Vibrant Vinca

“Happiness held is the seed; happiness shared is the flower.” Unknown


Gardening centers are overflowing with spring planting selections, including the sun loving vinca. Fast growing and available in a variety of colors, these annuals are pollinator magnets. For more information and planting instructions, click on the sites below.

How to Grow Vincas or Periwinkle

Annuals Buying Guide

Clearwing Moth Sipping Nectar From Vinca

Zesty Zinnias

“Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul.”

Luther Burbank

Native to the American Southwest, Central America and South America, zinnias are a generational favorite. Colorful additions to American gardens, these easy to grow sun lovers attract lots, and lots, and lots of butterflies. Similar to their sunflower cousins, zinnias produce large seeds, making direct sow planting easy for little fingers. For those wanting immediate results, garden centers offer zinnia seedlings, including border perfect dwarf varieties . So, visit a local garden center with a little buddy, choose some zinnia seeds or seedlings and get busy-Spring is here! More information about zinnias can be found at the following sites.

Burpee

Harvesting History

Single Flowered, Dwarf Zinnias Attract Painted Lady

Gardening Choices

“Your first job is to prepare the soil. The best tool for this is your neighbor’s garden tiller. If your neighbor doesn’t own a garden tiller, suggest that he buy one.”

Dave Barry
Raised bed gardening is a good choice for small spaces, sloping spaces, limited time for gardening spaces, and I like order spaces. Refer to the Alabama Extension Service Lawn and Garden website for information on planning and development of your space.

Nature’s Farming

“The main characteristic of Nature’s farming can therefore be summed up in a few words. Mother earth never attempts to farm without live stock; she always raises mixed crops; great pains are taken to preserve the soil and to prevent erosion; the mixed vegetable and animal wastes are converted into humus; there is no waste; the processes of growth and the processes of decay balance one another; ample provision is made to maintain large reserves of fertility; the greatest care is taken to store the rainfall; both plants and animals are left to protect themselves against disease.” ~  Sir Albert Howard

“The health of soil, plant, animal and man is one and indivisible.”

  Sir Albert Howard

 

Picture of a compost bin
Compost bin, located at The Lost Garden, Downtown Mobile on Dauphin St. and provided by Keep Mobile Beautiful

 

Sir Albert Howard, 1873-1947, considered the father of modern organic agriculture, learned about composting through observation of farmers in India. Creating a compost pile or bin should be on the to-do list for all backyard gardeners. The three bin composter, pictured above, is an example of one way to compost kitchen scraps and green waste. Refer to the following sites to determine materials that can be composted, as well as other types of composters.  So quit hauling yard waste to the curb and throwing kitchen scraps, pet hair, and dryer lint  into the garbage can. Compost it!

Composting at Home

Earth Easy

Composting for a Vegetable Garden

How to compost.org

 

Pleasure, Challenge, Joy

“I grow plants for many reasons: to please my eye or to please my soul, to challenge the elements or to challenge my patience, for novelty or for nostalgia, but mostly for the joy in seeing them grow. “– David Hobson

 

 

Southern checkerspot butterfly  sipping nectar from flower of basil plant

 

 

Newbies, wanting to participate in America’s favorite pastime, should remember to start small. Basil and other herbs are easy to grow from seed and attract butterflies as well as provide table fare.  A 4’x8′ garden plot is ample space to grow a variety of plants and  develop gardening experience. Refer to the  Alabama Extension Service site  for assistance.  Get growing!

Alabama Planting Guide for Home Gardeners

 

 

Every Cog and Wheel

“The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant, “What good is it?” If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.” ~ Aldo Leopold

 Aldo Leopold, 1887-1948, author of Sand County Almanac,  is associated with the development of modern environmental ethics and wilderness conservation.   Leopold’s words are as relatable to the actions of elected officials today, as they were in his lifetime.  Please refer to the December 12, 2018 article  concerning the sale of public lands near national parks and monuments in Utah. Hubris and financial greed should not determine the fate of America’s public lands.  Voice concerns to one’s legislative representatives.  Silence signifies approval of the exploitation and degradation of America’s national treasures.

 

Hovenweep National Monument

 

 

 

 

 

Arches National  Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canyonlands National Park


Species

Each species on our planet plays a role in the healthy functioning of natural ecosystems, on which humans depend.
– William H. Schlesinger

Residents along Fowl River count among their most favorite neighbors, the brown pelicans. Year-round residents can be seen daily gliding above the waterways, resting on pilings, and diving for fish.  Learn more about these delightful members of the Alabama coastal environment by clicking here.

 

 

Moments

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take,
but by the moments that take our breath away.
– Anonymous

Fowl River Sunset

Fowl River Morning

Plan some “take your breath away” moments. Shed the stress and discord of daily life and breathe in the serenity and solace offered by the natural world.

Richest Values

“The richest values of wilderness lie not in the days of Daniel Boone, nor even in the present, but rather in the future.”  Aldo Leopold


Alligator in Monroe County Creek

Aldo Leopold, author of  Sand County Almanac,  the 1949 classic concerning conservation and land ethics,  reminds us of the continued need to protect America’s wild places. Although current leadership equates undeveloped land with opportunities to extract and destroy, voters can speak out to defend  national treasures against  exploitation and annihilation. Not everyone can write a book, but almost everyone can write emails to elected officials -start today-for your grandchildren.

Read about wilderness by clicking here.

Read about current threats to wild places by clicking here.

Read about a wilderness in Alabama by clicking here.

 

 

Emotional Affiliation

 

“Biophilia, if it exists, and I believe it exists, is the innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms. “
— Edward O. Wilson

 

Camouflaged deer on a hillside in northern Alabama

Look closely near the center of the photo.

 

 

 

Green snake hunting among sweet pepper plants in south Mobile county

 

 

Biophilia is defined as the innate ability to relate to nature and living things. While everyone may not  be blessed with this characteristic, all should develop an understanding and appreciation of how all living things are interdependent. The links below help to explain interdependence through food webs and ecosystems.

Environmental Protection Agency

Interdependence of Living Things

 

Human beings depend on other living things, so get emotional – we can’t live without them!