She lichens me she lichens me not

By on Feb 19, 2019 in General, Nature |

I am amazed at the duress lichens will cause some people. They view lichens as a sign of death or decay and strategize to bleach it from existence. True they are found on stationary imperfect objects like grave stones or the north side of slow growing trees, but what keeps us from appreciating their natural beauty? Lichens are an intimate relationship of fungal filaments and algae creating a natural mosaic of art. The fungus protects the algae from the mean world out there and helps collect minerals and water. The algae in turn can photosynthesize making food like plants do and fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. In this intimate relationship it shares some of that with the fungus. It’s like a quid pro quo you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours intimate relationship of organisms. Who would want to break that up? She lichens me, she lichens me not. In the plant world we call the...

Snowy Owl Sighting!

By on Jan 19, 2019 in Birds |

A gallery of 6 snowy owl photos I took on Sunday January 13, 2019 at Pere Marquette Beach Muskegon Michigan. In some years, some North American Snowy Owls remain on their breeding grounds year-round, while others migrate in winter to southern Canada and the northern half of the contiguous United States including Michigan. Snowy owls are territorial on their breeding areas, and sometimes their wintering areas as well. Some Snowy Owls defend their winter territories fiercely, even engaging in combat with other Snowy Owls. Some banded Snowy Owls return to the same wintering site year after year. Unlike most owls, Snowy Owls are diurnal, extremely so. They’ll hunt at all hours during the continuous daylight of an Arctic summer. This owl shows up irregularly in winter to hunt in windswept fields or dunes like Pere Marquette beach Muskegon Michigan. They spend summers far north of the Arctic...

Moon Struck

By on Dec 28, 2018 in Nature |

You may consider it “Lunacy.” I consider it an out of this world experience. I was an Apollo age boy and yes we drank Tang, lots of it. First introduced in 1957 a couple years before I was born it was popularized by an American hero John Glenn who allegedly drank it on a NASA Mercury mission. We were from the Apollo age where Tang was the choice of astronauts and if it was good enough for them it was good enough for us. If our astronaut heroes drank Tang we drank it while gazing at the moon anticipating someday we would walk on the moon. Today it’s more than a phase. People are connecting with the phases of the moon. And as a gardener I recognize that it is an age old belief that phases of the moon affect plant growth. People are designing landscapes and patios to enjoy by the moon with white bright flowers and looking for fragrance. They are also lunar gardening...

Think Outside the Box….Natural Christmas Window Boxes

By on Oct 31, 2018 in Christmas, General |

For natural beautiful Christmas and Holiday Window Boxes that you can enjoy both outside and from inside the home….November to March….think outside the box! Watch my video and thank you very mulch. Merry Christmas!

Don’t throw in the trowel

By on Oct 18, 2018 in Fall |

Hard frost last night. We had it coming after a long and warm growing season. But it’s not the end. Like I say in my book a success is not the end a failure is not the end. It’s the beginning of something new. Don’t throw in the trowel. This may be the end of the “growing” season but it is not the end of the “gardening” season. The soil is still warm and roots will remain active in that soil. With little stress on the top of the plant as it shuts down for winter and sends food reserves into the root system, it’s a great time to move plants. Have a plant that has overgrown it’s space? Want to rearrange your “hort-folio?” This is a great time to move a plant or put a new one in the ground. One of my favorite things to do in late October is establish new planting beds for next year. But who wants to dig up sod or rent a...

Fall has a colorful personality

By on Oct 8, 2018 in Fall |

I like Autumn for planting….that makes me the Fall guy.

By on Sep 10, 2018 in Fall |

People ask me…..Rick why do you always say Fall is one of your favorite times of year to garden? Well first…. I like Autumn….that makes me the fall guy. But a more important reason is it is one of the most efficient and effective times of the year to plant. It’s also a time for pretty mums, adorable pansies and colorful foliage. Cute. That’s why they call it Awwwtumn. 13 reasons why Fall is for planting: 1. Plants in Fall put their efforts into establishment (roots) instead of a focus on top growth (spring) 2. In Fall the soil is warm compared to spring making it easier to work with….and again great for root establishment. 3. You can effectively feed woody plants in Fall. Even though air temperatures drop the soil stays warm often all the way to Christmas! Hoe Hoe Hoe. The plant can take in the fertilizer and will get next spring off on the right foot! 4. We generally get plenty of...

Into the wild brew yonder

By on Aug 31, 2018 in Wet your plants! |

As a horticulturist there is no “brew-print” for what question may come along from time to time. This past week I was asked for garden uses for stale or flat beer. At a “lagerhead” I thought if in doubt throw it out. Then I realized I take these questions on a “case by case” basis so with this request I should “hop” to it. I do after all live in a town called Beer City and this subject matter may not be an isolated concern. After all my commentary might create a buzz. We all know the age-old practice of wasting beer on slugs. A dish of stale beer is placed with the lip at soil level and slugs with no self-discipline whatsoever will blindly crawl in, lose their car keys and drown happy. We also know that beer has been around for ages dating back to Mesopotamia otherwise known as ancient Iraq. They didn’t drink it watching football or...