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)

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A peek in the nursery

Seedlings in the light garden

Seedlings in the light garden

It’s that time of the year when life bursts forth. Though a little later than normal, the daffodils are blooming – some are already done. My redbud’s buds are showing their lovely lilac hue. The red buckeye’s buds are unfurling. The last of the red oak’s leaves are stubbornly hanging on. Two weeks ago there were still loads of last year’s leaves left. Last week there were around 20 leaves…..today, only 3 remain.

Indoors, I have some seedlings popping up, reaching for the plant stand’s light. The most prized are the last of the Burpee Super Sauce tomato seeds I purchased last year. Though 2013 wasn’t a good tomato year the plants yielded quite a few ginormous sauce tomatoes allowing me to put up salsa for the winter. yum…….

 

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Long time no see

Two months have flown by since my last post. Volleyball season finished (hubby coaches, I photograph), the backyard honeysuckle fencerow was removed and replanted and then…..there was a hospital visit. Emergency. Come to think of it, I’ve accompanied two people to emergency, lately. The first was when I drove to the hospital like a mad woman with dear hubby in tow. Let’s just say that our huge ‘Skyline’ locust tree didn’t like being limbed up and took out the chainsaw operator AND the ladder upon which said operator was standing with vengeance. End result? Over $8K in medical charges and a broken bone in his face. He is so very lucky it wasn’t worse. The second opportunity to visit another emergency room was when I accompanied my mom in the squad car after she suffered a heart attack at church. She’s home resting and will recover with time and new meds. And if she listens to her doctor. Easier said than done!

Hummingbird nest

Miracles abound. Take, for instance, the vengeful locust tree. She now is protecting a miniature cup woven with fluffy down and held together with spider webs; she holds a hummingbird nest in her branches. I discovered the location this past Sunday by following a female who was gathering fluff from my nesting material cage. If only the nest was closer to the ground – it sits about 10-12′ above my head.

Nesting Material Cage

The American goldfinches are just now getting into the nest-making mode and are also making a dent in the fluffy stuff. Check out one of the dispensers sold at your local Wild Birds Unlimited store. Nesting birds will thank you.

Sales alerts

Seasonal sales going on: Check out your local garden center/nursery for some fantastic sales. As they say at my favorite place to eat (Hot Head Burritos), “Get out and get you some!” Some of the sales/discounts going on that I am aware of are:

Knollwood Garden Center – 25% off store wide and 50% off select items.

Grandma’s Gardens –  vegetable plants, flats of annuals, flowering almonds, fruit trees and 1.75″ caliper ‘Sargentina’ crabapples are 50% off;  2.5″ caliper ‘Bosque’ elm trees and 5-6′ ‘Autumn Brilliance’ serviceberrys  are 30% off; 4″ annuals, tropicals and in-stock azaleas are 25% off; variegated red twig dogwood (reg. $29.99) are now $19.99; $7.99 1-gallon perennials of the week include ‘Walker’s Low’ Catmint and Blue Star Creeper

Siebenthaler’s Garden Center – all annuals, herbs, vegetables and tropicals are 30% off.

Some things to crow about

Hear ye, hear ye: Plant sales abound!

Hey bidder, bidder, bidder

The Miami Valley Hosta Society Plant Auction will be Tuesday, May 8. Preview starts at 6 pm, bidding starts at 6:30 pm. Polen Farm (5099 Bigger Rd., Kettering OH 45440). Open to the public. The Auction features more than plants. There will be garden art, books, tools and gardening paraphernalia too. Rare & unusual hostas, other hearty plant specimens. Contact  Gary Althaus at gjalt@aol.com or 937-833-3271 for more info.

I was thinking. I know that is a scary thought but check it out. If you are a quilter, perhaps you’ve heard of a Quilt Shop Hop; a day of shopping at various quilt or fabric shops. What if we did something like this with area Garden Centers or Greenhouses? I was thinking of just doing one to three stops in a day; you are going to need room in the car for plants! Leave me your thoughts or shop hop suggestions in the Comments section below.

Sales alerts (Remember to check the “Events” tab for more)

Greene County Master Gardener Plant Sale: Saturday, May 5, 9 am to 1 pm. Greene County Extension Office, 1000 Fairgrounds Rd., Xenia OH 45385)

Meadow View Growers:  Marigolds are on sale, Friday, May 4th thru Sunday, May 6th. Marigold flats will be buy 1 flat get 1 flat half off.

