Think again about this mild weather

Asian Longhorned Beetle

Though the weather has been a wonderful breath of fresh air – literally, it may hurt us in the long-run. Lacking a deep freeze in temperatures, a mild winter won’t kill many of our insect pests. I hope you like bugs. If things don’t change soon, we’re sure to be in for a long fight in our yards and gardens this summer.

One of the insects already on the radar is a monster (body 1 to 1.5 inches long)…….and it is a bigger threat to the trees in our communities than the emerald ash borer: it is the Asian longhorned beetle. The Ohio State University (OSU) Extension’s Joe Boggs gives an excellent educational video presentation about the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) to help us know what to look for and what to do if we suspect we have an infected tree on our property. Check out the video CLICK HERE. 

The Ohio ALB infestation was found in 2011 in Clermont County, east of Cincinnati. As of late December over 5000 trees have been identified as infested and 1100 infested trees have already been removed. Unlike the emerald ash borer (EAB), it has multiple host trees – like more than 12 kinds! Yikes! Like EAB it will eventually kill its host trees. ALB is a lazy, bad flier, so we have a much better chance of eradicating it, unlike EAB.

Take the time to watch Joe’s 45 minute video and learn about ALB, where it came from, what species it eats, how to identify it, and the potential impacts it could have in Ohio. Early detection is the key, so the more people that are aware of identifying this species, the more likely we are to catch them quickly and eradicate them. It is so important to have more people aware and looking for the early signs. Learn more abuot ALB by heading to www.beetlebusters.info

Educational Opportunities

Be sure to check out the EVENTS CALENDAR tab at the top of the page to stay informed on other educational opportunities and events.

Starting with Native Plants – Three Perspectives – Feb. 4, 10am to 12pm

Learn from the experiences (and mistakes) of three people who are already using Native plants in their landscapes. Tim Sisson, President of the Western Wildlife Corridor, will share large acre habitat restoration experience. The Western Wildlife Corridor preserves land along the Ohio River in its natural state. Sandy Holt will share what she learned in her attempt to build a bird friendly, woodland backyard on two acres of a previous farm. Mary Janet Edwards will speak about design principles and incorporating natives in a more traditional design. Mary Janet runs a garden design business called “Garden Beauty for You, LLC”. Bring your questions and ideas for our panel to discuss. Directions: Civic Garden Center, 2715 Reading Rd Cincinnati, OH 45206. CGC is between Oak and Taft on the grounds of the Hauck Botanic Garden. Parking is available off Oak St by the CGC & in the medical center lot on the north side of Oak plus spaces is open behind the building along the paved paths.

Siebenthaler Sunday Seminar Schedule

Birds of a feather

Snowy Owl, Hardin County, OH

Were you one of the lucky few who caught a glimpse the glorious Snowy Owl in nearby Hardin County north of Bellefontaine (OH)? If not, our Viner friend Roger Garber put his new camera lens to work and has shared a wonderful shot for you. Snowy Owls, normally residents of the Arctic north, have been spotted much, much farther south of their native range. This unusual visitation is called an irruption and may be the result of inadequate food sources, primarily lemmings, that may have driven some owls this far south.

Sadly, it was reported today on the Ohio Ornithological Society’s Facebook page that our local avian media star was found dead today perhaps a victim of starvation. Take a listen to Jim McCormac, a biologist with ODNR’s Division of Wildlife, who was interviewed on  NPR’s All Things Considered by Melissa Block HERE.

The Harry Potter fan in me says, “Hedwig, we hardly knew ye….”

Pileated Woodpecker

I always enjoy feeding the birds in my backyard. Suet is a great way to attract many birds. Imagine my excitement spotting this pileated woodpecker. Thank goodness the feeder had a tail prop or else this guy would have been left hanging!

Educational Opportunities

Yes, it’s that time again! WHOOOOO HOOOOOO! The seminars, conferences and symposiums are gearing up.

Adams County Amish Bird Symposium – Saturday, March 3

This daylong celebration of birds features speakers, vendors and activities at the Wheat Ridge Amish Community Building, West Union (OH). Speakers include Harvey B. Webster, Cleveland Museum of Natural History; author Geoff Hill, Auburn University professor; Chris Gilkey, Wildlife Officer; Jim McCormac, Division of Wildlife; and Kimberly Kaufman Black Swamp Bird Observatory. Amish lunch included. Find registration information HERE.

