Resurrected love

Over my lifetime, I’ve killed hundreds, no, thousands of plants. Houseplants in particular. The plants I grow outside are lucky. Most are better off letting Mother Nature nurture them through the growing season. My dear African violets aren’t so lucky. Their lives depend on me, of all people, to keep them alive. I’m grateful when they reward me with their beauty.

Looking back, I remember growing African violets in my college apartment and also being the subject of a written assignment. Well, it has been a long spell between those 1970s college days at The Ohio State University’s Agricultural Technical Institute but my African violet interest has come back to life. Don’t ask me how many I have. I pick up a couple more every month at our African violet club meeting. And of course, my motherly instincts kick in when I have to rip out suckers. I CAN’T throw them away; I HAVE to pot them – which only exacerbates the overpopulation problem!

Here are a few of the cuties on the shelves (6 four-foot light fixtures) at the moment.



Jolly Orchid (miniature)



Amour Elite (standard)



Paula’s PB and J (standard)


I lost the name for this one – I call him Fred. (miniature)


Jolly Gala (miniature)

Mark your calendars now for great educational opportunities

Once again, the new year brings educational opportunities galore. Check out some of the events that are happening in the next few months. The Adams County Amish Bird Symposium and the Ohio Botanical Symposium are two events I never miss!


The Great Tree Summit 2015 – Saturday, January 31, 10am to 1:00pm

CINCINNATI ZOO & BOTANICAL GARDEN, Peacock Pavilion, 3400 Vine St. Cincinnati, OH 45220

What? An educational and inspirational event to celebrate the first year. You can register HERE or visit

  • Meet with people who share your concerns and become involved in building the legacy you want for your community
  • Learn more about our region’s forest heritage… local initiatives to address our tree crisis… inspiring examples and new opportunities for re-building our invaluable tree canopy
  • Welcome by Thane Maynard
  • Canopy For The Community by Josh Knights, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy of Ohio
  • Comments by David Mann, Vice Mayor of Cincinnati, Jim Henning, President of Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky and other dignitaries
  • Audience Q & A with Taking Root Steering Committee
  • Awards, Update on Taking Root, and much more

get-attachment.aspxTri-State Green Industry Conference – Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45246

The Tri-State Green Industry Conference is a collaborative effort between Ohio State University Extension, Purdue Extension, University of Kentucky Extension, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. It features a variety of high quality education and training for professionals and also features a vendor trade show.Questions? Call Julie Crook (513) 946-8998 Details and Registration now online at

civic center

Ball Seed Workshop – Sunday, February 8, 2015, 2–4pm

Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati’s Green Learning Station, 2715 Reading Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45206

Join us for a hands-on workshop learning to make your own seed balls. We will use seeds of local genome common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, collected in the Cincinnati area by Wild Ones members. This is an opportunity to support Wild Ones’ efforts to help save the endangered Monarch butterfly by dispersing their required host plant, milkweed. Seed balls can be used to grow your own milkweed in your backyard or to throw into nearby roadsides and fields. All materials and handouts provided. Children are welcome if accompanied by an adult. RSVP is REQUIRED as space is limited. Email or call 513-205-0742 with your reservation.

Directions: Civic Garden Center is between Oak and Taft on the grounds of the Hauck Botanic Garden. Parking is free and available off Oak St by the CGC and in the medical center lot on the north side of Oak. Parking is also available behind the building along the paved paths.


Ohio Invasive Plants Council (OIPC) Annual Meeting – Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Highbanks Metro Park, (north of Columbus)  9466 US Rt 23 N, Lewis Center, OH 43035

Speakers will include Hope Taft, former First Lady of Ohio, Theresa Culley presenting the Assessment Team’s determination of additions to the Ohio invasive plant list, Steven Hovick of Ohio State University speaking on Purple Loosestrife and its biological control. In addition we will announce winners of the 2014 Award of Distinction and the student research grant award. Participants will also vote for four positions on the Board of Directors, and engage with other members in making priorities and plans. This meeting also marks the 10th Anniversary of OIPC. Official OIPC t-shirts will be available for $15 featuring the compelling design by Kristina Gauer. Registration is $15 and includes lunch. Registration will soon be open at For $25 you can register and receive an OIPC t-shirt.

