Monday, August 31, 2009

Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly

I took the butterfly pictures this morning and the caterpillar picture last week.

This big boy is a joy to watch. Large and black with yellow spots and chevrons. He has a bright orange eyespot with a round, black-centered pupil. Typically the male has larger and brighter coloring.

The egg is yellow and the 2 inch caterpillar is very distinctive. This one was on my sage. They especially like Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota) and other members of the carrot family. Also some members of the citrus family, rue and broom.

The Eastern Black Swallowtail has 2 to 3 broods from February through November. Preferring open spaces including gardens, farmland, meadows, and banks of watercourses; seldom in woodlands.

They often may be photographed on phlox (as above) and milkweed. They will flit, drift and stall.

When planning a garden or pots to attract butterflies, consider: phlox, rue, parsley, and sage. Allow some Queen Anne's Lace and milkweed to stay in your wildflower gardens. There are hybrid species of annual broom that are quite beautiful if you can't farm some into your crops.

The large butterflies have been rather scarce in gardens this year. From what I've read it's because their wintering sites were disrupted or destroyed by severe storms. All the more reason to make our yards and gardens butterfly friendly in hopes of, at least, encouraging the resurgence of the species.

A cup of coffee while sitting in the porch swing and a beautiful Eastern Black gliding from phlox flower to phlox flower is the perfect way to start the morning.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Earth to Earth, Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

Image of the rare "Fringe Orchid" found at Munson Cemetery, Cambridge, IL. (Quad-City Times picture)

"In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to Almighty God our brother; and we commit his body to the ground; earth to earth; ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The Lord bless him and keep him, the Lord make his face to shine upon him and be gracious unto him and give him peace. Amen." (Funeral prayer)

On August 15, 2009, our neighbor and good friend, Clarence Medley, was laid to eternal rest.

The above prayer "earth to earth, ashes to ashes, and dust to dust" describes the life of one tied to our native soil.

Clarence described himself, "A simple man." I describe him as, "A complex man who was very good at being humble."

As we talk about Clarence, we are also talking about Marie (his wife of 42 years) because where you saw one, you always saw the other.

They were a team as they supported, helped and loved one another. Often holding hands, they laughed or struggled together.

Clarence was compassionate towards others. As in his involvement in the Henry County Housing Authority, he cared for those who might need help with life's basics. He and Marie would scour sales, buy quantities of clothes and puzzles and religiously take them to the Veterans' Home in Quincy.

He was an excellent neighbor - never interfering but always caring. He shared his knowledge without preaching.

Clarence had the ability to "cut to the chase." I'm sure his middle name was "Common Sense." While some people do this with a cutting edge, Clarence did it softly and simply.

"Why?" you may wonder, is this eulogy in a garden article. It's because Clarence was a farm boy who knew how to conserve, propagate and respect our native resources.

A walk with him around his bountiful yard showed numerous patches of seedlings, produce of various sorts, native flowers and trees. Where others would weed out Indian Grass or other native perennials, Clarence would cultivate them.

My head would swim with all the knowledge he would share. Honestly, he could grow anything.

A member of Natural Area Guardians (NAGS), he was very involved in the Munson Cemetery restoration. His common sense knew that to save one species of nature was to save many. His yard has bird houses, feeders and more importantly, it has the environment necessary to sustain native wildlife and plants.

Earth to earth can be taken literally as in we were born of this earth and at burial, we return. In Clarence's case, he came from the earth and spent a lifetime giving back to the earth. Some call that simple but to understand the implications of those actions and to spend a lifetime caring is anything but simple.

That so many think Clarence as a simple man of the earth speaks to his humble nature - one that would rather do than call attention to himself.

He death leaves a hole in the lives of his wife, family and friends. 

By looking at a native flower waving in the breeze, we can be sure this Illinois soil (and its citizens) are better for having Clarence Medley walk its surface for those 88 years.

"May the Lord bless him and keep him, the Lord make his face to shine upon him and be gracious unto him and give him peace."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fruits of the Effort

Images: Pot of tomato vegetable juice cooking and the finished product.

Today is the second day I've "put up" a batch of tomato vegetable juice. I now have 21 quarts and 7 pints.

From where I come from, north/central Indiana farm people, "put up" means canning. Tomato products, as long as there are no animal by-product ingredients, can be processed in a water bath pan.

