Gardening has been my salvation during this long quarantine.
I hunkered down in late February, so I’ve been at this longer than most. While awaiting a vaccine, I won’t entirely emerge for another year or so, a hard projection to swallow – but I’m not easily bored.
In that regard, my garden provides immense satisfaction and pleasure. For distraction, I started journaling about the daily changes in it as a way to sharpen my observational skills. Now, with morning coffee in hand, I hunt for the new growth that comes overnight and have delighted in a continuing parade of beauty and color. It’s like a three-month Easter egg hunt, with chocolates hidden around every corner.
Part of me is embracing the challenge of working with what I have on hand. Some seeds from 2015 (not all, but enough) still germinated, for example. Also, simple-to-root cuttings made an easy way to multiply existing stocks. The coleus that wintered over inside is now making enough babies to repopulate most of my planters; dividing plants makes another way to fill patio pots.
Julie has always enjoyed making summer borders with offsets of variegated airplane plants from her hanging baskets. Want to brush up on your multiplication skills? Just search plant propagation Missouri to find a lovely short course on seeds, cuttings and other ways to reproduce plants.
The garden has been intentionally designed to welcome all creatures, from frogs and salamanders, through butterflies and bees, to bats and birds. If you’re seeking crafts to fill your time, in fact, find some scrap wood to build bird, bat or bee boxes. Keeping feeders filled and fountains clean will satisfy many birds; for them, I use hot pepper suet – birds don’t care, but squirrels hate it. Woodpeckers, especially the giant pileated pair nesting down the hill, constantly delight us with their frequent visits to the suet holder.
To learn more about birds, try the Merlinapp (merlin.allaboutbirds.org) or eBird (ebird.org) from Ithaca, New York’s Cornell Lab of Ornithology. For toads and frogs, bugs and butterflies, meanwhile, visit the Missouri Department of Conservation’s web-based field guides (mdc.mo.gov).
Great for homeschoolers and adults alike, these resources can help you learn more about the living world around you and why it’s so important for you and me and everyone else to do our part to preserve biodiversity. To know it is to love it!
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