Spring Valley Gardens: Wave petunia sale. Some colors are $2.29 a 3.5″ pot. Zonal geraniums in 4″ pots are $3.99 through May 9. (1395 U.S. 42 S, Xenia OH 45385. 937-372-3943

Siebenthaler’s: 6-pack Wave petunias are 25% off through May 6.

Grandma’s Gardens: 25% off Roses, Tropicals, Flowering Shrubs and Pottery. Flowering hanging baskets are $5 off through May 13.

Knollwood Garden Center: Geraniums are on sale through May 9. 4.5″ pots are $3.99. (Excludes ivy geraniums.)

Stocklager’s Greenhouse & Garden Center: Check the Life + Neighbors section of your Thursday, May 3 issue of the Dayton Daily Newspaper for a 20% off coupon! Valid through May 31.

Anniversary Tree

Every spring I look forward to seeing my beautiful pink buckeye tree (Aesculus x hybrida) bloom. I remember purchasing it as a commemoration of our 20th wedding anniversary. It was just a little guy back then. It is about 15 feet tall and every branch tip is capped off with these gorgeous floral clumps – perfect celebration for our 35th anniversary!

Buckeye bloom close-up.

Though I haven’t seen the hummingbirds yet, these blossoms seem right up their alley.

The honeysuckle eradication and fence row clean up had great progress yesterday. We rented a commercial rototiller and went to work trying to mix up and level out some of the wonderful soil that’s been in hiding under those invasive shrub-trees. Having long served as my 100′ long ‘compost pile’ (read that: dumping ground), many treasures were found: a stray tennis ball, numerous plastic plant name tags and even a buried Time Warner cable which is now in TWO pieces. Darn thing! Thankfully, no neighbors were affected as it was an old wire laid who knows how many years ago. I refuse to credit the rototiller-ing to my back that went out later yesterday…… Here is what we look like now. Our back yard property line lies somewhere in the freshly turned soil but now it looks like it goes on forever!

Sales Opps

April 21-29: Stockslagers Greenhouse and Garden Center. Hanging basket and geranium sale.

April 26-28: Knollwood Garden Center Impatiens Flat Sale. $12.99 (save $6)

April 27-29: Meadow View Growers Petunia sale. Buy 1, get 1 half off.

April 27-29: Grandma’s Gardens Flat Sale. Impatiens and Begonias are $11.99

Saturday, April 28: Cox Arboretum Wildflower and Native Plant Sale, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (6733 Springboro Pike). Wildflowers and native plants propagated or rescued from areas slated for development. Info: (937) 434-9005, http://www.metroparks.org/Parks/CoxArboretum.

Saturday-Sunday, May 5 & 6: Wegerzyn Mayfair Plant Sale, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 5 and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 6. Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark, 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave., Dayton. Perennials, annuals, herbs, landscape plants, vegetables, hanging baskets. Benefits the Wegerzyn Gardens Foundation. Info: (937) 277-6545, http://www.metroparks.org/Parks/WegerzynGarden.

Saturday, June 23, MEEC Native Plant Sale, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Marianist Environmental Education Center (MEEC) at Mount St. John (Bergamo), 4435 E. Patterson Road, Dayton. All plants are indigenous to the region and cultivated on site by volunteers. Funds support restoration work. Advance orders encouraged. Info and advance order catalog: meec.udayton.edu

Saturday, May 12: Here & There Garden Club Plant Sale. May 12, from 9 am to 1 pm. 5200 Bigger Road, Kettering, OH 45440

Saturday, May 19, Our Homes Garden Club Plant Sale, 9 am to 3 pm at the Vandalia Historical Society (336 E. Alkaline Springs Rd., Vandalia, Ohio 45377

Sunday, Marvin’s Organic Gardens, Noon – 6pm. Mother’s Day Sale and Congo Fundraiser –  Marvin’s will offer a lecture on “Edible Landscapes” discussing the many ways you can create an attractive landscape including delicious edibles. Who says you can’t have your landscape and eat it too? Not Marvin! All purchases made will support Marvin’s sustainable gardening and medical efforts in Central Africa, with 5% of all sales funding their Congo Mission.