Probably a DNA-genetic thing, but I get great satisfaction from growing the ingredients, the work to make canning possible, the beautiful jars of food, the ease of having the produce so readily available and the taste of fresh canned food all year long.

When is too much never enough? My kids are sure we could support a small community on canned tomatoes alone. My kids exaggerate - somewhat . . .

I either fix for our own meals, give away or preserve the produce from my garden. Seldom, does anything rot for lack of picking.
Here's my recipe for canned tomato vegetable juice. It consists of one large stockpot batch which makes 15 quarts. I won't go into the canning techniques. If you've never canned, ask someone if you can help them the next time they can. Also, the "Ball Blue Book of Preserving" is an excellent resource.

1/2 C - Olive Oil
4 large Onions - cut in large pieces - enough to cover the bottom of the stock pot
10 garlic cloves - chopped
Cook the above until soft but not browned
2 C - shredded carrots
2 C - chopped celery, including leaves
2 C - chopped sweet peppers
Large hand full of parsley
Small hand full of basil leaves
Small hand full of Greek oregano
5 - large leaves of sage
1 - 6 inch sprig rosemary
1 - 2 C - sugar (according to how sweet you like your juice)
1/2 - 1 C - vinegar (increase based on amount of sugar you use)
1 T - celery seed
1 T - ground clove
2 T - Kosher salt - to taste
1 T - ground pepper - to taste

Tomatoes - cleaned, cored, quartered - enough to fill the rest of the pot.

If your garden has the following, they may be used also: spinach, lettuce and squash. Hot peppers may be used but they may increase in heat as the juice sits in the jars. I freeze my hot peppers and add when I'm cooking a dish rather than during the canning stage.

I don't recommend using cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, or broccoli in juice. Their flavors will detract from the tomatoes.
I cook this until the tomatoes are mushy and the flavors have come out of the seasonings.

I carefully put this through my food mill. A food mill takes out all the solids while squeezing all the pulp, liquid and flavor for my juice. I reheat and proceed to the processing.

Aside from the plants/seeds, the propane for the processing, and lots of sweat equity, you can't beat the best of this garden reward.
I love my flowers, but, come those cold winter nights and nothing beats a big pot of tomato soup from my garden fresh "put up" tomato juice.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Moon Gardens

Images: Zinnias, hosta, dianthus, dusty miller, weigela, phlox, and a mix of cleome, nicotina and hosta.

Most late summer and fall days are called "Dog Days of Summer." Referring to it being so hot the dog just lays in the shade and sleeps. Although this year hasn't been hot, have no fear this year is the exception.

Along with the heat, many of our beautiful summer flowers have ended their bloom period. Your yard may be hot - bare - boring.
This is where WHITE comes into play in the garden. All of the pictured flowers are currently blooming in my yard. With some planning, you can have a white garden in the fall (plus spring & summer) that brings a cool and soothing view.

A "Moon Garden" is white (or light) flowers that show up at night AND have fragrance at night. If your bed is located near a patio or porch, the evenings are wonderfully fragrant and you can see the flowers at bloom although it's evening.

A few well placed solar lights or candles burning in your beds may also throw just enough light to really make the flowers pop.
Here are some suggestions for a white garden (all are perennials unless (A) for annual (B) biennial & (F) fragrant.) Most annuals will bloom from early summer until frost:

Fall Bloomers: Phlox "David" (F) - Hosta "plantogeana" (F) - Garlic Chives "Allium tuberosum" - Aster pilosus "Frost" - Clematis vine "Sweet Autumn" - Daucus carota "Queen Anne's Lace" - Sedum "Pink Chablis" - Turtlehead "Chelone glabra" - Hydrangeas Bush "Little Lamb".

Summer Bloomers: Clematis vine "Gillian Blades" - Coneflower "White Swan" - Daisy "Shasta" - Spotted deadnettle leaves - Rose "Alba" (F) - Lamb's Ear leaves - Dusty Miller leaves (A) - "Gooseneck" Loosestrife - Dianthus "White" - Yarrow "Achillea millefolium" - Baby's Breath (A) - Moonflower (A) - Impatien (A) - Cleome "White Queen" (A) - Petuna "Blanket White" (A) - Zinnia (A) - Oriental lilies "Casa Blanca" (F) - Astilbe "Bridal Veil" - Liatris "Alba" - Dahlia "Eternal Snow" (A) - Caladium "White Christmas" (A) - Begonia Baby Wing "White" (A) - Nicotiana "Alata" (F-A) - Datura "Belle Blanche" (A-F) - Mock Orange bush "White Sensation" (F) - Viburnum bush "Summer Snowflake".

