I finally broke down and had the back surgery I needed at the beginning of January and I'm just now starting to feel human again. For those interested, I had what's called a lumbar fusion at the base of my spine. Essentially, they pull the disc out and fuse the bones together so they can't slip anymore. They tell me I'll feel like a new person when the bones fully heal . . . in 6 months to a year. Gah!
So I have spent much time, some of it in a narcotics induced stupor, laying in bed and planning my next blog post. Thanks to said narcotics, I can't remember diddly about those posts I wrote in my mind. I'm sure they were much more insightful and entertaining than what you will actually read here.
I also spent a goodly chunk of time catching up on my backlog of books to be read. Last fall, I decided to add some new courses to my usual repertoir of continuing education classes for the spring of 2012. Over the summer, when my back had me side-lined from gardening, I developed an interest in all the critters I had never taken the time to observe - birds, bugs, butterflies, bullfrogs; you name it. Even a few that didn't begin with the letter B!
My new list of courses includes Growing Daylilies, Growing Iris, Attracting Birds and Attracting Other Critters. I will also do Growing Roses, which I do every year. The daylilies and iris classes will be easy and fun, but I've never taught about the critters before, even though I've always enjoyed them.
Naturally, the very first thing I did was order a bunch of books on the subject. I now have over a dozen new books on everything from attracting birds to garden ecology to insect identification (God truly loves beetles, just FYI.) A couple of them were duds, but one book was awesome and I keep referring back to it - Bringing Nature Home, by Douglas Tallamy.
He is a native plant advocate and explains in very clear language why you should be, too. I found his arguments persuasive, though a little on the fanatic side. He strongly discouraged non-natives, even to the point of dissing the butterfly bush because no caterpillars host on it. I see his point (no caterpillars = no butterflies), but most butterflies have to eat, too, and as long as you also plant the native stuff caterpillars like, where's the harm in a few non-natives for the adults? Just my opinion, of course. Do read the book - it was very thought-provoking.
I have a feeling my blog will be turning more towards gardening for the critters, in addition to gardening with limitations. I hope everyone will enjoy it! I know I will.