Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Intermission

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the Plano Prairie Garden blog. I started the blog in 2009 with comments that I wanted to try something new and to “provide documentation that my landscape is planned and intentional...just in case a Code Enforcement Officer comes knocking on my door and threatens me with a citation if I do not mow my weeds.”

Fortunately, I have not had any problems with the city or neighbors and several neighbors have even commented on how much they like my garden. Nobody else has removed their lawns, but maybe that will come in time.

Gardening is often a solitary endeavor and this blog has given me the opportunity to share my garden with people from across the country and across the world that can appreciate my gardening endeavors, but would never see them otherwise.

Many of the people that visited the blog left comments and links to their own blogs which gave me the opportunity to get to know them and their gardens. A few of those cyber visitors (Pam and Shirley) even visited the garden in person and it was a pleasure to meet both of them.

I have enjoyed sharing my Texas native plants with the world. It is funny how many people in Europe have a greater appreciation for North American native plants than we North Americans. Maybe we think that a flower we see growing in a field or vacant lot is a weed and too common to be cultivated in a landscape.

But if you really want to see common, just take a look at your typical suburban landscape. From sea to shining sea, most of them look exactly alike: a lawn of imported grass, a couple of trees, a row of shrubs against the foundation of the house and maybe a flower here and there.

Not only are most of these landscapes boring, but they do nothing for the wildlife that is trying to survive among us. I know the larger wildlife like bobcats, wolfs, coyotes, raccoons, possums, and armadillos that used to make this place their home are unacceptable to most people in suburbia, but we can plan landscapes that will help out the birds and butterflies and maybe even the bees and lizards. That is where native plants come in because they produce or attract the food that the wildlife has evolved with for ages.

I hope that this blog has helped a few people gain an appreciation for native plants that they may not have had before. It is possible to make an attractive landscape with native plants and you don’t need to go the extremes that I did. You can fit natives into the typical suburban landscape I described above.

Anyway, after all of that rambling, the purpose of this post is to tell you that I have decided to take a break from the blog and I don’t know if it will be for a while or forever.

Even though I only post a couple of times a month, I spend more time than you would believe putting a post together. And, personally, I think the posts are getting redundant and boring. I don’t want to be like the guy that shows boring home movies to his sleeping audience.

I do have a couple of ideas for new themes I could post about in the future, so check back. You never know. 

I plan to add to the blog a list of the plants in my garden and links to other blogs that I enjoy. Things I have planned to do for a long time, but never did. 

One more thing. The blog spam is getting out of control so, in a few weeks, I will turn off the ability to leave comments on the blog. If anyone should want to get in touch with me, I will give you my email address in the form of a puzzle (to avoid more spam). My email address is my last name followed by my first name (with no characters in between)@yahoo.com. You can find my name in the 2010 Dallas Morning News story about my garden. Follow the link here.

And now a parting video that you may have come across before. I first saw this video clip about a year ago and I never got around to posting a link. I have watched the clip at least a dozen times and I am amazed every time. Watch it in full screen. This is why we need to grow more native plants.


So long for now. I will keep in touch through your blogs.

31 comments:

  1. I hate to see you leave as you and Pam are my favorite garden bloggers. And I often forward your blog to friends to encourage them to use native plants. And you gave me eye candy when I was traveling and not able to be in my own garden.

    But maybe you can use your freed up time to at least start to document the bees using your garden. Native bees are in severe decline and I'm not sure we even know all of them, or the range of each species. You can send your pictures to Bug Guide, http://bugguide.net/node/view/15740 for ID and then people can pull them up by state and county.

    You might also want to review your garden based on having flowers in bloom throughout the year for bees at http://www.pollinator.org/guides.htm

    Another site I plan to use to build a slide show on Texas bees is this one. http://www.beewatchers.com/bee-watchers.html

    And you can add a bee certification to your wonderful garden. I hope you have time to speak for the bees because mostly they are considered pests rather than the pollinator of 1/3 of our food, as well as pollinators of food for birds, while feeding other birds.

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    1. Thanks, Marilyn. I appreciate your comments. I am glad I have provided some useful information. You always have useful information for me. I will check out the links. I am familiar with the Bee Watchers site. My garden is #10 on their list of Official Certified Texas Bee Gardens. The bees need all the help we can give them because we need the bees.

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  2. While relatively new to reading your blog, I've thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a treasure trove of insight and information. Thanks greatly for your dedication and effort. Maybe it's the sign of an aging mind, but I find myself returning and rereading the posts for enjoyment and education. Best wishes on whatever you decide for your blogging, and happy gardening.

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    1. BriarRabbtz, thanks for leaving a comment so I could know you were out there reading the blog. I am glad you enjoyed the posts.

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  3. PSHS class of 1984January 9, 2013 at 6:33 AM

    I'm leaving you in my feed reader, just in case you decide to post a picture once in awhile. Hope you're not drowning in all the rain this morning!!

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    1. PSHS class of 1984, who knows, I may not be able to resist posting a picture or two if the garden looks really good this spring. The rain was good. We really needed it. By the way, I can see the PSHS parking lot from my garden.

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  4. Thanks for this blog, Michael! Rain , rain ,and more rain! TG !

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    1. Randy, the rain was great. I did not have my rain gauge out, but based on news reports, we had 2-3 inches! That is more than we had in the last several months combined.

