I spy…..

This morning’s Tuesday Trek at Grant Park with Centerville-Washington Park District’s naturalist, Lucy, revealed many wonderful finds. There were surprises in the prairie, at the pond side and in the woods. It doesn’t get better than this.

Calico Aster (Symphytotricum lateriflorum)

Goldenrod (Solidago sp.)

Rough Goldenrod (Solidago rugosa)

Snakeweed (Ageratina altissima)

Grasshopper on Queen Anne's Lace

Black & Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia)

An orbweaver spider (probably Neoscona crucifera) at breakfast

Someone else's breakfast (on a duck nest box)

Sales Opportunities

Greene County Master Gardener sale – October 1

9 am to 1 pm at the Greene County Extension Office (100 Fairground Road, Xenia OH 45385). Features houseplants, perennials, gardening books and more. Call 937-372-9971.

Educational Opportunities

Ohio Gardening – October 2

Gardening expert, TV & radio host, author and columnist Melinda Myers will be speaking at Cox Arboretum October 2. She has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening. She hosts the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments which air on 89 TV and radio stations throughout the U.S. and Canada. She is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and writes the twice monthly “Gardeners’ Questions” newspaper column. Melinda hosted “The Plant Doctor” radio program for over 20 years as well as Great Lakes Gardener on PBS. Melinda has a master’s degree in horticulture, is a certified arborist and was a horticulture instructor with tenure. Her web site is www.melindamyers.com

Don’t miss Ohio Gardening, Sunday, October 2, 9 am to 4:15 pm. Registration starts at 8:30 am. Fee is $ 10 and includes light lunch. Registration is available online (www.metroparks.org ) or call 434-9005.

MetroParks Forestry Practices – October 15

1-4:30 pm, In-depth review of Five Rivers MetroParks’ best forestry practices and connections to local neighborhood trees. Mark Klunk, Conservation Manager and Wendi Van Buren, Urban Forester will introduce forestry practices and the importance of trees in your own neighborhoods. The outdoor hiking portion of the program will highlight beautiful forest types and review the forest management practices within MetroParks. Reservations required and space is limited. Call (937) 277-4178 or register online. At http://www.metroparks.org/Parks/ViewEvents.aspx?Park=Germantown . Meet at Germantown MetroPark’s Facility Maintenance Building Classroom at 6675 Conservancy Rd, Germantown Ohio 45327.

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There’s something happening here….

Suffering Austrian Pines on Clyo Road

Taken from the famous Buffalo Springfield 1966 song “For What It’s Worth” the lyrics in my blog title are so appropriate. Something BIG is happening to mature Austrian pine (Pinus nigra) trees all over the Centerville-Washington Township area. Have you noticed these large long-needled conifers dying in your community?

According to the ODNR’s Division of Forestry the Austrian pine is the pine most susceptible to Diplodia Tip Blight, a fungus that commonly attacks mature trees that have been stressed. And these trees have seen stress! This menace will slowly kill the tree over several years and wreak havoc in mass plantings as it spreads to surrounding trees. If it was present last year, I must have been oblivious. THIS year….. it is everywhere. Just drive down Clyo Road around Alex-Bell. Or check out I-675 between the Centerville and Wilmington Pike exits. I what I see from my car is any indication, we’re on track to soon lose thousands of pine trees.

Diplodia tip blight

Even though the Austrian pines are fast growing they are not long-lived trees and are often mixed in with spruces and deciduous trees in new plantings. When the Austrians die off, the spruce and deciduous trees are still there.

Regional Urban Forester Wendi Van Buren notes, “A telltale way to determine of a tree is infected with Diplodia tip blight is to look for the signs of the pathogen, which consist of tiny black, fungal fruiting bodies (pycnidia) that are formed on the surface of the infected needles and cones.” Read more about it  HERE on this OSU extension fact sheet.

