ShadyGardens Blog

January 9, 2010

Global Warming: Where Is It?

Filed under: animals, chickens, cold, freezing, garden, gardens, Georgia, global, nursery, pets, Shady, temperatures, warming — shadygardens @ 4:58 pm
Global warming has been a topic of much discussion for quite a while now. Former Vice President Al Gore even won a prize for his movie on the subject.

If global warming is actually occurring, it isn’t anywhere near our garden. We’ve endured early morning temperatures in the twenties for over a week now, and early morning temperatures in the teens for 3 days. In fact, the predicted high today is 28 degrees, which is, if I heard them right, according to our local weather station, about 20 degrees below normal for this time of year. 
When temperatures are this low, a gardener and owner of backyard chickens must take many precautions for the safety of his animals and plants.

First and foremost is water. All water in our garden has been frozen now for over a week. Although most of the days have been sunny, water in our birdbaths and pet waterers has not thawed, even during the warmest part of the day. Water is necessary for survival, even when temperatures are in the teens. Make sure your animals have access to fresh, clean water at all times.

Provide an area of shelter out of the wind for your animals during these freezing weather episodes. If possible, provide heat or a heated blanket or even allow your pets indoors at night.
About the plants, I don’t know what to tell you about that.  Container plants should be watered at least every few days, but I can’t make myself stand out there with a hose when it’s this cold.
Here at Shady Gardens, we’re all eagerly anticipating next Wednesday, when temperatures are supposed to climb into the 50’s that afternoon. And still, the night time temperatures will again drop down into the teens… 

October 15, 2009

Climate Change: What Can You Do About It?

Climate change–there’s a lot of talk about climate change these days. And there are many skeptics out there. I’m not a scientist, and in this post I will not pretend to know a lot of facts to either promote or disprove the idea of global warming.
I will say this: we’re having some crazy weather! Two and three years ago, Georgia was under a severe drought. Farmers lost their livelihood, garden centers went out of business, and I personally lost most of my bigleaf hydrangeas–shrubs that had been established for several years. Record breaking heat waves and no rain for several weeks at a time is more than many shrubs can tolerate.
This year, on the other hand, Georgia has had more rain than we want! Severe flood damage occurred just a few weeks ago and threatens us again. (Actually, prior to the drought we had a few years ago, we received too much rain. I remember we received so much rain that area creeks and the Chattahoochee River swelled, washing away roads and bridges.) Yes, it’s a fact–Weather patterns do change.
And it’s that thought that brings me to my favorite topic: native plants! I’ve written many posts advocating the use of native plants. If you’ve followed my writings for long, you know that I love native plants for their tolerance to adverse weather conditions including excessive heat, humidity, and drought.
It is for Blog Action Day that I write my thoughts today. Whether you believe our climate is really changing or not, and whether or not you believe Global Warming is a fact or a myth, the right thing for you and me to do is whatever we can to protect our environment. We must protect the environment for our children and for our grandchildren.
These are simple suggestions, and this is what we do here at Shady Gardens:
  • Plant native plants instead of invasive exotics. In a nutshell, native plants will survive drought causing you to use less water when watering plants is restricted. Please read my previous posts on this topic.
  • Use organic pest control methods instead of poisons which can kill more than just the pest you wish to remove. Biological insect control can be something as simple as attracting ladybugs into the garden. ‘No kill’ rodent traps are available providing good results without the use of dangerous chemicals.
  • Use organic fertilizers instead of synthetic ones. Chemical fertilizers can be poisonous, and they really are junk food for the plants. Compost and other organic soil amendments make plants healthier and stronger. Some organic fertilizers like compost tea even help to ward off plant disease.
We are stewards of this great country we live in: caretakers of all that is around us. As gardeners, we must do our part to protect and preserve nature. I hope you will join me in planting native plants that provide homes, habitat, and food for wildlife. And then do nothing to poison the little creatures!
As always, I welcome any questions or comments.

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