July 20th, 2018

Buds and Blooms: Celebrate Earth Day every day

By Medicine Hat News on April 14, 2018.

Spring really is here. Mother Nature just wanted to give a last (maybe) little drink of water to our usual desert-like area. I have seen three robins, and noticed the finches playing tag! The winter was long. I so welcome spring.

Earth Day is April 22. Earth Day is a day intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the earth’s natural environment. Our environment is in peril. The most urgent things I think we need to consider are close to home. Plastics: islands of plastics, in our oceans; plastic particles in our drinking water. It can’t get any closer than that. Please try in every way to stop the use of plastics. Each of us should own a reusable travel bottle, period. Please practice the 3R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Another imminent danger is our loss of pollinators for our food sources. The bees, butterflies and insects are stressed due to human mismanagement of the environment. Chemical sprays are poisoning our water and killing both pest and beneficial insects. Flowering plants depend on the many insects that feed on their nectar for pollination, and pollinated plants produce more abundant flowers, fruit and seeds. Insecticides also deplete the insect population on which birds survive. To lose the pollination of bees, the beauty of butterflies, and the song of birds is unimaginable. To lose the very food we need to sustain us is unimaginable.

I implore you to think before you spray. Learn the difference between good bugs and bad bugs in your garden. Squish the bad bugs. Plant mint, dill, catmint, yarrow, anise hyssop, creeping thyme, and lavender to attract beneficial bugs. Plant nectar rich flowers for butterflies such as liatris, coneflowers, golden rod, lantana, bee balm, phlox, zinnias and chrysanthemums. Plant milkweed and Buddleia davidii (Butterfly Bush). Butterflies would also appreciate a source of water, as do the birds. Buy a bird bath or water fountain so you can appreciate these creatures in your yard. The sights and sounds are soothing to your soul.

I can’t stress enough to customers that healthy soil begets healthy plants. Bugs attack vegetation when it is stressed, especially during the heat of summer. If you don’t compost at home you should buy some organic compost, manure or Top Soil Plus and top-dress your flower and vegetable gardens in the spring and again in the fall. Your soil should be light fluffy humus, with lots of worms.

With Earth Day coming next weekend, plan to do something to celebrate. Bring your children to John’s Butterfly House to learn the life cycle of a butterfly. Enjoy our new young goats Axel and Rose. Buy some marigolds for the kids, or let them plant a pot of peas and carrots. Encouraging your children to love and protect our Mother Earth is the best thing you’ll ever do for their health.

The perennial house is now open for you to come and smell the beautiful irises in full bloom. We have buds on our 1,200 roses. A special section was set up with many plants that attract butterflies. We also have a yellow table of flowers as the Medicine Hat Horticultural Society declared all and any yellow flowers to be ‘Flower of the Year 2018’.

It is spring so come in to inhale our fragrances and have an ice cream cone. It is still too early for planting but the atmosphere will get the thoughts churning.

Bev Crawford is the Perennial House Manager at The Windmill Garden Centre and John’s Butterfly House.

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