Waiting, waiting, waiting….

It won’t be long now before the Decorah, Iowa bald eagles’ eggs hatch. The anticipated first hatch date is April 1.  I’ve noticed a big change in the parent’s behavior – they are much more alert and on-guard while sitting on the nest. AND there is a dead body in the nest. Probably a rabbit, I would guess. Yum, just like mom used to make.

Regal Cindy: Roger Garber is a friend of a friend who happens to be a great photographer here in the Dayton, OH area. This photo of  “Cindy” is one of his. She is one of the Dayton area nesting eagles and was photographed near the Mad River well field/Eastwood Lake. His photos are often seen on TV channel 7.

Baby Hummers: You REALLY need to add one more nest cam to your day. This one is an Anna’s Hummingbird nest in CA. The nest was built in a rose bush and is no larger than a golf ball. The 2 babies are about 2 weeks old and are already trying to stretch their wings. The parents patiently feed them a mixture of nectar and insects about every 15-30 minutes. At this rate, I’ll never get anything done around the house!

Great sales opps around the state

Here are a couple more places to visit to get your plant fix:  Saturday, May 6-7: Chadwick Arboretum & Learning Center (OSU, Columbus, OH) will hold their annual plant sale, auction and Garden Fair featuring over 10,000 plants. Saturday, May 21: Dawes Arboretum (Newark OH) hold its annual spring plant sale and Garden Fair.

Governor's Residence, Columbus OH

Governor’s Residence looking for volunteers

Did you know you can help maintain the Heritage Garden at the Governor’s Residence? You and your friends can provide hands-on help and have fun in the Heritage Garden through planting, thinning, transplanting, weeding.

When? The 2nd Wednesdays of the month – 9 am to 12 noon – May through October (May 11, June 8, July 13, August 10, September 14 and October 12) and the  4th Wednesdays of the month – 9 am to 1 pm (speaker at noon) – May through October (May 25, June 22, July 27, August 24, September 28 and October 26. (There will be a special celebration lunch on September 28.) An Orientation (Must be registered by April 1) will be held on April 27th from 1-3 pm. If you attend you will receive a t-shirt, see the new volunteer meeting space and get a special tour of the property.

Where? Ohio Governor’s Residence: 358 N. Parkview Ave, Columbus OH 43209, (614) 644-7644)

Wear: Outdoor work clothes and dress for the weather

Bring: Tools for weeding and transplanting, kneeling pad, gloves, plastic bags for weeds, shovel, trowel, etc. brown bag lunch, and hear a speaker on the 4th  Wednesdays of the month. It’s great to bring a friend or two – the more, the merrier. There are plenty of things to do and each week is different.

Interested? Contact Hope Taft at Ohiohoper@yahoo.com. A security check is required.


Busy as a bee

Bee on a pussy willow blossom (Salix sp.)

The warm weather is bringing more out than the bees! Note the pollen sacs on this hard worker in the photo…. Everyone seems to want to clean up their beds. Including me. While in the garden, I managed to embed a big sliver of a plant stem so deep in my knuckle that it required visit to the doctor. One tetanus shot, a scalpel and a suture to close the incision and I was good to go. That’s when I wish my imaginary gardener, Thor, wasn’t so imaginary!

Baker’s Acres Greenhouse opens!

Saturday, March 26 is Opening Day at Baker’s Acres. Crazy people like me can and will drive 2 hours to visit this greenhouse in search for unusual annuals and perennials. Located east of Columbus, yet west of Granville, you will not be disappointed. Consider this: Over 100 varieties of coleus, give or take. See what I mean?

Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark prepares for Patrick Dougherty Exhibit

Willow saplings for the Patrick Dougherty installation

This spring, internationally renowned artist Patrick Dougherty will create and install one of his unique outdoor sculptures at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark. The massive structures are made entirely of woven saplings and resemble nests, lairs, and mythic shelters. While visiting the Englewood MetroPark I came across one of the semi-trailers that is already being loaded with young willow trees to be used in the exhibit. He will be in Dayton from April 4-22 and with the help of many volunteers, create an original woven-branch sculpture that will remain in place for about two years. Sponsored, in part, by the Wegerzyn Gardens Foundation.

