Gardener's Grapevine 2011.07.20

Written by David Green.

What a beautiful Sunday afternoon. It is sunny and, of course, hot.

I guess all living things like water for one or more reasons. We sure could use about 24 hours of a steady rain. Everything is so dry and sun-baked. We’ve been watering the gardens daily. I think I heard the beans actually sigh when we set the sprinkler on them yesterday. 

Everything is doing nicely except the sweet corn. It was planted late and did not come up well. No “knee high” corn at this house.

We picked the first ripe tomatoes and squash this week. Summer tomatoes are like heaven on earth and we eat so many I’m surprised we don’t turn red. Soon we’ll have yummy green fried tomatoes.

I’d like to discuss things different plants attract. One is hummingbirds. These tiny little birds love anything purple or red, including a shirt or porch cushions. I have two hummingbird stories to tell. The first was a few years back when I somehow got talked into creating a history booklet for our church’s 150th anniversary. In order to do this, I needed to know our church’s history, which I did not. So every weekend I sat on our side porch in a comfy wicker chair with my feet up and a drink and read this wonderfully put together war and peace book on our church history, and most of it was so riveting, too.

One Saturday as I sat reading I realized something was buzzing around my head but didn’t sound quite like a bee. Every time I would try to see what it was it would stop, and it was really beginning to annoy me. My husband happened to come out on the porch and told me there was a little hummingbird buzzing just over my head at the flowers. Sure enough, there were purple petunias in a hanging basket and the hummingbird was trying to tell me they were his.

My other story involves Mary Johnson, my best friend and the sweetest person in the world. Unfortunately, when God made Mary he accidentally made her allergic to many things and bees are the worst. Needless to say, she is terrified of them and justly so.

One Saturday my daughter, Mary, and I were sitting on the porch and something the size of the end of your little finger kept buzzing Mary and wouldn’t stop. Of course, being deathly allergic to bees, she thought that’s what it was and had quite a time trying to get rid of it. Fortunately, we realized it was a baby hummingbird and he was trying to see if Mary’s purple shirt would taste good. For such a small animal they sure move fast!

Another plant that attracts hummingbirds is butterfly weed (orange milkweed) and butterfly bush. Butterfly bushes come in different colors, the blooms, that is, and my aunt has a yellow one which is really quite pretty.

Daylilies will attract both hummingbirds and butterflies. Peony bushes attract ants, and while my daughter Jacquie thinks they are nasty, they are really quite necessary if the blooms are to open. There is a nectar in the bud that the ants enjoy and as they clean it up the flower opens up leaf by leaf.

A friend of mine told me a way to bring the peonies inside without the ants. Using a large bucket of water, turn the blooms upside down in the water and shake them gently to get the water off and put them in a vase. The ants are not a nuisance, but a necessity—unless they are red and biting you.

  • Front.bridge Cross
    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
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    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
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    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
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    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
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    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
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