cinci wildflower

Moss and Lichen Program – Friday, February 13, 2015,  7:30pm

Avon Woods Nature Center, 4235 Paddock Rd., Cincinnati, OH, 45229

“The Hidden World of Mosses and Lichens” with Dr. Robert A. Klips, Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, Ohio State University at Marion. Sponsored the Cincinnati Wild Flower Preservation Society

cinci zoo

Sustainable Urban Landscapes Symposium – Thursday, February 26, 2015, 8:00am to 6:00pm

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45220

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Sustainable Urban Landscape Symposium will be a jam-packed program with expert speakers designed to take on the challenge and answer the questions of how we can design, build, and maintain the most sustainable landscapes possible. Speakers include Jim Hansel of the University of Cincinnati, Dr. Bruce Frederick of the Bartlett Tree Care Company, Dr. Dan Potter of the University of Kentucky, Craig Frye of SD1, and Steve Foltz and Deb Zureick from the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, plus many more. More information here:


Ohio Natural History Conference – Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ohio History Center, Ohio Historical Society, 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43211

Registration is now open. Come to the conference and also enjoy a day viewing the exhibits at the Ohio History Center. Register online at ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­


Adams County Amish Bird Symposium – Saturday, March 7, 2015

Wheat Ridge Amish Community Building, 3735 Wheat Ridge Road, West Union, OH 45693

Join the Adams County Travel & Visitors Bureau and the Adams County Amish Community for the 12th annual symposium. This daylong celebration of birds features speakers, vendors, live raptors from Raptor Incorporated and other activities. Registration required. View/print a registration form here.

5 rivers

Miami Valley Gardening Conference – Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sinclair College, 444 W. Third St., Dayton, OH

The 20th Miami Valley Gardening Conference presents a look at the past, present and future of gardening in our area. Join keynote speakers Thomas Rainer (The American Garden in a Post-Wild World) and Kelly Norris (Dig This: Stylish Gardening for Savvy Gardeners) and ten other local gardening experts as they explore the way we garden and how it has and will continue to change. Fee $50 includes lunch, snacks, covered parking, and all materials. For more information

Pollinator Short Course: Identification and Conservation of Pollinators in Ohio  – Thursday, March 12, 2015

Valley Vineyards Winery, 2276 U.S. 22, Morrow, OH 45152

Short Course with Denise Ellsworth, OSU Department of Entomology. More information found here:

civic center

DVD: What Plants Talk About – Sunday, March 15, 2015, 1:30-4:00pm

Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati, 2715 Reading Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45206

Hard core science is effortlessly integrated with a light-hearted look at how plants behave, revealing a world where plants are as busy, responsive and complex as we are. From the stunning heights of the Great Basin Desert to the lush coastal rainforests of west coast Canada, scientist J.C. Cahill takes us on a journey into the “secret world of plants,” revealing an astonishing landscape where plants eavesdrop on each other, talk to their allies, call in insect mercenaries and nurture their young. It is a world of pulsing activity, where plants communicate, co-operate and, sometimes, wage all-out war. So come along for the ride and discover that plants are a lot less passive and a lot more intelligent than you think!

cinci zoo

Gardening for Wildlife – Wednesday, March 18, 2015, 7-9pm

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, 3400 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45220

Part of a 10 week series Landscaping for the Homeowner (began Jan. 7) For more information:


Ohio Botanical Symposium – Friday, March 27, 2015,   8am to 4pm

Villa Milano, 1630 Schrock Road, Columbus, OH 43229; (614) 882-2058

The 13th Ohio Botanical Symposium is hosted by the Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, in cooperation with the Ohio Division of Parks and Recreation, The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, The Nature Conservancy and The Ohio State University. The symposium brings together people of various backgrounds who share an interest in Ohio’s flora, wildlife and natural history. Quality speakers will present on botanical topics related to Ohio and adjacent states. Vendors will be present selling native plants, books and other items. The Cincinnati Wild Flower Preservation Society will host a silent auction of photographs taken by some of Ohio’s top nature photographers. Proceeds will go to the Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves to support land acquisitions. For more information contact:

Southwest Ohio Perennial School – Thursday, April 9, 2015,   8:00am to 4:30pm

Clermont County Fairgrounds, 4-H Hall, 1000 Locust Street, Owensville, OH 45160

Sponsored by the OSU Extension, Clermont County. For more information:

