A peek in the nursery

Seedlings in the light garden

Seedlings in the light garden

It’s that time of the year when life bursts forth. Though a little later than normal, the daffodils are blooming – some are already done. My redbud’s buds are showing their lovely lilac hue. The red buckeye’s buds are unfurling. The last of the red oak’s leaves are stubbornly hanging on. Two weeks ago there were still loads of last year’s leaves left. Last week there were around 20 leaves…..today, only 3 remain.

Indoors, I have some seedlings popping up, reaching for the plant stand’s light. The most prized are the last of the Burpee Super Sauce tomato seeds I purchased last year. Though 2013 wasn’t a good tomato year the plants yielded quite a few ginormous sauce tomatoes allowing me to put up salsa for the winter. yum…….

 

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Here…..birdie, birdie

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Juvenile Bald Eagle

I love birdwatching. Anyone who has ridden in my car knows that I watch more than just the road. (Hubby doesn’t agree that this is a noteworthy skill….) I often do many a shout-out while driving when I spot a hawk, a flock of turkeys, a deer (live or dead and maybe even on the other side of the road, no less) or vehicles with unusual vanity plates – all while in the driver’s seat. I’m always on the alert. Just last week I noticed a larger than normal bird near a deer carcass off Nutt Road in Centerville. I HAD to stop in the middle of the road to try to get a photo. It turns out I spotted a juvenile bald eagle! Yippee!

Snowy Owl (photo by Roger Garber)

Snowy Owl (photo by Roger Garber)

Lately, I’ve been scanning the skies, barn roofs and pole tips for a glimpse of a Snowy Owl. Those familiar with Harry Potter movies or books will recognize that Harry’s pet owl, Hedwig, was a Snowy Owl. As of January 16, Jim McCormac of ODNR noted there have been 136 sightings in 46 Ohio counties. You can check out a map of the sightings HERENormally these majestic birds live in the arctic. But when their populations rise and/or the numbers of  their favorite meal (lemmings) drop, they may be found out of their normal range — something called an irruption.

All this just for a glimpse of a Snowy Owl (photo by Roger Garber)

All this just for a glimpse of a Snowy Owl (photo by Roger Garber)

They are quite large; the body is 20 to 28 in with a wingspan, 4.2 to 4.8 ft, yet they only weigh a wee 3.5 to 6.5 lbs! Birders near and far were all a-twitter when one was spotted in Washington Courthouse in Fayette County. They flocked, pun intended, toting spotting scopes, telescopic lenses and binoculars just to get a glimpse of this majestic creature. I did not get the opportunity to get there but my friend Roger Garber shared many photos on Facebook. Sadly, it was reported yesterday on the Ohiobirds.org mailing list that the Washington Courthouse owl was found dead along side a road. I doubt I’ll ever find something so rare in my yard – though that doesn’t keep me from watching out for the unusual.

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Downy Woodpecker

Ornithologists from Cornell University collect data from backyard scientists (like me) in a program called Project Feederwatch where surveys provide numbers and types of birds visiting bird feeders. Evidence is mounting that suggests that insectivorous birds like woodpeckers may be finding the emerald ash borer larvae a new and abundant food source. More food may mean more woodpeckers! My Downy Woodpeckers love this seed feeder (from Wildbirds Unlimited). I noticed (see how observant I am?) that the feeder is missing today. I’m going to lay blame on the DUMB SQUIRRELS! I’ll have to wait until the snow melts a bit to track it down…..

Be sure to occasionally check the EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES tab at the top of the page for upcoming events.

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Carolina Chickadee and Tufted Titmouse

Visit Ohio Association of Garden Clubs, Inc.’s profile on Pinterest.

Fa la la la la la la la la

Lobby fireplace

Lobby fireplace

The old traditional New Year’s Eve Welsh carol that gave us the song we know today as “Deck the Halls” has a history that dates back to the 1700s. Last week a new tradition was begun: the decorating of Hueston Woods State Park (OH) Lodge near Oxford, Ohio. Though not a song, a solid work crew of 19 ladies from seven garden clubs affiliated with The Ohio Association of Garden Clubs recently decked the halls of the Lodge in holiday finest at this inaugural holiday beautification project. Clubs participating were from Region 3 (College Hill GC, Here and There GC, New Neighbors GC and Our Homes GC) and from Region 4 (Des Fleurs GC, Liberty GC and Monroe GC.) Sponsored by the Hueston Woods Region Visitors Bureau, the clubs managed to decorate around 16 trees (two of them 12 feet tall) and hang yards and yards of artificial pine garland with lights and ribbon.