Spring Bloomers: Bleeding Heart "Alba" - Columbine "Dove" - tulip "Mondial" - Lily of the Valley (F) - Peony "Festiva Maxima" (F) - Poppy "Louvre" - Narcissus "Misty Glen" - Asiatic Lilie "Endless Love" - Anemone "Sylvestris" - Iris "Immortality".

This list is only a few of the many selections for a white garden. There are several white blooming bushes (such as weigela) and a Korean Fir that has white on the curled end needles. If a plant is labeled "alba" it will be white.

Seldom are the leaves of any plant pure white because they need the green (photosynthesis) to live. The many dual colored leaves do bring light to the beds. Some varieties of flowers have near whites (daylilies) and others have white with a touch of another color. Some blues will have a frosty or silver color that enhances or accents a white garden.

White flowers need to have a dark contrast to stand out, especially at night. Dark green leaves will make an almost black background at night. One suggestion is a background of dark pines. Most wood mulch turns a silver color over time. Placing the plants close together keeps the wood chips from glowing at night.

Although I may be the only person who finds the constant sound of artificially circulating water distracting, many folks find a water feature perfect for the moon garden. A white birdbath helps attracts birds and butterflies to your fragrant flowers.

"A starry night, the fragrance of sweet flowers, layers of white flowers glowing in the moon light" - aw yes, sweet summertime, summertime. And fall and then perhaps spring - aw yes!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Annie & Her Poke Salad

Images: (1) Commercially produced/sold poke salet, (2) Giant Leopard Moth, and (3) the red stemmed pokeweed Phytolacca americana. AKA poke, pokebush, pokeberry, pokeroot, polk salad, polk salat, polk sallet, inkberry or ombu'. (Moth & canned food pictures from Dave's Gardens)

Like many plants with some parts poisonous, poke is a beautiful looking plant. Considered a perennial herb, the plant is native in Illinois.

Growing to 10 ft., the leaves are pointed, flowers are greenish-white and berries mature to dark purple.

The seeds, roots and raw leaves contain phytolaccatoxin and phytolaccigenin which is toxic to mammals (humans,horses, swine, & cattle.)

Some sources say the berries are not toxic if cooked. Examples exist where poke was used as a dye for red wine, brown ink, and brown colored clothing. The United States Declaration of Independence was written in fermented pokeberry juice.

Young leaves (prior to acquiring a red color) may be boiled three times (discard water each time) to make "poke salad". Some sources advise that even after boiling, traces of the toxin remain. It may be purchased commercially. As with all plants containing toxins, eat only after investigating and at your own risk. If it isn't prepared properly, it can be dangerous and possibly deadly - especially to children.

Occasionally, used for landscaping. I would caution gardeners the berries could be tempting to children. Also, birds eat the berries. It is not toxic to birds because the seed passes through them intact. Providing this food source to birds will insure poke growing randomly in beds and fields.

For generations, poke has been used for a food source in the southern states. It was used as a Native American Indian and folk remedy for many ailments. Researchers are currently investigating phytolacca's use in treating AIDS and cancer.

Pokeweeds are used as host plants for the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including the Giant Leopard Moth.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Planting a Wildflower Garden

Image: Liatris spicata "Kobold" aka Liatris, Blazing Star, Gayfeather. Liatris is a native Illinois plant.

Do you dream of turning a portion of your yard into a lush visa of native plants?

Do you want to see the Grand Prairie grasses swaying with the breeze?

Do you want to return a portion of your cultivated fields to a wildlife habitat?

Do you want to cut down on the maintenance and carbon footprint your current practices produce?

This doesn't happen by simply parking the lawn mower and throwing out some seeds.

Native plants are adapted to local conditions and are easier to grow and maintain. This low maintenance approach means savings in both time and money. Once established, native plants better withstand variations in local climate. Native wildflowers are mainly perennials or self-sowing biennials.

