Spring means Compost time!

The New Neighbors Garden Club (Springboro/South Dayton area) is again selling Posy Power organic soil amendment. If you live in the Miami Valley, your garden would LOVE an annual application of Posy Power. Click the following link to access full details and order information. To quote a fellow gardener, “It’s good stuff!”

CLICK HERE for 2017 PosyPower Order Form

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Orders now being taken for Caladiums

The Here and There Garden Club, an Ohio Association of Garden Clubs affiliated club, announces the 2017 Caladium sale. Caladiums are tender, summer bulbs that really can liven up a garden with their colorful leaves. Bulbs are $1 each, though please order in quantities of 5 bulbs of a variety. (5 bulbs = $5) Orders will be filled in the order they are received. Delivery late April. Message me with orders/more info.

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Zick is coming to town!

Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest

babybirds-plainSunday, January 22 • 2:30 p.m. Marie S. Aull Education Center (1000 Aullwood Rd., Dayton, OH 45414   http://www.aullwood.org)

Admission is $5.00/adult and $3.00 child, Friends of Aullwood and National Audubon Society members are admitted free.

One of my favorite nature peeps will be speaking in the Dayton area January 22. Julie Zickefoose is an Ohio Writer/Artist that has the heart of a angel where nature is concerned. She is a widely published natural history writer and artist. She shares her experiences through word and brush/pencil stroke, much to the delight of her fans…… Needless to say, I am one! Check out her blog at www.julieckefoose.blogspot.com 

Here is a description on her upcoming program as noted in the Aullwood Audubon newsletter:

Why and how do baby songbirds develop so quickly, some launching into flight only 11 days after hatching? In 2002, Julie Zickefoose began to draw and paint wild nestlings day by day, bearing witness to their swift growth. Over the next 13 years, Julie would document the daily changes in 17 bird species from hatching to fledging. Baby Birds is the enchanting result, with more than 500 life studies that hop, crawl and flutter through its pages. In this talk, Julie shares her influences as well as her artistic process, a must- see for the aspiring natural history artist. Art and science blend in every Zickefoose pursuit, as the scientist’s relentless curiosity joins the artist’s quest for beauty. The work, wonder and fun of studying nestlings, including being foster mother to orphaned hummingbirds, chimney swifts and bluebirds, makes for an irresistible and highly inspirational presentation.

Writer/artist Julie Zickefoose, author of Letters from Eden, and The Bluebird Effect, is a Contributing Editor to Bird Watcher’s Digest. Julie loves to introduce people to birdwatching, speaking at a number of festivals around the country, and now leads natural history excursions abroad. Because she believes birds to be the most vibrant vessels for the life force, painting baby birds as they grow has been her favorite project to date. Her new book is Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest (2016). She lives with her family on an 80-acre wildlife sanctuary in Appalachian Ohio.

Weed be gone

Hairy Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta)

Hairy Bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta)

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.

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.

 

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Jolly Orchid (miniature)

 

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Amour Elite (standard)

 

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Paula’s PB and J (standard)

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

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Jolly Gala (miniature)