Sharon Meadows Constructed Wetland

Working with Mother Nature and the Community to Solve a Problem

By Debra Knapke

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted in a while. There has been a lot going on this past spring, summer and fall, and blogging, unfortunately, became a lower priority.

One project that was all-consuming in the spring was the transformation of a waterlogged park into a constructed wetland. In less than three months an amazing team of people created a place that would normally need a year or more of planning.

In the first season, volunteers have seen many different species of butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies. We had frogs and toads in the wetland, and frog eggs in one of the shallow pools. The upland plants were visited by a myriad of bees, beetles, wasps and more. The bluebird boxes were full and the resident bats and tree swifts ate any visiting mosquitoes. Next year, one goal is to inventory the animals that use the wetland for food and /or shelter.

I invite you to take  a moment, 5 minutes and 34 seconds to be precise, to experience the making of a wetland.

Brace yourself! Winter returns

PocketwatchWinter starts with an act of Congress.

By Michael Leach

How else can a gardener — or anyone else — look at the end of Daylight Savings Time?

One night you sit down to supper in the fading amber glow of late autumn sunlight; the next,  it’s a black expanse as vast and forbidding as Siberia.

It’s a mind game. No matter the temperature after time change, winter is as real as any wind chill reading or stinging sleet.

An urge to hibernate grows and reminds us this is the time to gather near the  hearth (more likely a furnace register),  be still, cover up and rest. For weeks this hibernation-like  approach makes for  guilt-free indolence of reading and dozing on the sofa after supper. There is rejoicing. We have a  reprieve from weeding. It’s too cold for watering.

Hope lives on indoors with potted tropical foliage, herbs and a few clippings of summer favorites. My contained garden, even in a room with large, south-facing windows, is appealing but still fails to satisfy as much as a few minutes working warm garden soil filled with free-range plants.

Gardeners are outsiders. We flag under the gray pall, just as a  sun-loving potted plant grows spindly and pale when placed too far from the windowsill. Like the unhappy plant stretching toward the light, we too lean to the window searching for some sign of spring’s return.

Our grounding in the world beyond the glass makes gardening essential. We can almost root into the earth as we till and sow, while our heads remain in the air and sunlight. We are nurtured even as we nurture. Plants literally feed us and give us oxygen, so why wouldn’t they inspire joy when we see them turning green, flowering and breathing life into the stale scene of straw lawns and skeletal trees.

When hope seems lost, Daylight Savings Time returns. What better harbinger of spring than an extra hour of daylight. Instead of hunkering down to dinner in the dark, there’s time to garden after dessert.

Surprisingly, Congress managed to do something at least halfway right.

Garden Topics

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