Native Plants to Know and Grow – Saturday, April 18, 2015   9am to 4pm

Mulberry Community Center, 260 Mulberry Avenue, Pomeroy, OH 45769

  • Keynote Speaker: Donna VanBuecken, “Stewardship: Taking Responsibility”
  • Sierra Patterson, “Native Trees and Shrubs”
  • Gale E. Martin, “Creating a Native Prairie”
  • Dr. Frank Porter, “Using Native Vines in the Landscape”
  • Dr. Melanie Schori, “Landscaping with Native Grasses”

More information here:

2014 Hueston Woods Winter Wonderland

2014 Hueston Woods Winter Wonderland

Southwest Ohio garden clubs who are affiliated with Ohio Association of Garden Clubs (OAGC) joined together to produce the 2nd annual Hueston Woods Winter Wonderland at the Hueston Woods State Park Lodge near Oxford, Ohio. Nearly 70 garden club members and friends from 12 OAGC garden clubs participated this year. They hailed from Butler, Clermont, Darke, Greene, Hamilton, Montgomery and Warren Counties. The display will be up through January 19, 2015.

The invitation is open to other clubs who would like to participate. To get your feet wet for the 2015 set-up, please consider participating in the take-down on January 20, 2015. Contact Vicki Ferguson at for more information and for details on an overnight lodge discount rate for workers.

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Signs of summer

An early morning stroll in my ‘back 40’ led to some pleasant discoveries. First, the lovely Hardy Hibiscus ‘Kopper King’ is now wielding massive 8 -10 inch diameter blossoms on stems with bronze colored foliage. The fun thing is, it looks as gorgeous from the front as it does from the back – if only you take the time to notice.




Hardy Hibiscus ‘Kopper King’

While inspecting the common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) that I planted two years ago (doing my part to save the Monarch butterflies) I discovered two half-inch long Monarch (Danaus plexippus) butterfly caterpillars happily munching away. It will be fun to watch them mature.


Monarch butterfly caterpillar

Milkweed blossoms

Milkweed blossoms


Red Milkweed Beetle

There are many other insects that appreciate the Milkweed patch. One of the most obvious is the Red Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus). At first glance, this may appear to be a Spotted Asparagus Beetle, but it is actually one of our native long-horned beetles. This second photo has some focus issues, but the charachteristic long-horned antennae are more visible.DSC03904

Thanks to a late August birthday, I didn’t have fond memories of celebrating childhood birthdays in my school classrooms. Why? Back-in-the-day-oh-so-long-ago, school started after Labor Day. Needless to say, it felt like everyone had a birthday to celebrate during the school year but me. The one thing I always remember about my late August birthday is that you could tell that summer was winding down. How? The start of the cool and foggy mornings. Something like the one we had today. In mid-ish July! Spiderwebs adorned with the jewels of dew are mesmerizing! DSC03905




Oregon Historic District Garden Tour



The Oregon Historic District Society will present its annual Summer Solstice Garden Tour of nine distinctive private gardens on the first day of summer, Saturday June 21, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. As Dayton’s oldest historic district, the Oregon District is a rich mix of historic and contemporary homes, with architecture ranging from the mid-1800s to modern.

The garden tour will begin at the gazebo at Newcom Founders Park at Green and Brown Streets near downtown Dayton. Tickets for the self-guided tour cost $10 per person, and proceeds benefit the non-profit Oregon Historic District Society, which is involved in historic preservation efforts.

Desserts from Buttercream Lane Bakery and beverages will be available for sale at the gazebo, as will decorative potted plants. A master gardener will be on hand to answer questions about gardening. The tour will be held rain or shine. Fifth Street businesses and restaurants will be open during the day, including Lily’s Bistro, which will offer half-price appetizers to tour participants who bring in their admission map.

The gardens on tour demonstrate how much can be done with urban gardening spaces, ranging from small to large gardens tucked alongside and behind historic homes, including the Victorian mansion built in 1877 by John Balsley, a brick home built in 1845 with a lush garden filled with art, and an Italianate home built in 1881 with a summer kitchen in the narrow back yard. For more details and garden photos, please visit