Wildlife Diversity Conference – Wednesday, March 7

Wildlife Diversity: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Held at the huge Shriner’s Complex in Columbus, this event is awesome. Speakers are among the best in their field. Worms, Freshwater Mussel Restoration, Aquatic Invasive Species, Lake Erie Pelagic Bird Survey, Wildlife Orphans, Wetland Restoration & Small Mammal Community Structure and Beavers/Porcupines and Fishers. All in one day! Read more/register HERE.

Hosta College – Friday/Saturday, March 16 & 17

One of the most anticipated events of the spring is the American Hosta Society Great Lakes Region’s Hosta College in Piqua (OH). This year the date is Friday-Saturday, March 16 & 17. Check it all out HERE. Early class registration for Miami Valley Hosta Society members opens 12 midnight January 13. Non-member registration opens January 25 at midnight.

Vacation recovery

One of the poolside visitors.

It’s always fun to escape from the everyday routine and last week was no exception. Our vacation to Hilton Head Island, SC offered a whole ‘nother natural world to discover. Dragonflies were abundant as well as birds that we don’t see ’round these parts. A highlight for me was a Swallow-tailed Kite, a black and white raptor, not the kite with a string you fly on the beach! However now that I am home, there are lots of educational opportunities and sales events to report on so let’s get to it.

Who says snakes aren't cute? This one is about 8" long. Note the moss for a size reference.

Educational Opportunities

Vegetable Seminar, Saturday, August 6

Knollwood Garden Center is featuring Rich Pearson of Five Rivers MetroParks this Saturday, August 6th at 9:30 am. He will offer tips on how to keep your mid-summer gardens producing at their best and what to do with the great produce to save it for future use. Such as: freezing, drying, freezer salsa, refrigerator pickles (no canning!) and more.

Any one up for Bug Bingo? Saturday, August 6

Bring the kids out to Koogler Wetland/Prairie Reserve from 10-11:30 am, Saturday, August 6, in Beavercreek Township to learn about insects while playing Bug Bingo! Under the direction of Beaver Creek Wetlands Association (BCWA) Trustee Chris Simmons, tromp through the prairie shaking bugs from the wildflowers onto catching sheets and get a closer look-see in magnifier boxes. Volunteers will assist with identification. Those who successfully complete their Bug Bingo card will proceed to the “Edible Entomology” station, where they can create an insect from tasty treats. They can eat their creation if they can identify the basic parts of an insect.

Nets, collection boxes, identification guides, and treats provided. Dress appropriately – long pants and closed-toe shoes are recommended.  Koogler Wetland/Prairie Reserve is located on the southeast corner of Beaver Valley and New Germany-Trebein Roads.  Please contact BCWA at 937-320-9042 or by E-mail at admin@beavercreekwetlands.org for more information.

Men’s program offered this Saturday, August 6

Not slighting the men (after last post’s note on a Women’s Day event) Siebenthaler’s Nursery is offering a Men’s Morning, Saturday, August 6 from 8-9:30 am at the Centerville Garden Center ONLY. Men can enjoy breakfast cooked on the grill and hear helpful lawn tips from Len Dunaway of Green Velvet Sod Farm. Robert and Jeff Siebenthaler will discuss the latest Emerald Ash Borer news. This program is also free, but you need to make a reservation. Register by contacting Laurie Fanning at: lauriefanning@siebenthaler.com; 937-434-1326 or 937-427-4110.

Dr. Doug Tallamy to speak Sunday, August 7

The Greater Cincinnati Master Gardener Association is offering “A Case for Native Gardening: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants” and is presenting Dr. Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Back Nature for two speaking engagements on August 7. Tickets and more information can be found HERE.

Attracting Pollinators – Tuesday, August 9

The guest speaker for the 7 pm, Tuesday, August 9 meeting of the Miami Valley Hosta Society which meets at Cox Arboretum is Barbara Bloetscher, Ohio State University. For over 20 years she has had a close association with OSU and now serves as diagnostician for environmental and nutritional problems on agronomic crops and turfgrass. She also is the State Entomologist/Apiarist at the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Her specialty is turfgrass but she also is a recognized expert in identifying weed and herbicide injury on crops and ornamentals. The event is free.

