Hello fellow readers,
So long 2017. It has been a wonderful year of learning. In revisiting our topics, we sure spoke about a bunch of critters. About the birds in a two-part bird fodder series. And about the bees – the story about relocating fifty thousand honeybees that took up residence outside my college roommate’s front door.
We talked about stink bugs and lady bugs and why they pay unwelcome visits in our homes, sometimes in swarms. Lady bugs are good for the garden. Stink bugs are not. In fact, they are devastating to crops.
Along with the benefits of castings (worm poop) from our slimy garden guests, we learned earthworms are destroying forest floors which rely on leaf litter for food and to maintain moisture.
We learned about environmentally friendly ways to get rid of ants taking up residence in patios and walks and Eastern tent caterpillars chomping my brother’s roses. The quirkiest – folks suggest sprinkling instant grits that will expand in ants’ innards for good riddance. Which makes me think of the film My Cousin Vinny- “No self-respecting southerner uses instant grits.”
Indeed, we talked about many critters this past year that affect our garden of life, but also topics about nature. My most favorite highlight of the year was the seal pup surprise that came ashore along Island Beach State Park NJ. Some kindhearted passersby came too close to the friendly little guy. We learned to marvel over miracles, but keep our distance should we come across fawn or other babies in our gardens. Mother Nature know what she’s doing.
We learned about many plants too, such as the Sexy Natives shared by Bruce Crawford, Director of Rutgers Gardens, many of which are deer resistant and all G-rated for glorious and good for pollinators. We learned from Claudia West, author and speaker, who describes how to layer plant communities akin to those seen in nature to create a beautiful and healthy ecosystem. Its music to my ears to hear an ecological expert that advocates to plant more understory plants rather than the wasteful cycle of mulching.
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Thank you for reading Garden Dilemmas, for your questions and help with answers. And a special thanks to my local paper The Press for inviting our column 290 weeks ago (that’s five and a half years !) which lead to bringing us all together. Here’s to a New Year of discoveries! Garden Dilemmas? Askmarystone@gmail.com