Sunday, March 25, 2012

What Is Your Garden Telling You?



Icelandic Poppy

Today I studied the leaves of my big flower I showed you yesterday. It IS definitely a mum. The leaves on a dahlia are totally different. Interesting, as I am planning a blog on mums as there are so many you simply can't believe they are all the same genus!

Waiting for that pesky rain, but have a wind advisory now until Monday, and boy, were they right! It's blowing big time here! And, ah! as I glance out my window I see the rain has arrived. Perfect timing as I am doing my bananafofana after the rain stops. I dug my holes already and got down my juicer. So, I will be ready!

Planted two beautiful yellow and two beautiful red Asiatic lilies this morning. Probably won't get to enjoy them 'til next year though.; But, onward to my goal of having over a thousand bulbs planted!

Our tulips that bloomed without a stem have now grown a stem underneath the flower! A little backwards but with all this weird weather, poor things don't have a choice. 

Many times I have mentioned how we listen to our garden. Most people would think that meant pretty bird calls, or crickets chirping at night. Although there is that, there are much more things your garden can tell you, if you learn to listen.

Phenology is the science of appearances. Learning to listen to your garden can let you know which plants signal garden priorities. Basically, phenology is the science of learning the clues Mother Nature puts out.

For example, once the forsythia begins to bloom, it's time to attack the crabgrass. Are your apple blossoms falling? Yes, it's time to fertilize the lawn. Are the dogwood trees in flower? Time to set out tomatoes.

Phenology makes us much more aware of our environment. Associating gardening tasks with flowering times is a cool way to look at how nature really functions.

Phenology blends science with legend. It charts plant and animal development, and how those are influenced by climate change over long periods of time. It also includes observations of people who have worked the earth for generations.

For example, scientists know that the soil temperature must reach at least 35 degrees F before onions and lettuce seeds will germinate; But a downhome gardener who has worked their land for generations may put it this way: "When fishermen are sitting on the riverbank instead of on their bait buckets, the soil is warm enough to plant."
Here's some other natural markers:

  • Plant potatoes when the first dandelions bloom, and peas when the daffodils flower
  • Transplant eggplant, melons and peppers when the irises bloom
  • Start watching for squash borer problems when the chickory flowers open
  • Put seed corn in the ground when oak leaves are about the size of a squirrel's ear
  • The time is right for planting tomatoes when the lily-of-the-valley is in full bloom 
  • Seed morning glories as soon as the maple trees leaf out
  • Grasshopper eggs hatch about the same time that lilacs bloom
  • Prune roses when crocuses begin to flower
Phenology doesn't only apply to planting. Bird-watchers use signs of the seasons to time migrations, fly fishermen for signaling the insect hatch, and farmers in clues to weather predicting. (" My shoulder's acting up again, Mother, must be a storm a a'comin'!)

Phenologists monitor one species as a reliable way to track changes in another. Birds head north, for example, just as  the insects begin to appear in their summer breeding grounds. Insect populations build as their host plants produce leaves.
Native tribes in British Columbia used the arrival of buds and blooms from certain berry-producing shrubs to tell them when it was time to fish for halibut or spawning salmon; this gave them an advantage over the animals eating the same limited resource. We all know how American Indians were at one with Mother Earth.

So, now that you are more aware of nature around where you live, what is your garden telling you?

Why do mother kangaroos hate when it rains?
because then the kids have to play inside

What did Mrs Claus say to Santa during the storm?
"Come look at the rain, dear"

What happens when the fog lifts in California?

How do sheep keep warm in the winter?
central bleating
Gosh it's raining cats and dogs! I just stepped in a poodle!

right-mouse click and choose Save Image your computer. Then open and print 

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