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For The Birds

I was absentmindedly browsing through some internet articles last night when a rather bizarre fact caught my attention. According to. BirdCast which is published by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 443,900 birds crossed over Missouri the night of November 6, 2023 and a total of 5,788,600 birds were in flight. The random fact immediately sparked so many questions:  How do they know the number of birds flying across an entire state on any given day?  What kind of birds were they?  Where were they from?  Where were they going? How far does a migrating bird travel in a day? Being an avid armchair birdwatcher, I couldn’t resist digging just a little deeper to find some answers to my questions . What I found both saddened and encouraged me. 

November's To-Do List

It never ceases to amaze me how much work there is left to do in my gardens in November. Even though the blooms are long gone and the foliage is a squishy shade of greenish-gray, I need to motivate myself to bundle up, get outside and get to work. There are 10 chores that, if done now, will make my spring garden thrive.

Non-native and Invasive: Same or Different?

As soon as I hit the send button last week, I realized that there was more to think about in our look at native plants.  We need to discuss invasive plants vs. non-native, or introduced, plants. It seems there's confusion about which plants are safe to use in the landscape and which aren’t. 

What Is A Native Plant, Really?

Our library system periodically hosts adult Ed programs for the community. The other night there was one about turning your turf lawn into a - and I quote the presenter here - a native paradise for pollinators. Figuring he knew more than I did (ours is three years old and far from a paradise), I settled in to learn. 

Bats - Not Just for Halloween

My granddaughter, the same one who schooled me about moths, is now fascinated with bats. Among other things, I gave her a bat abode for her 8th birthday thinking she would keep her stuffed bats in it. (Yes, there really are bat “stuffies”!).  When she unwrapped it, you would have thought she had received a priceless treasure. What surprised me even more though, was how excited her dad was about the gift. He immediately went outside and walked around the house to figure out where it would hang. 

Beyond Butterfly Milkweed

I spend A LOT of time at a nearby native plant nursery. (Let’s just say that they love to see my car pull up! ) it’s not just a great place to buy plants, but it’s also a great place to learn about natives from the experts. The staff are knowledgeable, enthusiastic and remarkably patient with those of us who are learning. I didn’t realize how patient they were until I overheard this exchange. 

The Mid-Summer Garden

My flower gardens were at their peak. They had plenty of spring rain to push lush growth and the warmth of consistent sunny days is producing bloom after bloom. My hibiscus blossoms were as big as dinner plates, my bright red pentas  the delight of the local hummingbirds and butterflies  flocked to my zinnias. It was the fleeting time of year gardeners celebrate.

National Moth Week

This past week was National Moth Week.  Don’t feel badly if you missed it - I didn’t pick up on it until Thursday. Even then I have to admit I was skeptical; my perception of moths was somewhat negative.  Either they hung around the porch lights at night making nuisances of themselves or they took bites out of sweaters –  expensive wool sweaters.  I just couldn’t feature why moths needed to be celebrated for an entire week!