Operating by the seat of your plants

By on May 3, 2018 in General, Spring |

Plants will always be inspiring and after years of walking around with a plant in one hand and a shovel in the other trying to find a place to plant it, I have learned 10 easy to follow rules to a better home landscape design. Walking and running through neighborhoods it is easy to see who had a plan, who had a concept, and who was operating by the seat of their plants. If you “over do” it you will have a do over on your hands. Use the look around rule. Avoid what we call monoculture. Too much of one thing can be a problem. Diversity is important in the landscape. If you plant too much of one type of plant and a problem crops up like an insect or disease, it will spread like wildfire without a proper amount of diversity in your yard. Look around your yard, your neighbors yard, is there a plant that is let’s say, over done? Approach your landscape in bite size pieces....

The snow is finally melting. We’re all down with that.

By on Apr 20, 2018 in Spring |

Honk if you’re happy the snow is finally melting! We’re all “down” with that. And my daughter sent me this picture from New York City. I told her raccoons generally sleep under cars because they have to get up “oily” in the morning.

Spring Snow

By on Apr 16, 2018 in Spring |

Weather forecast from a Forsythia?

By on Mar 31, 2018 in Spring |

Many people use the yellow blooms of the forsythia to indicate spring has finally arrived and the soil temperatures have warmed. When the forsythia blooms they use it as an indicator to apply the first lawn fertilizer application of the year along with pre-emergence crabgrass control. A more scientific and accurate approach would be to measure the soil temperature and gauge if it has reached somewhere between 55 and 60 degrees at the 2 inch depth. Regardless, the ubiquitous presence of forsythia in bloom visually opens the floodgates of lawn activity every year. But what about the forsythia’s ability to forecast remaining winter weather like Punxsutawney Phil back in February? Do you believe the old weather tale which states that Forsythia can forecast late spring snowfall? The theory, tale or belief is that once the forsythia blooms there will be 3 more snows. They could be...

What is that flower with the funny name?

By on Mar 31, 2018 in Spring |

I went for a run the other evening. In West Michigan a run in late March can be a chilly experience. I spotted out of the corner of my eye something blooming along the trail. In April I will often stop to enjoy the trillium, trout lily and marsh marigolds while out running, but in late March while winter resists letting go the blossoms are far and few between. These flowers however are a reliable treat every year as one of the first bloomers in spring. I took out my phone and snapped this picture. The flower with a funny name. Puschkinia scilloides also known as striped squill. A trouble free easy to grow minor bulb perennial that is impressive when planted in clumps even though it only stands 8 inches tall. Plant them in fall for early spring blooming. The genus name honors a Russian botanist Count Mussim Puschkin who was an enthusiastic collector of the plant.

We’re making progress together

By on Mar 24, 2018 in Spring |

It is amazing to watch the natural miracle of plant life on earth moving from dormancy to emergence to maturity. Much of life is about momentum. Accumulation of growing degree days is about momentum. Accumulating warmth and energy available for plant growth. GDD, or growing degree days, is a weather-based indicator for assessing crop development and pest development rates. In physics I vaguely remember that momentum is multiplied by velocity and usually ends in collisions. With plant life momentum usually ends in revisions. Accumulations of warmer ambient temperatures builds the momentum giving the season the perfect name… Spring. Crocus emerging through the leaf litter Trout Lily emergence Peonies emerging from the soil Hellebores…an early...