Picture worth a thousand words

Hi everyone. It’s June a busy busy gardening month. So much happens in the landscape in June……the good, the unexpected, and of course the bad and ugly. For today’s entry I thought I would share a few pictures from my yard with the understanding that sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

Bluebirds nesting in the Press Box
Dutch Bulb Iris….plant in Fall and enjoy in late May and early June
Dutch Bulb Iris also known as Garden Orchids!
The combination of clover and black medic in your lawn is an indication your lawn is trying to tell you….Feed Me!
The “Alliums” have landed in my yard!
….and of course the ugly…..Slime Mold on the bark mulch. Stir and aerate the mulch……fascinating to watch!

Free Fertilizer

You can’t beat saving some green while greening your plants. Free fertilizer while you sleep. I’m talking about those wonderful overnight April thunderstorms where the next day everything outside seems greener. It’s not a “fig-leaf” of your imagination. Lightning provides the kick in the “plants” to the spring landscape. Nitrogen plays a critical role in photosynthesis and plant growth. We are surrounded by nitrogen in our atmosphere, but plants must secure their nitrogen in a “fixed” form. This can be done synthetically by the homeowner  picking up a bag of fertilizer at the garden center. It can be done biologically through decay or micro-organisms and bacteria in the soil in association with nitrogen fixing plants or legumes like clover.

Nitrogen fixing clover and the grass as well as other plant life show their green after a spring thunderstorm

It can also be done in an abiotic or atmospheric way via a good lightning storm. Air has nitrogen gas but it is inert and can’t be used by the plants until lightning converts unusable nitrogen into fixed nitrogen. Super charged lightning ionizes the air and the nitrogen oxides are carried by the rain as usable form of greening power. That faint ammonia like odor in the air after lightning is the atmospheric “hotline” answering nature’s call for more greening power in the form of “fixed” nitrogen. Plants can receive and use the greening power of nitrogen as nitrate ions, ammonia or urea. Even though atmospheric nitrogen generated by lightning may produce only 5 to 10 percent of a plant’s nitrogen needs, it is a dramatic way to light up the landscape in green after a spring storm!