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If you haven’t visited the Lodge recently, you might want to take a trip with your family. The guest rooms have been renovated and are quite comfortable. Don’t want to do an overnight? Just go for a day trip and have a meal in the Trailblazer Dining Room. The Dining Room hours and menus can be viewed HERE. The food is wonderful! The Lodge Dining Room continues to be a destination for many — over 1100 meals were served on Thanksgiving Day alone! To see more photos of the Hueston Woods Winter Wonderland, click HERE.

Clubs interested in participating next year should contact me. Many hands are needed and no experience is necessary! Mark your calendars: the target set up dates for next year’s event spans November 11-13.

Trailblazer Dining Hall Mantle

Trailblazer Dining Hall Mantle
The Ribbon Tree is about 14 feet tall!

Danger, Will Robinson!

There are aliens amongst us!

EAB

Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)

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Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB)

The Greene County Extension Service and the Xenia Tree Committee have joined together to provide information to the public  on late-year Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) treatment and decision making and  also provide information on the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) in Ohio. 

Presenters include Thais Reiff, OSU Certified EAB Specialist and Greene County Master Gardener and David Renz, Plant Protection and Quarantine Officer with the US Department of Agriculture, Animal, and Plant Health Inspection Service (AAPHIS). 

The event will be held 6:30-7:30 pm, Monday, September 30th in the Fireside Room of the Xenia Nazarene Church, 1204 W. 2nd St., Xenia OH 45385.

Both of these pests were imported from other countries. The EAB discovered in Ohio in 2003 is known to be in 70 of Ohio’s 88 counties. The EAB kills ash trees within 3-5 years of discovery. Reiff will be sharing information on how to make the decision once EAB is discovered in your ash trees.  Should the tree be removed or will it be cost effective to consider treatment alternatives.

Renz has been very active in the ALB inspections throughout Ohio and will discuss how the ALB is being managed in Ohio.  In June 2011, the first ALB invasion was discovered in Ohio.  The ALB attacks several varieties of trees unlike the EAB which only affects the Ash tree.

This program is free and open to the public.  If you have questions please contact the Greene County Extension Office at 937-372-9971.

Let’s go the the fair!

logoThe Montgomery County Fair is right around the corner and the Garden Club Federation of Dayton and Vicinity will be producing their 80th county flower show! Yes, 80 years! Yours truly is the flower show chair.

This year’s theme is “Through the Ages”. The artistic design class names were gleaned from the archives of flower shows in the past. A complete flower show schedule can be found HERE. Complete rules and times of entry are noted in the schedule.

Anyone living in Montgomery County or a county adjoining Montgomery County is eligible to enter.

See you there!

Short and sweet

I’m shooting out this time-sensitive information on items that may be of interest.

Open Garden and Hosta Sale

Glenda’s Gardens is having an Open Garden and Hosta sale. Glenda and her husband Gene Woggaman are members of the Miami Valley Hosta Society and their lovely home is a paradise to behold.

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Hosta Society Bus Trip

The Miami Valley Hosta Society’s annual bus trip is coming up Saturday, June 22 through Sunday, June 23 and features touring gardens in the Kalamazoo & Grand Rapids, Michigan area. The bus will depart from Miller Lane (North Dayton area) 7 am Saturday and tour four private gardens with a shopping stop at ROMENCE GARDEN CENTER in Portage, Michigan. Sunday’s highlights include touring three private gardens and visit the FREDERICK MEIJER GARDENS AND SCULPTURE PARK (admission and tram ride included) in Grand Rapids, Mich. Afternoon shopping stop at ARROWHEAD ALPINES (Rare Plants for Obsessive Gardeners), Fowlerville, Michigan.

MEMBER COST: $150 double occupancy, $200 single occupancy. NON-MEMBER COST: $175 double occupancy, $225 single occupancy. REGISTRATION DEADLINE: June 6, 2013. Click REGISTRATION BROCHURE for more info.

Greene County Master Gardeners 

“Garden Secrets Made Easy”, sponsored by the Greene County Master Gardeners, will be held June 6 from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm at the Xenia Church of the Nazarene (1204 W. Second St., Xenia OH 45385). Speakers will include: Pam Bennett, “Top Performing, Low Maintenance Annuals”; Dr. Laura Deeter, “Garden Design and Garden Maintenance” and Susan Liechty “Not Your Grandma’s Herb Garden.  Advance registration is $40 ($35 for Master Gardeners) and includes lunch. A full registration brochure can be found HERE.