Native plants are better for the environment than exotic (non-native or introduced) plants, generally requiring less fertilizer and other additives, less water and less effort in pest control.

Native plant gardens benefit the environment in other ways:

They stabilize soil and reduce erosion; they more effectively filter storm water, thus improving water quality; and they promote biodiversity, offering the food, nectar, cover, and nesting areas that local birds, butterflies and other mammals need.

First, decide your objectives:

1. Do you want grasses, flowers, or both.

a. Planting a diversified selection means more pollinating insects.
2. Are there trees and bushes and do you want to keep them and/or plant native species?
a. You can't do a burn off near evergreens, bushes and structures.
b. If you can't burn, most will have to have a late fall/early spring cutting.
3. Do you want wildlife?
a. Inviting wildlife means all kinds of wildlife - you can't pick and choose only the cute ones.
4. Will there be a water source (stream, lake or pond)?
a. Natural water sources invite more wildlife and make it easier to establish plants.
5. Will the area be exposed to herbicide and pesticide drift and spray?
a. Some nature flora and wildlife are very sensitive to herbicides and pesticides.
6. Can you resist the urge to mow, trim, spray, make orderly and control?
a. Some people view many native plants as weeds.
b. It's alright to mow paths but complete mowing negates the advantages and will ruin the native plants.
7. Do you want a small patch or acres?
a. Planting acres requires farm machinery to till, plant and maintain.

Making a native plant and wildlife garden garden requires some careful planning, but the rewards are great. Get reputable instruction on preparation, care and plant selection. There are rules and laws to be considered. Doing it right makes the end result work right for you and your objectives.


Illinois Native Plant Society website:

USDA Illinois Natural Conservation Services website:
Visit a prairie grass or wildflower garden or an established natural setting for ideas.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hosta Story

Images are of a hosta Agavaceae flower, a variegated leaf, an old green leafed, and around the statue is "Sun & Substance".

Some hostas' flowers are sweetly fragrant, the oldest all white variety, Hosta plantageana (from China) was sometimes called August Lily. It is also unusual because it blooms in the evening. This beauty has emerald green medium sized leaves that will be blooming in about two weeks. Because of the fragrance, they were originally thought to be in the lily family and were commonly called Corfu Lily, Day Lily, or Plantai Lily. Some very old botanical books called them Funkia.

A herbaceous perennial, hosta has been the target of so many new varieties that each year offers new sizes and colors. There are over 3000 currently registered with the American Hosta Society. A new almost white thin leafed variety is available this year. The ancestors of most new varieties were brought from Japan in 19th century. Recently, a few new varieties have been found in Korea

Once developed, the color of the leaves in your garden will often depend on the amount of sun it receives. Hostas are currently known for being a great shade plant. But, some new varieties, with their variety of leaf color, need some sun to be at their best. Any hosta in total shade will suffer and perhaps not survive.

Hostas planted in total sun will generally look pretty ragged. The leaves will burn and eventually turn brown. They also suffer, but seldom die, in drought years if not watered. Obviously, with all the rain we've had in this area this summer, the hosta are huge and thriving.

True hosta freaks (I use the word "freak" lovingly), only treasure the differences in the leaves. They will remove the flower stalks to preserve the integrity of shape. Unlike my messy hosta method, where I let them sprawl, spread and crowd, they use each plant as a specimen. Intriguing and amazing to tour a true hosta garden. Beautiful in it's own way.

Some of the new varieties are also being developed to have fragrant flowers. Flowers usually come in lavender, white, violet and sometimes multi colored. Leaves are shades of green, blue, gold, cream, and almost white. They are solids, rimmed, edged, and painted. They can be almost flat to heavily veined and curled. Wide leaves to almost twelve inches to the tiny at a mere one inch.

To keep a hosta neat and tidy, cut off the flower stalks once the blooms are finished. This will not waste the plant's energy making seeds and improve the looks. Ragged leaves may also be trimmed out and the plant will soon fill in the bare spot.

Hosta may be divided once every few years with one plant becoming many. Dig the entire clump, pull into individual small plants. The old large leafed varieties increase in clump size faster than some of the new petite varieties. I like to divide my hosta early in the spring when the buds are just peaking through the soil. It gives them a better chance to settle over summer.

Planting spring bulbs near the hosta clumps is a good way to make double use of the area. The bulbs will bloom early and by the time the hosta is up and large, it hides the dieing bulb foliage.