Cincinnati Zoo’s Plant Trials Day – Thursday, September 1

Just what is a Plant Trials Day? It is a day for people who love plants! It is a view of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens Trials, including annuals, perennials, grasses, bamboo, shrubs, vines and trees. Industry professionals in these categories will be sharing their best new varieties. Featured speakers include: Jim Nau, Manager of The Gardens at Ball at Ball Horticultural Company; Bill Hendricks, President of Klyn Nurseries with one of the largest selections of plants anywhere in the country and Paul Cappiello, Executive Director of Yew Dell Botanical Gardens and Coauthor of the Book “Dogwoods”. The event is $45 and lasts all day and includes a catered lunch and reception and a Silent Auction for rare and outstanding plants. Find more information HERE.

Appalachian Forest School

If you are serious about learning more of the natural world around you, check out this branch of the Arc of Appalachia Preserve System HERE. Upcoming in-depth on-site schools include Butterflies of the Forest Heartland (August 22-26) and Trees of the Eastern Forest (September 18-23).

Sales Alerts

Grandma’s Gardens and Nursery: Sunset Specials from 6-8 pm, now through August 5. Aug. 2: Buy one shrub, get 2nd 50% off; Aug. 3: All gallon and larger perennials, buy two, get one free; Aug. 4: Half off one regular tree planting fee; Aug. 5: 30% off regular priced in-stock fountain. Now through August 14: all daylilies and Asiatic lilies are 30% off.

Knollwood Garden Center: 20% Off all trees and shrubs, 25% off all perennials (gallons, $12.99 & up), 50% off all quart-sized perennials ($6.59 & up). Groundcovers not included. Fountains and furniture 30% off.

Siebenthaler’s: Siebenthaler’s 61st Annual Tree & Nursery Sale is scheduled for September 24th & 25th and October 1st & 2nd.


Scrambled eggs anyone?

At first glance it looked like someone had spilled scrambled eggs under my neighbor’s tree. It was brilliant yellow in color and upon closer inspection had a furry look about it. Dusk was nearly upon me and because I’m not a big fan of taking pictures with flash, I waited until morning to get these photos. By that time the beautiful yellow color had already dulled to a pale beige. And it had grown. Exponentially!

It turns out to be one of the prettier varieties of slime mold, something akin to fungus. That is, if you can call slime mold pretty. Fuligo septica is also commonly called scrambled egg slim and also dog vomit. Eeeeewwwwweeeee. I like calling it scrambled egg slime better.

If you are one of the millions upon millions of home gardeners who spread bark mulch in your beds, you’ve probably run into this common fungus-like sight. Without getting too scientific, a bunch of spores grow and form a fast-growing amoeba-like spongy mass while in search of non-living organic nutrients found in mulch.

It doesn’t take long, even a day or so, before it turns brown and crusty. If you don’t like what you see, turn it over and cover with fresh mulch. It turns out that the presence of slime mold is actually a good thing; showing that organic matter is doing what it should be doing.

Calling all ladies

Siebenthaler’s Nursery’s annual Ladies’ Night will be held Thursday, August 4 from 6-8 pm. This event will be held at their Beavercreek location (2074 Beaver Valley Rd., Beavercreek, OH 45434). Join The Cake Chronicles author Jayne B. Robinson as she finds sweet hope in this crazy world. Cake and sparkling wine will be served. Call 937-434-3126,  937-426-4110 or stop in either location to reserve your spot.

Get ready for the county fair flower show

Mark your calendars now for the Montgomery County Fair’s Flower Show! The flower show is sponsored by the Montgomery County Agricultural Society and produced by the Federation of Garden Clubs of Dayton and Vicinity. There are two days of floral-friendly competition: Wednesday, August 31 and Saturday, September 3. Volunteers are needed in many capacities: helping to process entries, getting entries sorted and placed in preparation for judging, hostessing during the hours the fair is open, set-up and more. Don’t forget to enter your own specimens! There is no fee to exhibit. Download the flower show schedule HERE to learn more about entering and contact details. An informational briefing will be held on Monday, August 15 at 10am at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark.

Sales alerts

If you are still in the market for slipping in a few more plants, be sure to visit your local garden center or nursery for some great deals. Examples: Knollwood Garden Center’s trees and shrubs are 20% off, birdbaths are 25% off, quart-sized perennials are 50% off and 10″ plastic hanging baskets are $10 off. Grandma’s Garden Center has 4″ annuals buy-one-get-one-free and wooden raised garden bed kits are 40% off . You’ll find similar savings all over the area this month.