Bald Eagle Cams

I can’t believe how easily I got hooked on watching, or at least checking in on, the Decorah (Iowa) Bald Eagle nest cam. I feel like I’m right in the nest with them. The best part, other than the view, is that the cam streams audio as well so that you can hear what is going on. There are three eggs in the nest and the estimated first hatch date is around April 1.

This isn’t the only bald eagle nest cam around. Here is a link to one at the Norfolk (VA) Botanical Garden. It does not have audio but the three chicks have already hatched and you can watch the parents feeding them. You can also participate in a moderated discussion board on the eagles.

Locally, we have eagles named Jim and Cindy on a nest at Eastwood Lake. Here is that link.  On Tuesday I saw another local nest in the Englewood MetroParks area. If you want to check it out, you have to park in a tiny improvised specially-marked parking spot off of River Road in Englewood and then walk about 1/2 mile to an observation point. Once there, you are still about a 1/4 mile from the nest. Even from that distance, it is a neat thing to see.

Calendar updates

Be sure to check the Calendar Events tab often as I update items there that may not be featured in the regular posts. What’s new? Aullwood Audubon Center’s Native Plant Sale and more.


Spring is here!

American Woodcock

Some may think that spring arrives with the sighting of the first robin, crocus, witch hazel, skunk cabbage….the list goes on. For others, however, it is hearing the quirky mating song of the American Woodcock (take a listen here). Seldom seen, this odd bird is a member of the sandpiper family that has evolved to live in moist woodlands and eat earthworms. It arrives in Ohio from its wintering grounds as early as February. During courtship at dusk, it makes a buzzing bzzzzzeeeeep sound (some say it sounds like: peeeent) that is not unlike a nighthawk’s call. The males put on a spectacular arial display climbing high in the sky, only to plummet down to earth twittering all the way. Though I did not see them on my outing, I did hear both the buzzing calls and the twittering descent here in Centerville OH. I suppose spring is officially here!

Sales alerts

Knollwood Garden Center – If you missed their pansy sale last week, do not fret. There is still a great selection of pansy bowls on sale for $9.99 through Sunday.

Grandma’s Gardens – The Spring Preview is underway with 20% off everything through Sunday.

Siebenthaler’s – The Beavercreek location only is offering a sale on ceramic pottery at 40-75% off through Sunday.

Educational Opportunities

Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” will speak Sunday, March 27 – 7:00 p.m. at the James and Caroline Duff Banquet Center in the Cintas Center – Xavier University, Cincinnati OH.

His book stimulated an international conversation about the future relationship between children and nature. He serves as chair of the Children and Nature Network, which encourages and supports people and organizations working to reconnect children with nature. The event is FREE and open to the public. For more information, e-mail frickman@xavier.edu or visit www.xavier.edu/ers/lecture

Gardening Symposium

The Ohio State University Extension Gardening Symposium Series will be held Thursday, March 31 from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm at Polen Farm, 5099 Bigger Rd., Kettering, OH. The day will offer informative speakers & choice of hands-on workshop with one-on-one instruction, materials provided. Beverage and box lunch provided included in the $40 registration fee. Register before March 22, 2011.  Space is limited.  Visit http://montgomery.osu.edu/topics/horticulture/hort-downloads/2011%20Spri… for more details and to register.

Going wild in Ohio

Man! What a great, WILD week. It all started last Saturday at the 8th annual Adams County Amish Bird Symposium and finished at another wild adventure this past Wednesday at the Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference in Columbus. Do yourself a favor and make time to attend some of the amazing educational opportunities offered around our great state.

