Don’t Dig It

I was wrong. Hard to admit, but there we have it. I passed on advice from those I deemed older and wiser than I am, and they were wrong too. But hey, none of us knew any better. Then.

It seems that the last thing you want to do when planning a new garden is dig.

Yes, we were all taught to plan out where the garden would be, then spread amendments, and likely fertilizer, and dig it all in—at least eight inches, and two feet is even better. Now we’ve learned that the only things we gain from all that work are sore muscles and aching backs.

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A Different Kind of Birding Blog

Birder's Rules screen grab

Birding travel. Recent sightings. Ornithological news. Most birding blogs cover these and similar topics. That’s fine—it’s always enjoyable to hear about someone else’s birding adventures. But Birder’s Rules, written by Nicholas Lund, takes a totally different approach.

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I Love Veronicas

Veronica peduncularis 'Georgia Blue' @DBG LAH 171rs

It looks like the sky has fallen and landed among my perennials. Purple-blue flowers formed a dense carpet nearly obscuring the thick layer of green foliage underneath—and the whole show was only a few inches high. I have a weakness for “blue” flowers (when it comes to botanical descriptions, usually that means purple), and the various speedwells are at the top of my list.

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Birds Are Smarter than I Thought

We ooh and aah over their colorful plumage. We adore their antics. We marvel at their ability to soar, turn, and plummet. But how often do we admire birds for their intelligence? Read The Genius of Birds, and you’ll realize that being called a “bird brain” can be quite a compliment.

From fascinating behaviors to the minutest details of neurophysiology, author Jennifer Ackerman takes us on an incredible adventure into how birds think. Meet Alex, the African Grey Parrot who had a vocabulary of hundreds of English words, and knew how to use them. What’s more, he understood the concept, not only of numbers, but of zero.

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April Quiz: Uncropped Photo

If you were stymied on Monday, now can you name this bird? The photo was taken in California in April. The answer will appear at the end of next Monday’s post.

04 MorroBay-CA_LAH_0264

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Pre-Germination, again

corn germinating sharpened LAHGardeners, especially those in short-season areas, will do almost anything to get a jump on the growing season. Pre-germinating your seeds is one excellent way to speed up the sometimes tedious wait for sprouting seedlings. At my daughter’s request, I’m re-posting this article that originally ran back in 2009. I wrote it for vegetable gardeners, but it could work just as well for many flower seeds.

The nice thing about pre-sprouting your seeds is that you don’t need any fancy equipment. No grow lights or windowsill, no sterile potting mix, no seed trays or peat pots or six-packs. Most of us have paper towels, sealable plastic bags, and even a shallow pan we can fill with cornstarch (or unflavored gelatin) and water. It’s easy, fast, and a fun way to get the kids involved. Here’s my method: Continue reading

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April Bird Quiz

Can you name this bird? The photo was taken in California in April. I will post the uncropped photo on Saturday, giving you one more chance to identify this bird. The answer will appear at the end of next Monday’s post.

04 MorroBay-CA_LAH_0264

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