardinals love the sunflowers too. Lots of butterflies like the flowers and the birds take care of the seed. Sometimes there is even a few seed left for us! Life is easy when we work WITH Mother Nature.
I know you will enjoy the natives and the butterflies. Hummingbirds like native too. As do bees! I miss the bugs.
Spring and Summer will be so fun. I am excited for your gardens.

Q said...

Dear Nita,
What kind of gardening do you do?
I like companion planting. I love the way the plants work together.
I also like seed to seed. I enjoy collecting my seed each year autumn.
It is fun to think and plan and look forward.