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  5. I'm really sad to hear this as you're one of my favorite garden blogs. You've inspired me to expand my native green space and reduce my lawn areas. I will miss the regular updates and seeing how the seasons change the beauty in your yard.

    I'm located in the DFW metroplex as well and, as you know, our climate requires special gardening considerations. It's sometimes hard to follow bloggers in other areas for that reason. It's been really cool to compare how our gardens are faring in similar weather (like the buckets of rain now!).

    I'd really love to see the list of blogs that you follow, especially of any that are in similar climate zones. I'd also love to see the list of your successful drought/heat plants.

    I've learned so much from your shared experiences and I really appreciate all your work and dedication. I hope to see you again with whatever you'd like to share with us!

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    1. Anonymous, thanks for the comments. There are not many other active DFW blogs that I am aware of. When I post a list, I will sort them by region. Have you seen Pam Penick’s list of blogs? She lists several Texas blogs that you might find interesting.

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  6. I'm really bummed that I just got started reading your blog that you are taking a break...but I completely agree with you, keeping up with the time commitment of a blog is difficult. I'm having my own issues doing it.

    I'm not sure how blogger works these days, but I really like Akismet for my spam blocker using Wordpress. Maybe that will help you out.

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    1. Misti, maybe it is just Blogger, but it takes me several hours put together a post. Formatting is a huge pain. I am also slow about stringing words together in sentences. I will check out Akismet to see if it will help. 2012 was the year of spam. I really never had a problem with it until the last half of the year.

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  7. (just BTW, do you 'report as spam'? I find my blogspot spam filters tend to skim off a few genuine comments (mostly those that have chosen noreply) as well as all the spam.
    I would delete your top Anonymous comment, and report it as spam. If you accept one on your blog, you get more. MUCH more.

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    1. Diana, Blogger seems to recognize most of the spam posts and does not publish them, but I do get an email box full of the comments. I did delete that first Anonymous comment. I don’t know if it was spam or not. I did not think it was one since it did not include a link. Spammers are sneaky.

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  8. I will miss your helpful ID photos for so many Texas plants and butterflies, but I understand the time commitment. Thanks for all you have shared, and good luck with your prairie garden.

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    1. Collagemama, if I revive the blog, one of the ideas I have is to post a monthly profile of a native plant from my garden. I have over 150 plants so that would be enough material for over 12 years!

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  9. Your blog will continue to be a source of inspiration and plant lists for me. Thank you for all of your detailed work you've documented here. My google reader will let me know if you decide to post or update a plant list now and then.

    I enjoyed meeting you and visiting your wonderful garden this past spring and you just might catch me doing a "drive-by" someday.

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    1. Thanks Shirley. You can stop if you want to.

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  10. Thanks for keeping this beautiful and interesting blog!

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  11. I have faithfully read your blog which was an inspiration to me and a good resource for my 4 acre prairie. Thank you.

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    1. Glad it has been of help, Anonymous.

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  12. For some reason, I was signed off of my blog, and when I signed back in, looked to see what comments need my approval. I tend to be lax about that, because I only have to approve posts older than a couple weeks or so. That's my effort at reducing spam. So, I saw your comment on my post about the snowfall, and now, I'm forgetting what it was. I am getting even more scatterbrained than I used to be, now that I'm 60. Anyway, I love your header photo, and look forward to seeing some of your older posts. I'm sorry to see that you may quit blogging. I have been blogging 4 years, too, and have thought about taking a break. I am starting to feel like I'm "showing reruns", too.

    I like what you said about documenting the fact that your weeds are there for a purpose, and that you are not just neglecting your place. I love my weeds, too, and am thankful no one complains, especially, about the common milkweed in the parking strip.

    Are you on FB? I'm thinking I may have seen you there, but I'm not sure.

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  13. I''ll really miss your blog, it was always a must-read anytime you posted...but I totally understand...it can be a huge time commitment. I do hope you post again in the future, even if not as often, as I'd love to see the continuing evolution of your garden.

    Cheers!

    Scott

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  14. Well, Michael, I'm sorry to hear you're signing off, but I hope it will only be for a little while and not forever. I always enjoy your posts and haven't been bored yet! I like your idea of profiling a native plant from your garden every so often. You're providing valuable info to new and experienced gardeners alike. I hope to see you here again soon!

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  15. Thank you for sharing your garden with the world. Thank you for the plant advice you have given me Michael. I love your blog and I will miss new posts, I do hope you do a few here and there. And if you don't, I will still come here for inspiration!
    All the best, take good care. :)

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  16. Michael... I'm another silent fan that will be very sorry to see you go! Like another Prairie Garden fan, I'm leaving you in my Google reader... just in case! :) Please let us know if you decide to go elsewhere.

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  17. I`m just getting back into the gardening mood after a seemingly long winter, but I feel the same way about my own blog and I`ve only been at it for a few months. Whatever you decide, you have a great blog and it has been a big help to me. I was here today looking for your Eryngo seedling pics. Take care.
    Randy

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  18. Hi Michael, I can't believe I'm only just now finding this blog. Shamefully, it's only after having some traffic come our way (FromOurGarden.com) from your well-curated list of links. There is a lot to go through, but we've also wanted to reclaim some Blackland prairie here in Austin and your accomplishments here are a huge inspiration.

    As someone who also recently took a break from blogging, it's been a pleasure to come back and rediscover why I began in the first place. We'll keep you bookmarked if you decide to continue, and you can rest assured that what you have shared is something of value to your readers.

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