Porterbrook’s Final Native Plant Sale

Sadly I report that the PORTERBROOK NATIVE PLANTS  will be closing in 2013. Their 13th and final Open House will be held May 26 through June 9 located in southeast Ohio in Racine, Ohio (Meigs County). Racine is about a 3 hour scenic drive from the south Dayton area. Dr. Porter has been a convention speaker and vendor for The Ohio Association of Garden Clubs and has been ethically collecting seed from native plants in Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia to propagate at the nursery since 1995. All of the plants are organically grown. There will be a wide selection of native grasses and sedges, as well as a limited supply of our American chestnut tree.

Seeing yellow

The Miami Valley/Dayton, Ohio area is well known for many things. Think: Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Charles F. Kettering, the Wright Brothers, Mike Sells Potato Chips, Marion’s Pizza and so much more. We are also known as the Birthplace of Aviation much to the consternation of North Carolinians….. Those of us who weren’t smart enough to leave the area also know it as Sinus Valley.

This is pollen - not a fancy paint job.

This is pollen on my poor Toro – not a fancy new paint job.

The photo above is what my mower looked like after mowing only the HALF of my .4 of an acre here in Washington Township. I felt like Charlie Brown’s friend Pig Pen going around the yard. I’m not sure if my White Ash (Fraxinus americana) is going into overdrive in pollen production what with the imminent Emerald Ash Borer invasion and all. Maybe it is mad that I planted a 6′ Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipfera) at its feet in anticipation of its removal when it gets the dreaded disease….

The business end of the Ash tree flowers.

The business end of the Ash tree flowers.

My only salvation will be a constant supply of sinus meds for the time being. For a change, I’m crossing my fingers for rain.

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Sales Alerts

KNOLLWOOD GARDEN CENTER: April 25-28, 20th annual Impatiens and Begonia sale. $12.99/flat.

GRANDMA’S GARDEN CENTER: Now through April 28, Spring Perennial Party, all quart-size and larger pots 25% off. Fri-Sun: Impatiens and begonia flats are $11.99.

MIAMI VALLEY HOSTA SOCIETY ANNUAL PLANT AUCTION: Tuesday, May 14, Polen Farm (5099 Bigger Road, Kettering OH 45440. Preview starts at 6 pm.

Be sure to check the EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES tab at the top for other area activities.

The push for a BIG PULL

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) – you may be related to my beloved brussel sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower – but I LIKE YOU NOT! You are just as hated as the obnoxious Amur Honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) which I successfully eradicated from my yard last year. So there! You just think you can wander into our lands and choke out and out-compete our native plants and wildflowers with your aggressive growing manners. Well some of us have had it and we’re not going to take it any more. In fact, YOU are now on the hit list.

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Honeysuckle invasion

Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm and Five Rivers MetroParks are working together to remove garlic mustard at Aullwood Garden MetroPark, the fomer home of Marie Aull. Marie was known as the Dayton (OH) area’s beloved naturalist and conservationist. In 1956 the gift of her land to the Audubon Society resulted in the creation of the Midwest’s first nature center, Aullwood Center and Farm. In 1977 her home and gardens were given to what is now known as Five Rivers MetroParks. She passed away in 2002 at the age of 105.

As in other areas of our state, invasives plants are overtaking the land. Garlic Mustard and Lesser Celandine (formerly Ranunculas ficaria now known as Ficaria verna) are running rampant. Ohio’s Former First Lady Hope Taft is asking for help.

Lesser Celandine

Lesser Celandine

On Tuesday, May 21, volunteers are needed for a BIG PULL. Learn how you can help research the best methods to remove garlic mustard, lesser celandine and other non-native invasives. There will be two work shifts. The first shift runs 9:30 am to noon, the second shift runs from 1-3:00 pm. Pack a lunch. Bonus: volunteers will get a special tour of Marie Aull’s home! Cookies and water will be provided.

The group is also looking for about 20 people to ‘adopt a plot’ and monitor (look at it and take a photo of it and describe what you see) what happens in it about 3 times over the growing season.

Marie Aull's home

Marie Aull’s home

For more information or to register for The BIG Pull, please contact Hope Taft, ohiohoper@yahoo.com, (937) 848-2993 with your name, address, email and phone number and garden club. Last day to register is May 14.

Mrs. Taft is also available to give a short presentation on this topic and the value of removing invasive species for a club meeting.

Be sure to visit the EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES tab at the top of the page.