Seeing yellow

The Miami Valley/Dayton, Ohio area is well known for many things. Think: Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Charles F. Kettering, the Wright Brothers, Mike Sells Potato Chips, Marion’s Pizza and so much more. We are also known as the Birthplace of Aviation much to the consternation of North Carolinians….. Those of us who weren’t smart enough to leave the area also know it as Sinus Valley.

This is pollen - not a fancy paint job.

This is pollen on my poor Toro – not a fancy new paint job.

The photo above is what my mower looked like after mowing only the HALF of my .4 of an acre here in Washington Township. I felt like Charlie Brown’s friend Pig Pen going around the yard. I’m not sure if my White Ash (Fraxinus americana) is going into overdrive in pollen production what with the imminent Emerald Ash Borer invasion and all. Maybe it is mad that I planted a 6′ Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipfera) at its feet in anticipation of its removal when it gets the dreaded disease….

The business end of the Ash tree flowers.

The business end of the Ash tree flowers.

My only salvation will be a constant supply of sinus meds for the time being. For a change, I’m crossing my fingers for rain.

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Sales Alerts

KNOLLWOOD GARDEN CENTER: April 25-28, 20th annual Impatiens and Begonia sale. $12.99/flat.

GRANDMA’S GARDEN CENTER: Now through April 28, Spring Perennial Party, all quart-size and larger pots 25% off. Fri-Sun: Impatiens and begonia flats are $11.99.

MIAMI VALLEY HOSTA SOCIETY ANNUAL PLANT AUCTION: Tuesday, May 14, Polen Farm (5099 Bigger Road, Kettering OH 45440. Preview starts at 6 pm.

Be sure to check the EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES tab at the top for other area activities.

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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.

Raptors: Hunting on the Wing

Great Horned Owl

This past Saturday I traveled to Cedar Bog Nature Preserve, just south of Urbana (OH) in Champaign County for a Raptor Workshop led by the amazing Tom Hissong, education coordinator for Aullwood Audubon Center. Participants were schooled on the numerous hawks, eagles, falcons and owls that can be found in at Cedar Bog as well as around Ohio.

Cedar Bog is an Ohio Historical Society property that is managed by the Cedar Bog Association. The bog is the largest and best example of a boreal and prairie fen complex in Ohio formed by retreating glaciers about 15, 000 years ago. It is home to many rare, unusual and endangered plants including the Small Yellow Lady Slipper and Showy Lady Slipper orchids. The 450-acre site features a one mile long board walk and an eco-friendly nature center, which was the location for the raptor workshop.

Small rodent bones in an owl pellet

Weird one that I am, I thought the highlight of the workshop was the opportunity to dissect an owl pellet. Less you are grossed out by this thought, would it soften the weirdness to know that the pellets were sterilized? Hmmm. I didn’t think so. Anyways, owls, as you may know, hunt and eat small animals like shrews, mice, voles and birds. They tear their food and swallow large chunks whole. They can’t digest all the hair and hard materials such as bones, so they regurgitate these in the form of a pellet. Sounds like an owl version of a cat’s hair ball!

Bones found in an owl pellet. The tiny bones just under the jaw are less than 1/4 inch.

Using a bone sorting chart (yes, there is such a thing) we discovered teeny, tiny vertebrae, ribs, shoulder bones, leg bones, sculls and teeth. It was quite interesting. It bears repeating: do yourself a favor and discover the wonders of nature by taking the opportunity to check out some of the wonderful places like Cedar Bog. You won’t be disappointed.

Yummy shortbread owl cookies. Who says birders don't have a sense of humor?

Sales alerts

Knollwood Garden Center – Beavercreek – Knollwood is really getting in some great and unusual house plant in stock. Just in time for Valentine’s Day (though who REALLY needs an excuse to buy a plant?) all tropical foliage plants are 20% off through the 18th. (Flowering plants not included.) Website HERE.

Grandma’s Gardens – Waynesville/Centerville-ish –  Grandma’s Gardens website has a $5 off a $30 purchase of regular priced items (some exclusions) through Wednesday, February 15. Coupon HERE.