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!

Happy Earth Day

The first Earth Day ‘teach-in’ in 1970 saw 20 million environmental supporters gather all across the U.S. By 1990, participation had grown to over 180 nations. The brainchild of U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, Earth Day was modeled after the anti-Vietnam war protests, called ‘teach-ins’. By the end of 1970, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency was born.

I can remember my youthful zeal in support of one of those first Earth Days: I decided to boycot the morning school bus ride and rode my bike instead. It was a rainy day and I took my faithful steed, a rehabbed English 3-speed with no fenders. Any experienced bike rider will know water and no fenders aren’t a good combination and should be having a good chuckle about now. I tried my darndest to avoid running over the earthworms on the road and my legs, feet and backside ended up being soaked. So much for making a statement. I never claimed to be a fashionista.

Emerald Ash Borer program

Thais Reiff, Greene County Master Gardener EAB Specialist, will be give a free program, “Emerald Ash Borer for Homeowners”, on Wednesday, April 27th at 6:30 pm at the Greene County Extension Office (100 Fairground Rd. in Xenia OH 45385.) For more info, call 937-372-9971 or email the extension office at greenemgv@gmail.com.

Schnormeier Gardens - Gambier, OH

Schnormeier Garden Tour

June 1-5 is your once-a-year opportunity to tour 75 acres of exquisite gardens nestled in the rolling hills of Central Ohio.  Schnormeier Gardens of Gambier, Ohio, has a distinct Asian flavor and features a variety of plantings rich in color and texture accented by larger boulders, stone walls, waterfalls, unique sculptures and structures.

Ted and Ann Schnormeier will open their spectacular private gardens to the public from Wednesday, June 1 through Sunday, June 5, 2011 from 10 am to 4 pm. Admission is free. The gardens are rarely open to the public, and this Open House represents the only opportunity this year to visit and enjoy this remarkable site.

Sales alerts

May Fair Plant Sale 2011: 10 am to 4 pm, April 30 and 12-3 pm, May 1. Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark (1301 E. Siebenthaler, Dayton OH) Features perennials, annuals and herbs. http://www.metroparks.org/plantsales

Wildflower and Native Plant Sale: 10 am to 2 pm, April 30.Cox Arboretum & Gardens MetroPark (6733 Springboro Pike, Dayton OH) http://www.metroparks.org/plantsales

$10 rebate on Osmocote: Purchase Osmocote’s 3 lb. container of Outdoor & Indoor Plant Food and get $10 back with a mail-in rebate offer. Check it out HERE.

$10 off $50 order from Burpee: Just shop at http://www.burpee.com and enter coupon code HORT5 at the check-out.

Spring Hill Nursery: Thanks to a tip from Viner Nancy, she reports that the mail-order garden center business located in Tipp City (110 West Elm St., Tipp City, OH 45371) often offers over-run sales on various items. This week’s feature is their $.99 sale.


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.

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.

Better build me an ark!

I don’t know what it is about nighttime storms. I cannot sleep when it is windy and last night was horrible. Add in the heavy rains and hail hitting the side of the house and bathroom skylight… let’s just say I will be looking forward to taking a nap this afternoon. At the back of my backyard is an old fence row and it pretty much looks like a vernal pool right now. ANYTHING I do outside today will require my fancy-smancy garden boots. Or my hip-waders. Or a canoe.

 

Dayton Home and Garden Show presentations

Here is a reminder that if you haven’t done so already take a moment to check out the Garden Academy’s and How-To Stage’s course schedule for this coming weekend’s Dayton Home and Garden Show at the Dayton Convention Center. There will be 56 presentations on the two stages. All programs are free and included with your entrance fee.

 

Vote for Chadwick Arboretum’s Green Roof

There is still time to vote for the Chadwick Arboretum and Learning Gardens’ Green Roof project. Rainbird, the irrigation company, is promoting an inter-active grant award program called The Intelligent Use of Water Awards. Check it out at the link below. The project with the most votes wins $10,000. You can vote once a day until March 22, 2011 so spread the word and help a worthy project.

http://www.iuowawards.com/Projects.aspx?ProjectKey=fcaf0ca0-de7b-441b-9bd1-a3a2a32f26d4#project|fcaf0ca0-de7b-441b-9bd1-a3a2a32f26d4