Hosta have few enemies. Slugs and deer being the worst. I do not have slugs out here in the country (cross fingers) and the dogs keep the deer away.

I'm not a hosta aficionado; I don't appreciate the different fine small minute details. What I do appreciate is how well they fill in under trees, vines, bushes and up against the house where it would be unwise to plant large bushes. The new bright colors will enhance the shade like few other plants. I also appreciate their being so easy once they are in the ground. The perfect shade plant.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Dry Creek Beds

On August 1st, I wrote about Xeriscaping and pictured a dry creek bed. The question has been asked, "What's the point of a DRY creek bed?"

Most dry creek beds (I'll use DCB) are not always dry. They have several valuable purposes.

In an area where there are very hard big rains only a few times a year, a dry creek bed lines the path where the rain floods and runs off. Most of you have noticed the 6-12 inch deep crevices cut in fields, ditches and yards this Spring. They were cut by the power of fast running water and took the soil and vegetation with them.

If the path of the runoff is gently hollowed out and lined with smooth river stone or rip rock, the soil nor vegetation will be ripped out and moved. Assuming you follow the general path the water wants to take, you can sometimes make small changes to avoid some areas or to let the water flow to a more suitable location.

A Zen or an Oriental garden sometimes has a DCB simply as a suggestion of water without using water. It's part of the overall emotional and spiritual statement.

Other DCBs are used to receive the water from drain spouts. These are gently directed towards ponds, plants or gardens. Think of it as a permanent hose.

For DCBs that do not collect moving water, the options for lining material expands. Smaller or more decorative material may be used because the purpose is not to hold soil from moving. These dry creek beds may hold some water when it rains but it does not move - it eventually sinks into the soil underneath the liner.

Liners for DCBs, if used, should block weeds but allow water to drain through. Using liners requires more/heavier rock to hold in place and perhaps to edge the bed. Nothing makes a DCB look cheesier than hunks of black plastic shining through the rock or sticking out the sides.

Material for decorative DCBs can be field rocks, shells, decorative garden glass **, brick, copper sheathing, and others. If you are into "outsider art", I've seen them lined with Barbie Dolls but that takes me way beyond my comfort zone. When using smaller material, make sure your bed is deep enough water won't force it out over the sides or move it into piles when it rains hard.

DCBs should have a visual objective. They take the eye from one place to another. They may move around an object to surprise the garden stroller with a vista. Even if they are for a very real purpose of holding the soil in place during hard rains, they should still be visually pleasant, as if nature carved it out of a mountain.

If you desire straight lines, the chance for it resembling a city viaduct is probable. Cement is also a recipe for the industrial look. Only the very talented garden designer can pull off industrial materials and designs for a DCB and not have it look like a sewage runoff. It can be done and done beautifully but I am issuing a word of caution.

** Wholesale standard glass pebbles (whether from recycled auto glass or other) runs about $2-$10 a lb. It is beautiful and adds sparkle-like water texture. A small amount here and there on your DCB stone adds a bubble-like sparkle. Not for use around little children; not because they can get cut but because they could put in their mouth.

Check out who claim their glass is from 100% recycled material. Their glass is all tumbled so there are no sharp edges.

Daylily Madness #7

Thunderstorms are predicted all day - some with wind and hail. I decided I wouldn't be able to enjoy any of the daylilies in my yard and they would end their bloom tonight without my savoring.

Some daylilies are putting out their last blooms of the season, not to be seen again until next summer.

I picked one of each bloom!

FYI: Daylilies can be picked and remain open and beautiful all day without water. They have their assigned time to stay bloomed and whether they are on the stem or laying on a table, it makes no difference to them.

Some are more fragile and will droop a little (especially some spiders) but most will remain perfectly beautiful. Admit it, how often do you stay in your yard and simply stare at your beautiful blooms. Brought into the house or work place, you may pass them dozens of times a day. You can enjoy them up close and smell the fragrant ones and observe the one with subtle colorings.

This little display on my dining room table certainly brightened this rainy gray day! Double click on the picture if you'd like to view them up close and personal, too.

"When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it; it's your world for the moment." Georgia O'Keeffe

Thursday, August 6, 2009


The images are of the heirloom perennial herb Rudbeckia laciniata "Golden Glow" aka "Hortensia". It is a cut leaf cone flower.

