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Summer is now in full force for us here in the Midwest. I for one am happy that it's finally arrived to my home-state area in Southwestern Michigan. Upcoming True Midwest articles will feature the new season's arrival as for many this is the most beautiful time of the year, even more than the Michigan fall with all of it's brilliant colors.

There seems to be a larger variety of plant species here than I've ever experienced even though my home in Buchanan, Michigan is more than 700 miles north of my boyhood home in Kansas and the winters are significantly longer. I have a theory that due to the abundance of waterways and the richness of the soil between the great lakes, the sheer botanical zest of Southern Michigan is more abundant and vibrant than many other areas in the mid-western United States. Certainly the large amount of agriculture in this state would seem to be a good indication of that.

According to the Michigan Farm Bureau, "Michigan produces more than 300 commodities, making us the state with the second most diverse agriculture industry in the nation just behind California." Michigan contributes over $100 billion annually to the state's economy and employs just short of one million people. But unlike California 98% of Michigan farms are family owned.

So yes, in spite of the long winters and abbreviated growing season, there may be something to my hunch about the reason for the large variety of plant species. And when Spring hits the "GO" button, we lovers of the natural world should all get ready to stand back, observe, and be thoroughly impressed.

— Joseph Maas, True Midwest

The Redbud is a tree that is valued far more than its small size might suggest. This lovely harbinger of spring has been called “a breath of fresh air after a long winter” and no less than “one of our most beautiful native trees” by tree expert Michael Dirr.
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Photo by Joseph Maas

See more - Midwest Focus articles

See more - Midwest Focus articles