Adams County (OH) Amish Bird Symposium

As I’ve joked before: the birds are not Amish. However many in the Amish community near West Union are serious bird watchers. If you are a bird watcher, you will want to mark your calendar for October 14 – the day the movie “The Big Year” (with Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson) will open. One of the people who the book of the same title is based on is Greg Miller. He was our first speaker and shared some of his experiences from his “Big Year” – when birders attempt to spot the largest number of observed species of birds in one year: hence the name, The Big Year. It sounds like a hoot and may be something akin to “City Slickers” but based in the birding world.

Among the other speakers, some highlights include Jim Berry, Director of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute and author Scott Weidensaul’s program, “Living on the Wind: The Miracle of Bird Migration.” Migration is an amazing miracle indeed. Of course, the wonderful Amish-made doughnuts and lunch are a bonus.

Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference

This was my first time attending this amazing conference at the expansive Aladin Shriner’s Complex in Columbus – with around 1000 of my wildlife-minded friends! Oh, my!  We heard from experts on many subjects including: Sandhill Cranes, Spiny and Smooth Softshell Turtles, Steelhead Trout, Masssauga Rattlesnakes, Freshwater Mussels and – wait for it – Eastern Hellbenders. What is a Hellbender? It is the rare stream-dwelling salamander that can grow to reach 29 inches. A creepy name to be sure but one of the indicator species of clean and healthy streams. Though I don’t have a picture of a Hellbender you’ll have to make-do with the timber rattlesnake who was on display. Doug Wynn, the herpetologist who is handling the snake above, was the surprised recipient of the 2011 Wildlife Diversity Conservation Award.

Bald Eagle nest cam 24/7

Here’s a cool link to a live webcam of a Bald Eagle nest in Decorah, Iowa. There are three eggs in the nest that measures 5-6′ across by 5-6′ deep. It is estimated that the nest weighs over a ton. It’s mesmerizing.

Support Wildlife Conservation in Ohio.

Get your 2011 Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp today at: wildohiostamp.com.

Get a jump on spring

Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “April showers bring May flowers.”  Well, I’m starting to think that March showers weren’t all for naught – because they’re bringingout the SALES. Yippee and yahoo! If you aren’t on any of these garden centers’ email lists, you should be. You would be getting advance notice of their sales and perhaps special offers.

Knollwood Garden Center Beavercreek OH

Knollwood Garden Center’s Spring Pansy Sale starts today and runs through Sunday, March 13. Choose from nearly 30 different varieties! Pansy flats are $14.99 and all other pansies are 20% off.

Grandma’s GardensWaynesville (south of Centerville) OH

Grandma’s Gardens’ Spring Preview runs March 11-20. Everything is 20% off, throughout the garden center, greenhouses and gift parlor.  On the 3 Preview Open House dates of March 11-13, they will offer food samples from 11 am to 3 pm, have a video preview of hot new plants in slide show format, offer a free gift with purchase and even give out some door prizes.

Meadowview Growers – New Carlisle OH

Meadowview Growers’ Perennial Madness Collections will be available starting Saturday, March 12. Fourteen different pre-sorted and pre-assembled perennial collections (25 starter-size plant – 5 each of 5 different varieties) are offered at a considerable savings. Their annual hanging basket extravaganza will be Saturday, April 9.

Native Plant Conference

The Midwest Native Plant Society is looking for volunteers to help with the July 8-9, 2011 conference. Email Chris at iluvdirt@fuse (dot) net or visit http://www.midwestnativeplants.org for more information.

There is still time

If you are getting a little stir crazy with all of this rain, why not head downtown to the Dayton Convention Center and take in some of the sights at the Dayton Home and Garden Show running through Sunday afternoon. One of the highlights to see is the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) competition. The displays are reminiscent of what one might see at the Philadelphia Flower Show.

Landscape vendors have some beautiful displays. One of my favorites was designed by our friends at Knollwood Garden Center in Beavercreek. This cute Fairy Garden is located out in the convention center lobby.

The thing you don’t want to miss out on – and really makes the event a fantastic value – is the wonderful selection of speakers; 56 programs over the 3-day event. Exhibitors span the gamut of interests from home improvement to personal improvement. It was great way to spend a day out of the rain. Look for discount admission coupons HERE.