The impact of nature upon our well-being is truly amazing. The morning before Thanksgiving, I stepped outside to walk the dog and was met by the most glorious sky. Immediately I thought of the old saying “pink sky in morning, sailor’s warning,” but I shrugged that off immediately because I already knew rain was not in the forecast and Mother Nature was just showing off. As I continued to walk, enjoying the dog frisking in the breeze and the unusual light, a rafter of nine turkeys strolled out of the nearby woods to make the morning all the more beautiful. At that moment, I realized I felt good. The stress of things to be done had slipped away and I just felt peaceful. Turns out there are a number of research projects supporting communing with nature, or just seeing pictures of nature at peace to reduce anger, fear and stress and make you feel better emotionally.
I already have my first spring 2022 plant orders placed. Normally, I don’t start getting serious about plant orders for another month or so, but when I saw three native plants from my wish list from one source alone, I declared the season open. The three plants I ordered, American bugbane (Actaea rubifolia), white false indigo (Baptisia alba var. macrophylla), and yellow giant hyssop (Agastache nepetoides) aren’t rare plants in the landscape, but they are less common in the trade as plants, so I snapped them up before they sold out. From another nursery I ordered ‘Ponca’ blackberry, one of the newest releases from John Clark’s blackberry breeding program at University of Arkansas. ‘Ponka’ is a floricane-fruiting, thornless cultivar that is highly rated for its overall sweetness and flavor. Imagine my surprise though when it was delivered on my doorstep November 27th! Not the optimal planting time, but I went ahead and planted the rooted cuttings that same day. Even the experienced screw up occasionally, but weather conditions have remained mild to support good root growth, and I am feeling optimistic.