Gardener's Grapevine 2011.11.30

Written by David Green.

This past weekend seemed to go by in a flash. Any time there is a holiday it seems like the days go twice as fast. Seems like the seasons are that way, also. We get so excited at the prospect of warmer weather, but not many people get as excited about cold weather. My son is about the only one I know who loves winter, and that is due to his love of snow boarding.

Most people prepare their outside for cold weather by putting away lawn furniture and toys and winterizing mowers and travel trailers. If they are not gardeners, not a thought is given to the lawn. Winterizing the lawn is one of the best things you can do to ensure a nice healthy lawn in the spring. A good fertilizer is the most important thing that can be done. A winterizing fertilizer must be high in potassium to ensure extensive root and rhizome growth. In most of the northern states October is the latest to fertilize, as anything beyond that will encourage growth too late into the season and kill off the lawn when hard freezes come.

A lawn needs to go dormant to be healthy. Aerating the lawn in the fall opens it up for spring growth. Lawns tend to get compacted during the summer from being walked on. Aeration opens up the ground to encourage new healthy growth. Aeration can be done anytime prior to a hard freeze. It is best done like golf courses do with an aerator that pops plugs out onto the soil. There are some more reasonably priced aerators, that punch holes in the lawn, and while not perfect, they do a decent job.

I saw a very pretty ornament for holiday decorating that was very simple. Take a clear ornament and slide the top of a peacock feather inside it, cut the extra off and recap the ornament. It was a beautiful idea and stayed with the nature theme. I love peacock feathers, but they are very costly to purchase and I don’t frequently run across them for sale. Many people shy away from raising them because they are an extremely noisy bird and not very nice in personality. They drop some of the most beautiful feathers you will ever see in nature.

I also saw another natural decoration—rose hips strung and dried—that has a long-ago origin. Rose hips turn black and get extremely hard when dried. In the past, dried rose hips have been used for beads in necklaces and bracelets. It is interesting how natural items have been used through the decades and still are today.

This past weekend we went to the Christmas tree farm and picked out our tree for the holidays. I love the smell of fresh evergreen in the house. It is so very fresh and pleasant. It’s easy to see why people love to hang evergreen wreaths and roping. I love wreaths made with evergreen and herbs, they smell like a gardener’s dream.

It is not hard to make a fresh wreath and the benefits are awesome. A wreath made completely out of herbs will last for months and can be used to cook with. This type of wreath makes a great gift for the nature lover or cook on your list. Nature can really be a lot of fun for gifts and decorating.

  • 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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