Gardener's Grapevine 2011.08.03

Written by David Green.

A few weeks ago I wrote about wildflowers and how many of them are not seen quite so much anymore due to roadside mowing and spraying, and the loss of fence rows. However, with the down-turn in the economy and the financial issues the State of Michigan faces, the ditches seem to be brimming with wildflowers. Apparently mowing and spraying are low priorities when you are strapped for cash.

For someone who loves nature and all things wild, this is one of the few positives about our world’s economic state—beautiful wildflowers.

We spent the weekend in Allegan on the west side of Michigan. It isn’t long after you drive past Kalamazoo that the area becomes very woodsy and wild. There is sort of a northern Michigan feel, and wow, the wildflowers. 

There is every color and sort imaginable. The clover is in bloom as is chicory, thistle, phlox, ditch lilies and a bunch I couldn’t identify. Sometimes I wish I had my camera with me because a picture would be just the ticket for a watercolor picture, and great for the garden club yearbook.

Has anyone stopped to look at the roadside grasses? I am in no way even knowledgeable about different grasses, however, as you drive across the state the types seem to change. Some of them would look really pretty in an arrangement in a vase. I guess that’s sort of what God has done only without the vase. He has thrown multiple beautiful native flowers together with some grasses and trees to make a beautiful “arrangement.”

Nature is something many take for granted or feel is a nuisance, but driving into town past Emmons’ dairy farm just after the curve this week I saw probably 10 deer running through the corn field. It was such a beautiful sight I had to stop and watch until they got to the river and the cover of trees.

Deer amaze me. Since I live in town they don’t make a nuisance of themselves by eating my gardens, so from my viewpoint they are beautiful creatures I can’t imagine harming. Now I know many hunters and farmers have other ideas, and even I have had one hit me when driving, and I accept that.

Think of what the deer endure in life. All winter they have to seek shelter, look for food when all is harvested or dormant, and when they are in prime mating season, someone tries to kill them. Yet, their population is doing fine, even thriving.

If I could see them in the beautiful wildflowers. My first thought would still be, “Please don’t jump on my car.” Then after we drove by, my thought would be, “Wow, wasn’t that amazing!” It’s all in your viewpoint, I guess.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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