This Rudbeckia is very tall - mine is nearly 8 foot. It has bright double yellow flowers. Blooms in mid summer to early fall in sun to partial sun. It is hardy to Zone 4a.

I bought this one from Select Seeds two years ago. It immediately took root and has been very healthy. It spreads by runners and is termed a "vigorous spreader." It has not been aggressive in my garden.

The wild herb leaves were used in salads. Native Americans used it mixed with Blue Cohosh to relieve indigestion and as a poultice to relieve the pain of burns. The wild version is not double and looks like the typical yellow cone flower you can see on many roadsides. Rudbeckia was named after Olof Rudbeck (Jr. & Sr.) and the laciniata is Latin for deeply cut (referring to the leaves.) The wild version was nearly 12 foot tall.

If the tops are pinched off in June, it will be more bushy. 

Otherwise, it will be tall and may need to be staked. I have mine up against a fence. It is prone to mildew.

The flowers attract butterflies and bees. It is deer and rabbit resistant.

The flowers will stay pretty in a vase for at least a week.

The wild version of this flower is native to the United States, including Illinois. Golden Glow was hybridized in 1897. It was called the "outhouse plant" by early settlers and was often used to hide things.

Companion plants: purple asters and hollyhocks. This is a great plant for the back of a border, against fences and sheds, and where you need a huge bright splash of color in the fall. Because of the size and structure, it is a free formed plant making it perfect for informal or cottage gardens. Then, there is that whole "hide the outhouse" benefit that no one can resist!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Xeriscape Me

Image: A Japanese garden that typifies Xeriscaping. This is an example of a dry creek bed. Photographed by my daughter, Susan, while in San Francisco CA.

Xeriscaping, in simple terms, means planting flora that does not require additional water than the average rainfall in your area.

Average precipitation (in inches) for this area:

Jan (1.1) Feb (0.9) Mar (2.3) Apr (3/3) May (3.7) Jun (4.3) Jul (3.9) Aug (4.3) Sep (3.4) Oct (2.7) Nov (2.3) Dec (1.9)

The average rainfall in Henry County, Illinois is not a lot of water.

In a Xeriscape, new plants may need additional watering. Once established, they should not need watering outside of the natural rainfall (only occasionally during those drought years.)

Typically most annuals require regular watering and aren't Xeriscape plants.

Unless you have bog areas, any plant that requires "needs moist soil" or "water when ground dries" is not a plant for Xeriscape.

You will notice that certain plants are thriving this year due to the excessive amount of rain we've had this year. They are plants that do well with moist soil.

Other plants may be suffering, but, come a drought year and they will be the ones thriving.

The point of Xeriscaping is to have plants that need NO additional watering EVERY year. It's a water conservation choice and it's a desire to do less maintenance (watering, fertilizer, and pest control.)

Some suggestions for your Xeriscaping:
  1. Native Illinois wildflowers, plants and grasses are always good choices.

  2. Sedum and Spurge both thrive with little water or care. Often under appreciated, both species have many great qualities.

  3. Sedum and Spurge come in a large variety of colors (both foliage & flowers), size, and textures. Bloom time can range from late spring and other will be the last flower in the fall. They can be bushes or ground cover. Full sun to semi shade. They also take very little effort to get established. They do not like wet feet.

  4. Dry creek beds and rock gardens are excellent landscape choices.

  5. A small water feature can recycle water but will give the appearance and sound of more moisture in your garden than is actually needed in terms of plants.

  6. The less turf grass you have the more easily you will find Xeriscaping.

  7. Amending the soil with compost helps retain the right amount of moisture and mulch keeps the moisture from escaping.

  8. Have your hardscapes (cement, pavement, stone) all drain to green areas instead of running into storm drains or roadways. There are many designs that can effectively help conserve natural watering and help cut the expense and effort of your watering.

  9. If you are on a property that is already landscaped, start in one area and take it a little at a time to make conservation changes. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

  10. Local and on-line bookstores have many choices for reading that can go more in-depth on design, plants, and maintenance.
A little folklore on rain: If it is raining in the morning and going to rain all day, the birds will come to the feeder in the rain. If it is raining in the morning but will stop, the birds will wait and come to the feeder after it stops raining.