Ruffed grouse scare me as they fly up as I walk into my yard. A flock of juncos fly into our yard, robins are devouring the Mt. Ash berries, yellow-rumped warblers are diving to eat flies off our house. The nuthatch and blue jays are emptying the feeder, the goldfinch are munching on something in a dead white pine, and woodpeckers are busy making their marks on trees. Yes, it is October on the big lake and we are all getting ready for the winter months ahead. All the energy and activity makes us happy.
For many days thick Fog hung thick over the lake signaling the drought has subsided and rain is again common. After many dark days the sun is welcome
It has been an unusual Superior Views summer with a sun that seemed more intense than usual, and winds off the lake that were calmer than most summers. Sadly, wild fires from Canada and Northern Minnesota polluted the air quality for weeks at a time.
The warmer than normal summer changed the pattern of the plants and trees. The leaves turned earlier than normal and the flowers bloomed weeks earlier than usual. Actually, I think the native plants and flowers enjoyed the warm temperatures and milder winds, but the trees suffered with the heat and drought.
Lake Superior is not for sale! A local resident is trying to sell ground water for profit.
As I write this the goldfinch are eating seeds from dried up purple cone flowers, and hummingbirds are still flitting around for nectar. Below is an excellent article on fall gardening by writer Val Cunningham. My suggestions follow.
My additional suggestions for fall gardening are:
*Pull out all the invasive and bad plants
*Plan for next year. What worked and what didn’t work? How can you add more native
plants ? (My favorites are milkweed, Liatris, cone flowers, bee balm hyssop, wild geranium and asters)
*Plan where you can add a rain garden next year to capture the rain from your house, driveway or yard. http://bluethumb.org/raingardens/
Birds love driveways with seeds and leaves, but please keep our waterways clean by sweeping sidewalks, driveways and street from leaves and debris.
“While insects and other animal pollinators may come in small sizes, they play a large partnership role in the production of the food we eat, in the future of our wildlife, and in the health of nearly all flowering plants. A garden without bees, butterflies, beetles, birds and even bats, is a garden devoid of the life-giving relationships that sustain plant reproduction.” http://www.fws.gov/pollinators/
Good suggestions below, and please don’t use chemicals:
Plant a Pollinator Garden.
Provide a variety of flower colors and shapes to attract different pollinators.
Whenever possible, choose native plants. Native plants will attract more native pollinators and can serve as larval host plants for some species of pollinators.
If monarch butterflies live within your area, consider planting milkweed so their caterpillars have food.
Plant in clumps, rather than single plants, to better attract pollinators
Choose plants that flower at different times of the year to provide nectar and pollen sources throughout the growing season http://www.fws.gov/pollinators/
“I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” E. B. White
Superior Views, early July 2014
Finally, beautiful weather! Unfortunately, after rainy June, the gnats and mosquitoes take
fun away from the enjoyment of the magnificent sunny calm days!
Redstart warblers sing and love all the mosquitoes! Also, song sparrows, Northern parula, and red-eyed vireo sing in constantly until a fox walks down the driveway. Hummingbirds, finch and pine siskin frequent our feeders. Other birds that nest in our neighborhood are: Chestnut sided warbler, common yellow throat, white-throated sparrow, winter wren, and oven birds. They sing a symphony of joy soon to end with July nesting season.
The best plant for pollinators in early July is the wild geranium.
The birds can be heard, but seeing them is difficult. However, the swallow-tail butterflies, a few monarchs, viceroys, painted ladies, white admirals and northern crescent add to the beauty of each day. Eggs from the painted lady butterfly sit on the pearly everlasting plants, and we watch for caterpillars.