Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Rhyme of the “Ancient” Gardener

Brooklyn Museum: The Old Gardener
The Old Gardener courtesy Brooklyn Museum

The Rhyme of the "Ancient" Gardener

Spring is coming – Hey, Hooray!
Saw my first Robin yesterday

Time to round up tools from Fall,
sharpen spades and pruners all

Find trash cans for all the clean-up
of the plants that start their green-up

Can hardly wait till April’s here,
Its warmer days are coming near

Getting Spring tools fixed is easy
It’s the other things that make me queasy

Things like getting hips and knees
to bend, and squat, and work with ease

Something I call “The Gardener’s Curse”
Ground-Level Work – there’s nothing worse!

Now, if I had been a “Snowboard Nut”
I wouldn’t have been in my Winter “rut”

I’d be all loosy-goosy jointed,
my knees and hips be well-annointed

But I preferred to take my ease
all through the Winter’s chilly breeze

Thinking of Spring and warm sun-rays,
dreaming of weather’s better days

But even if it takes some weeks
to get my “bod” to tuned-up peaks

If the ski slopes had been my gym,
I could be healing a broken limb

And that would take much time to mend
No, I’d rather stretch and stoop and bend

I’ll take my pills and Ibuprofen
and thank the Lord that nothing’s broken!


Gardener Dave

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Is There a Bright Spot Here? by Carol King

February is a miserable month for gardeners in Front Range Colorado. It’s 60 degrees one day and 37 the next. Most warm days are too windy to be outside and even if you can there’s not much to do. It’s too early to uncover anything, maybe a little watering if you’re lucky. Mostly I just sit around and growl. Even the chores to do in the February Garden are lame.

Things like:

Clean, sharpen, and inventory your tools. Do you think someone who treats their tools this way would do that?

Plan and draw out your vegetable garden plot. I’m sorry, I’m a plunker. I plunk it where I feel like it.

Order seeds early. Let’s see: sunflowers, peas, pole beans, carrots. There that’s done.

Pick off and destroy insect eggs. Oh, Please.

Grrrrrr, dear gardener, Grrrrrr

I will take the advice of one sage about February chores: “To recover, apply cups of hot chocolate and another good catalog.”

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Don't Eat Like a Bird by Carol King

Did you know, dear gardener, that February is National Bird Feeding Month? Yes, and it has been since January, 1994, when Congress passed a resolution making it so. And did you know that 1/3 of the adult population feeds wild birds in their yards? I hope you will join me in celebrating this event by putting out a feeder or two for our feathered friends. Wild birds are a very important component to our natural environment and if we don’t do something, a quarter of the world's bird species will likely be extinct or critically endangered by the end of the century, according to a new study by U.S. researchers.

The Wild Bird Center asks us to consider that:
- A typical backyard bird doesn't weigh as much as two nickels.
- Birds spend most of their waking hours searching for food -- without the help of "hands" and "fingers".
- They may consume 15% of their body weight overnight just keeping warm enough to survive.
- Like mail carriers, they're outside in sleet, snow, wind and cold.

Birds eat ALL THE TIME.

Birds are very important in the ecosystem: they eat weed seeds and harmful insects. They help in the pollination of plants, spread seeds around, and help dispose of dead animal carcasses. They also have great entertainment value. Human activities and habits have destroyed many of their natural sources of food so by providing food, water and shelter, we are helping them to survive.
Birds not only help to keep our world safe from plagues of insects and but perhaps actual plagues themselves. There is speculation that the increase in Lyme disease is a direct result of the demise of the passenger pigeon. Passenger pigeons used to occur in flocks of hundreds of millions of birds. They ate acorns. Deer mice, which harbor Lyme disease bacteria, eat acorns. Ticks get the disease from mice and infect humans. The pigeons would have limited the number by not leaving enough acorns to support a large population of deer mice thus keeping Lyme disease in check. The pigeons are all gone and the deer mice are thriving and humans get Lyme disease. See how this all works?

Feed your birds, dear gardener. But don’t eat like one.