Educational Opportunities

Knollwood Garden Center

I attended the perennial seminar at Knollwood today and came home with 4 new perennials!! Don’t miss out on Knollwood’s next seminar, Saturday, September 3 at 10am and again at 11am at St. Luke’s Catholic Church for: “Learn to Plant Like the Pros”. Learn as John Scott narrates as the landscape crew installs a job from start to finish. Space is limited and reservations are required. Call 937-426-0861.

Siebenthaler’s Garden Center

“Clip and Cook With Herbs”  Learn how to harvest and dry a myriad of herbs or make a culinary wreath at the Thursday, September 8 seminar (Centerville garden center location) at 10 am or 6 pm. Event will repeat at the Beavercreek garden center at 1 pm on Saturday, September 10.

Dahlias on Parade

The Greater Columbus Dahlia Society will hold their 46th annual dahlia show September 3 & 4 at the Marysville Family YMCA and Ohio National Guard Armory Facility in Marysville (1050 Charles Lane, Marysville OH 43040). This is a free event.

On the road and back

Design by Joni Duncan

Which comes first? Growing beautiful plants and flowers and then learning to create floral designs or creating floral designs and then learning to grow beautiful plants and flowers? Whatever the case, lovers of either avenue of gardening found a heaven on Earth last weekend in Boston, MA, where the World Association of Floral Arrangers (WAFA) held their World Flower Show. The event featured hundreds of exhibitors from 30 member countries. The show is held once every three years and, until this year, had never been held in the U.S. The 2014 show will be in Dublin, Ireland.

Honorary (not judged) entry from Kenya. Design is about 6 feet tall.

The Ohio Association of Garden Clubs (OAGC) took the opportunity to travel by bus to Boston to visit this incredible event. One of OAGC’s members, Joni Duncan of Beavercreek, OH, was an exhibitor. Her entry was in one of the 30 classes (with a maximum of 20 entries in each class) and featured commissioned glass pieces by Dayton glass artist Jim Kahle. Though she was not one of the top three in her class of 20, she did a fantastic job and said that learned much from the experience. Kudos!

Miniature design about 5" tall.

If you would like to see hundreds more photos that I took at the flower show and our trip, go HERE.

Good deal

Chris Carpenter of Beyond the Greenhouse in Springboro has a surplus of 4.5″ annuals (many are Proven Winners) that she is selling for only $2 beginning tomorrow, June 23 through Saturday, June 25. Additionally, 4″ pots of blue or white Wave petunias will be $1. Location of sale is 821 W. Spring Valley Rd. in Centerville (near W. Spring Valley and Paragon Rd.) Hours are 9 am to 4 pm on Thursday and Friday and from 9 am to noon on Saturday.

Garden Tour for the Cure

There will be a special 8-home garden tour in the Brookville/Clayton area to benefit Breast Cancer Research this Saturday, June 25 from 10 am to 4 pm. Tour tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at the Design Crew Salon (442 Wolf Creek Pike, Brookville) or at any of the participating gardens. Contact Mary Thomas at 937-397-4599 for more information.

Gettin’ a little figgy with it

Brown Turkey Fig

You can put what I currently know about figs in a thimble. Growing up eating the less expensive generic Fig Newtons, I pretty much thought all figs came in graham covered slabs. I couldn’t have identified one in its natural form to save my life. Well, now I have a reason to immerse myself in fig research because I’m going to be a fig mamma. I picked up my $8 four-foot tall Brown Turkey fig plant while on my North/South Carolina in April (much to Keith’s chagrin) and it has about 20 little bitty figs. Does anyone have any culture input they can give me for growing one in Ohio?

Go local

One of the great things about summer is the opportunity to buy products that are locally grown or produced. Here in the Centerville area the Centerville Farmers Market just opened at its new 2011 location: Centerville Shopping Center (northeast corner of South Main St./Spring Valley Rd.) Open from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm on each Thursday through mid-October, there is plenty of parking to be found. Post a comment to include other area farmers markets you have discovered.

