I've been seeing a lot of red, lately - and in places it doesn't really belong. If you happen to like red roses, red lilies, red cannas and red callas, I am perfectly fine with that. In fact, red is one of the most popular colors in bridal bouquets and floral arrangements. Where I am seeing red and it doesn't belong is as a color of mulch. Colored mulches have become popular, for whatever reason (marketing, I imagine). Appearance is certainly one aspect using mulch in your landscape offers, but that is not the only reason, nor is it the most important reason.
OK, so I was a little drastic in my last post about watering and a follow-up is needed. The point I was trying to get across is that we don't always measure the impact of our actions, and we should be conscious of them. There are drastic consequences if we don't - just do a little research on the impact of the Babylonian irrigation system and on the San Joaquin Valley salinization to see the impact of irrigation without regard to the future. There are also parts of the world where clean water is in scarce supply, threatening the survival of the people living there.
The majority of the trees and shrubs are now cloaked in various shades of green (did you know the human eye can distinguish more shades of green than any other color?). Some are showing the effects of a rather blustery winter (for once, Minnesota has had a normal winter) and there are signs of animal damage, temperature damage and moisture (or lack of) damage.
This spring has been the usual ups and downs in temperatures and precipitation and as I, more than once, had to change plans because of a change in the weather, I began thinking about all the things we do to try to manipulate our environment. We plant. We water. We weed. We feed. We pluck, prune and pinch. We mow and we mulch. Not that all of this is bad - and, believe me, these are essential to our business. But, have we not learned anything from our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents about caring for the earth?
As I was spending time in the yard this weekend, I was thinking about some of the typical activities people associate with this time of year - and the first application of 'weed-killer' usually tops the list. 'Weed' is not a scientific classification, like tree, perennial, or grass, rather it is a cultural stereotype for plants growing in places you don't want them to.
Consider the dandelion - to the little girls and boys, it is the 'pretty yellow flower' they pick for their mothers.
A lot of the images I've posted lately are rather brown - spring landscapes tend to be monochromatic until things warm up a bit. It's like looking at a sepia print of the landscape. But, despite the seeming lack of color, brown can be a very striking color. In many recent weddings, brown is coming to the forefront of the color selections. When the picture at the left was taken, wedding cakes were still quite traditionally white, but we elected to have ours made with a chocolate buttercream (man was that good cake!). Brown doesn't have to mean drab - used boldly, it is quite stunning.