June 5, 2014

These days, there’s a lot of dissatisfaction with the role of government in our lives. Even, sometimes, the suggestion of outright rebellion. Although I understand the frustration, I have to ask… Have you ever heard of your county’s Agricultural Extension? How about Master Gardeners? City parks and green spaces? Community markets and gardens? News coverage so often focuses on the big things about government, and the ugly scandals of the moment. It’s easy to forget the small, steady, good things that governments can provide.

With that in mind, the Spokane County Master Gardeners will be going to their summer hours starting this weekend. That includes office hours on Saturdays. Need advice about an insect pest? Don’t know if your weeds are noxious invaders or native wildflowers? Want to improve your soil? The Master Gardeners, operated by the WSU Agricultural Extension, can tell you all that and more.

Wherever you are, as you read this, I’m sure there’s a similar Ag office through your County or public university. Take a look at what they do and then tell me no government ever did anything for you.

PS — My challenge to you: take a fresh look at your local landscape. Go out this weekend and visit a city or county park you’ve never been to before.

This weekend, the Friends of Manito Park will have their spring plant sale. I’ve mentioned Manito Park in previous posts. This sale, held near the Gaiser Conservatory, will help fund special projects at Manito. It goes from 9 am to 4 pm or so and also includes a couple of lectures. I plan to attend the one at 1 pm on planting for pollinators.

I’m a little late getting to my flower boxes this year. However, they finally are filled with geraniums, celosia, and a few violas that volunteered in my yard. Now I just have to find the fixtures and cording to make them stay up in my windows.

All those elm seeds I mentioned snowing down a couple of weeks ago? They’re starting to sprout. And they blew in everywhere! My work is cut out for me.

Not only my arugula and radishes have gone to seed, now my spinach has, too. Technically it might still be spring, but my garden is definitely heading into summer.

With the weather warming up from the traditional Memorial Day cool-down, my insect neighbors have become more active. This week I’ve seen honey bees, Rusty-Patched Bumblebees, hover flies and a Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. I also saw a tiny neighbor, which based on this bee identification chart, may be a Perdita minima. She looks just like a honey bee, but about 1/4″ long. She was crawling inside individual chive blossoms, just outside my back door.

Not only flying friends, but spider webs are turning up around my tomatoes. The occupants are too small for me to see who they are yet. My daughter was a little freaked out, but I’m glad to see spiders because it means my yard has a thriving ecosystem.


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