Check out this website

A product of The Ohio State University’s Extension and updated weekly during the growing season, the Buckeye Yard and Garden onLine contains some fantastic news and updates for gardeners in the Ohio area. Be sure to check it out here: http://bygl.osu.edu/

Great Southern Ohio Events

May 12, 2012 – A Late Spring Natural History Hike, sponsored by the Ohio Historical Society (OHS), will take place at Fort Hill, home of southern Ohio’s largest piece of mature forest and preserved Hopewell earthworks complex. Join OHS senior curator of natural history Bob Glotzhober on this guided nature hike along Fort Hill’s Gorge Trail. Find out about the plants and wildflower of Fort Hill, the geology of the gorge, and the six natural arches that can be found in the park. FREE. See details here: http://arcofappalachia.org/events/ohs-fh-program.html.

May 20, 2012 – Exploring the Earthworks of Fort Hill, co-sponsored with Hopewell Culture National Historical Park and the Heartland Earthworks Conservancy. This day-hike will explore the Hopewell earthworks of Fort Hill, including a guided tour with National Park Service ranger Bruce Lombardo to see both the well-known earthen enclosure on the hilltop, and the almost unknown Circle Earthwork. A catered picnic lunch will be followed by a talk by leading archaeological researcher Dr. Jarrod Burks. $15/person includes lunch. See more details here: http://arcofappalachia.org/events/exploring-fort-hill.html.

Spring Fever

Things are hopping all over. I’m just going to jot it all down and let you sort through it.

Sales Alerts

Knollwood Garden Center (Beavercreek) is having their spring edition of Ladies’ Night Out this Tuesday, April 17 from 6-8 pm. Featured: a taste of wine (from Brunings Wine Cellar, courtesy of Knollwood), a few spring garden nibbles, and lots of informal demonstrations.  Did you know Knollwood offers seniors 60 years and older a 10% off  regularly priced items every day! The OAGC (Ohio Association of Garden Clubs) Foundation, a 501(c)3 charity, will have their fantastic Challenge Quilt on-site for viewing. This winner for this fundraising raffle will be drawn at the OAGC convention in June. Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. It only takes one ticket to win!

Now for a limited time, Knollwood has 1.5 cubic foot bags of Osmocote Potting Soil with a great rebate! For use in any container or pot, it is a light, rich mix including sphagnum peat and perlite as well as Osmocote fertilizer! Sold for $9.99 a bag, with the $5.00 Mail-In rebate it’s only $4.99. Use your rebate form for up to 4 bags, or $20; just ask for the form at the checkout counter when purchasing. While supplies last.

Grandma’s Gardens & Landscape(South of Centerville)is having their Perennial Spring Party now through April 22, offering all quart, gallon and larger perennials at 25% off. Buy 10 or more quart and larger perennials and automatically become a Perennial Club Member on the spot. That will give you 20% off all future regular priced perennials. No fees, no expiration. Flower tree and shade trees are also on sale at 25% off through April 22. See store for details.

Educational Events

The Greene County Master Gardeners will present Thais Reiff and Jerry Mahan, Wednesday, April 18, 7-8 pm for a program  “Saving Ohio’s Ash Trees – Emerald Ash Borer Treatment Options”. This presentation for homeowners will be on the Emerald Ash Borer at the Greene County Extension Office, 100 Fairground Road, Xenia. Check out the flyer HERE.

The Ohio Invasive Plant Council (OIPC) is presenting a free workshop (lunch is included), “Aliens Among Us – An Introduction to Invasive Plants in Ohio” at the Dawes Arboretum (7770 Jacksontown Rd., Newark OH 43056) on April 26th, from 9:30am-4pm. Check out the flyer HERE. Dawes Arboretum is about 2 hours from the Dayton area and WELL worth the drive.

The Midwest Native Plant Symposium‘s registration is now open. The event will be held July 27-29 right in our backyard at Bergamo Center in Beavercreek. Top notch speakers and vendors are the highlights. Check out the flyer HERE.

Vengeance is Mine!

This post will be short and sweet. Remember the aforementioned invasive Amur honeysuckle  (Lonciera maackii) fence row? Well, it is no more. After chopping on it with bare hands, lopper, and a sawsall for 7 weeks, a chain saw came in and felled the rest of the giants. Mind you, some of these shrubs/trees were so large I could climb them like a schoolgirl – and I did; all the while using a saw/sawsall 6 feet off the ground. The neighbors thought, rightly so, that I was crazy. We’re waiting on the debris to be removed and the stumps to be ground out. The largest stump is nearly 5 feet in circumference.

This is more or less what the fencerow looked like though my bushes were MUCH older and larger.

One of the 20 year old stumps. We have a handful of these.

Six foot tall piles of brush - about 20' of it.

And a cord of wood.....

As I said, vengeance is mine! Some of that honeysuckle lumber now edges my garden.