Native Plant Conference offering 1 day registration price

The July 8-10 Midwest Native Plant Society is now offering a 1-day (Saturday only) registration price of $90 for its annual native plant conference at Bergamo. It is not listed on the site’s home page so you’ll have to click on the registration link for this discount. I attended the first one and had no idea that this was a national event. If you have any interest in learning more about growing native plants, this is the place to be.

Periodic Cicadas again? Already?

Viner Angie in Bellbrook reported hearing some periodic cicadas singing again. Having quite the deluge of cicadas in 2004, she probably wasn’t looking forward to another influx. Ironically, I had heard one yesterday as well over by Normandy Park in Centerville. Without looking into its beady little eyes and getting a positive ID, I’m not sure which species we heard. You can learn more about brood XIX at this link and even make a report if you’ve identified them in your neck of the woods.

Nature pics from the yard

Mourning Cloak butterfly

My attempt to attract and keep the orioles to the yard failed. Here, you see my attempt to attract them: a grapefruit half that had grape jelly in the cup. It is mounted on top of the shepherd’s hook of my birdfeeder. Ironically, in its spoiled state, it attracted the mourning cloak butterfly who likes to sip on rotting fruit or scat. When its wings open it is about 3-4″ wide.

This next picture is not for the squeemish. Viewer beware. It is a picture of a spider on the inside of my kitchen window who was having breakfast on a Crane Fly. If you can stand it, click on the photo to make it larger. The spider was on the inside of the screen. The fly was on the outside. How weird is that? Not all spiders resort to spinning webs to catch their food. Many, as this example demonstrates, catch their victims on the prowl. I love the cute (yes, I said cute) jumping spiders. Up close, they look like a sort of an oogly teddy bear…….sort of. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife has a wonderful field guide for Spiders of Ohio though with this back lighting, I can’t tell which spider this is.

Breakfast at Vickster's

Think all flowers smell good? Think again!

Amorphophallus titanum

What is nearly six-feet tall, smells like rotting flesh and, yet, is drawing in the crowds like a horticultural version of Justin Bieber? Ok, maybe that’s a bit over the top… but still! An Amorphophallus titanum is came into bloom last Saturday at The Ohio State University’s greenhouse in Columbus, Ohio and is really charming the crowds. This rare plant from the Indonesian rain forest is a sight,and smell to remember. The bloom’s fragrance is its key to attracting the right pollinators. I grow a smaller version called Amorphophallus konjac. Not into using the Latin name? My friends and family affectionately call the plants Mr. Stinky or Harry Butler after the Dayton-TV personality who gave me my first plant.  You can see a time-lapse video of the voodoo lily in Columbus opening HERE.

Here's my shopping cart and the damage I did. Errr, I mean the treasures I found.

Knollwood’s 2nd Ladies’ Night Out

Knollwood Garden Center Beavercreek, OH) held their second Ladies’ Night Out tonight. The first was back in December and judging by all the cars in the parking lot it must have been a success because I had to park out in the ‘back 40’! Bruning’s Wine Cellar and Christopher’s Restaurant & Catering were on site to please the crowd and Knollwood staff was at the beck and call. It was a pleasurable way to get a jump on spring.

Sales Alerts

The record setting rains in southern Ohio are causing many businesses to retool their spring sales. Grandma’s Gardens, south of Centerville, is extending their $11.99 sale on flats of impatiens and begonias through Sunday, May 1. Yippee! Check with your local garden center as their publicized sales may also have been extended.

Tragic Nest Cam News

If you have checked out some of the nest cam links I have listed on the right, you may have visited the bald eagle nest cam located at the  Norfolk (VA) Botanical Garden. Sadly, Viner Barb passed along word that a jet landing at Norfolk International Airport struck and killed the female eagle early this morning. To the relief of many on-line viewers, the male returned to the nest with a fish early this evening. Only time will tell what happens next.

Happy 226th Birthday, John James Audubon (1785-1851)

Please visit HERE to read about the amazing life of John Jame Audubon. I can’t do him justice in a short post. He overcame adversity (illegitimate son of a French sea captain) and exemplifies the spirit of young America. Mr. Audubon, you made the world a better place!

Peeent!

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.