Save our urban forests
There is a new weed in my yard. Actually, I noticed it the year before last, but it is really getting under my skin this year. And I do not like it. Do not like it one bit. I’m talking about Hairy Bittercress. Where in the world did this come from? It wasn’t here 4 years ago and now, thanks to its extensive seed explosion propagating behavior – it is really on the move.
Hairy Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta) is in the Brassicaceae family and related to the mustards/cabbages. Actually, if it wasn’t such a pest, this diminutive plant might look pretty cute in a spring fairy garden. The seeds germinate in the fall and are winter annuals (green during winter). That growth habit gives them a jump start on growing in the spring and blasting out their tiny seeds before you can get a grip on the situation.
If I were a betting woman, I would guess that the seeds originally made their way into my yard via nursery/garden center potting mix debris. The first plants populated a path that leads to my compost bin. I’ve read that they are edible but I’m not going to give them the pleasure of gracing my table. I’m more than happy to spend a few minutes pulling those little rosettes out before they get a chance to bloom. As with the noxious garlic mustard, a cousin to the bittercress, do not dispose of any plants you pull in your compost bin. The temps will not be hot enough to kill the seeds. And mowing them down won’t help. They are quite short and you will only be mowing the bloom stalks which will spite you and allow the seeds to mature and spread the love.
Garden clubs know the good stuff when they see it and are adept at sharing the news of such things. Two examples are the spring club fundraisers for the Here and There Garden Club and the New Neighbors Garden Club. Both are clubs with members from the South Dayton area. Either club would be more than happy to help you get your green thumb on. Sale information is found below.
Here and There Garden Club recently celebrated their 80th year and are offering Caladium bulbs for sale. Long prized for their colorful summer displays, caladiums make a visual splash in containers and garden beds alike. Bulbs are #1 size bulbs and are offered $1/each.
New Neighbors Garden Club is offering the wonderful organic soil amendment Posy Power for sale. The .65 cubic foot bag, when spread 1-inch thick, covers about 9 square feet. It loosens heavy soils, binds sandy soils, increases soil’s water holding capacity and promotes soil aeration. Who wouldn’t like that? Sale information is below.
I grow African Violets under lights year-round on two four foot wide stands each with 3 shelves. The room they normally ‘live’ in gets too cold during the winter so I moved them into the family room for the season. Even so, my hygrometer (measures temperature and humidity) still shows that the room can dip to 64 degrees at night at times. That’s really a bit colder than they like but they are still hanging in there. And I love to see their cute faces. Enjoy!
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.
Here are some shots of what is happening in the garden.
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 www.takingroot.info
Tri-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 http://go.osu.edu/vWs
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 http://www.oipc.info. For $25 you can register and receive an OIPC t-shirt.
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
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: https://tickets.cincinnatizoo.org/mainstore.asp?vid=2#cat1158
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 www.regonline.com/onhc
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.
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 http://www.metroparks.org/GetOutside/Gardening_Landscaping.aspx
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: http://warren.osu.edu/node/281
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!
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: https://tickets.cincinnatizoo.org/mainstore.asp?vid=2#cat1158
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: https://www.cmnh.org/discover/nature/Ohio-Botanical-Symposium
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: http://clermont.osu.edu/program-areas/agriculture-and-natural-resources/sw-ohio-perennial-school
Native Plants to Know and Grow – Saturday, April 18, 2015 9am to 4pm
Mulberry Community Center, 260 Mulberry Avenue, Pomeroy, OH 45769
More information here: http://meigs.osu.edu/news/native-plants-know-and-grow
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 email@example.com for more information and for details on an overnight lodge discount rate for workers.
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.
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.
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.
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!