Mark your calendars now for great educational opportunities

Once again, the new year brings educational opportunities galore. Check out some of the events that are happening in the next few months. The Adams County Amish Bird Symposium and the Ohio Botanical Symposium are two events I never miss!


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The Great Tree Summit 2015 – Saturday, January 31, 10am to 1:00pm

CINCINNATI ZOO & BOTANICAL GARDEN, Peacock Pavilion, 3400 Vine St. Cincinnati, OH 45220

What? An educational and inspirational event to celebrate the first year. You can register HERE or visit www.takingroot.info

  • Meet with people who share your concerns and become involved in building the legacy you want for your community
  • Learn more about our region’s forest heritage… local initiatives to address our tree crisis… inspiring examples and new opportunities for re-building our invaluable tree canopy
  • Welcome by Thane Maynard
  • Canopy For The Community by Josh Knights, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy of Ohio
  • Comments by David Mann, Vice Mayor of Cincinnati, Jim Henning, President of Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky and other dignitaries
  • Audience Q & A with Taking Root Steering Committee
  • Awards, Update on Taking Root, and much more

get-attachment.aspxTri-State Green Industry Conference – Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sharonville Convention Center, 11355 Chester Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45246

The Tri-State Green Industry Conference is a collaborative effort between Ohio State University Extension, Purdue Extension, University of Kentucky Extension, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. It features a variety of high quality education and training for professionals and also features a vendor trade show.Questions? Call Julie Crook (513) 946-8998 Details and Registration now online at http://go.osu.edu/vWs


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Ball Seed Workshop – Sunday, February 8, 2015, 2–4pm

Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati’s Green Learning Station, 2715 Reading Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45206

Join us for a hands-on workshop learning to make your own seed balls. We will use seeds of local genome common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, collected in the Cincinnati area by Wild Ones members. This is an opportunity to support Wild Ones’ efforts to help save the endangered Monarch butterfly by dispersing their required host plant, milkweed. Seed balls can be used to grow your own milkweed in your backyard or to throw into nearby roadsides and fields. All materials and handouts provided. Children are welcome if accompanied by an adult. RSVP is REQUIRED as space is limited. Email cincywildones@fuse.net or call 513-205-0742 with your reservation.

Directions: Civic Garden Center is between Oak and Taft on the grounds of the Hauck Botanic Garden. Parking is free and available off Oak St by the CGC and in the medical center lot on the north side of Oak. Parking is also available behind the building along the paved paths.


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Ohio Invasive Plants Council (OIPC) Annual Meeting – Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Highbanks Metro Park, (north of Columbus)  9466 US Rt 23 N, Lewis Center, OH 43035

Speakers will include Hope Taft, former First Lady of Ohio, Theresa Culley presenting the Assessment Team’s determination of additions to the Ohio invasive plant list, Steven Hovick of Ohio State University speaking on Purple Loosestrife and its biological control. In addition we will announce winners of the 2014 Award of Distinction and the student research grant award. Participants will also vote for four positions on the Board of Directors, and engage with other members in making priorities and plans. This meeting also marks the 10th Anniversary of OIPC. Official OIPC t-shirts will be available for $15 featuring the compelling design by Kristina Gauer. Registration is $15 and includes lunch. Registration will soon be open at http://www.oipc.info. For $25 you can register and receive an OIPC t-shirt.


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Moss and Lichen Program – Friday, February 13, 2015,  7:30pm

Avon Woods Nature Center, 4235 Paddock Rd., Cincinnati, OH, 45229

“The Hidden World of Mosses and Lichens” with Dr. Robert A. Klips, Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, Ohio State University at Marion. Sponsored the Cincinnati Wild Flower Preservation Society


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Sustainable Urban Landscapes Symposium – Thursday, February 26, 2015, 8:00am to 6:00pm

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45220

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Sustainable Urban Landscape Symposium will be a jam-packed program with expert speakers designed to take on the challenge and answer the questions of how we can design, build, and maintain the most sustainable landscapes possible. Speakers include Jim Hansel of the University of Cincinnati, Dr. Bruce Frederick of the Bartlett Tree Care Company, Dr. Dan Potter of the University of Kentucky, Craig Frye of SD1, and Steve Foltz and Deb Zureick from the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, plus many more. More information here: https://tickets.cincinnatizoo.org/mainstore.asp?vid=2#cat1158


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Ohio Natural History Conference – Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ohio History Center, Ohio Historical Society, 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43211

Registration is now open. Come to the conference and also enjoy a day viewing the exhibits at the Ohio History Center. Register online at www.regonline.com/onhc ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­


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Adams County Amish Bird Symposium – Saturday, March 7, 2015

Wheat Ridge Amish Community Building, 3735 Wheat Ridge Road, West Union, OH 45693

Join the Adams County Travel & Visitors Bureau and the Adams County Amish Community for the 12th annual symposium. This daylong celebration of birds features speakers, vendors, live raptors from Raptor Incorporated and other activities. Registration required. View/print a registration form here.


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Miami Valley Gardening Conference – Saturday, March 7, 2015

Sinclair College, 444 W. Third St., Dayton, OH

The 20th Miami Valley Gardening Conference presents a look at the past, present and future of gardening in our area. Join keynote speakers Thomas Rainer (The American Garden in a Post-Wild World) and Kelly Norris (Dig This: Stylish Gardening for Savvy Gardeners) and ten other local gardening experts as they explore the way we garden and how it has and will continue to change. Fee $50 includes lunch, snacks, covered parking, and all materials. For more information http://www.metroparks.org/GetOutside/Gardening_Landscaping.aspx


Pollinator Short Course: Identification and Conservation of Pollinators in Ohio  – Thursday, March 12, 2015

Valley Vineyards Winery, 2276 U.S. 22, Morrow, OH 45152

Short Course with Denise Ellsworth, OSU Department of Entomology. More information found here: http://warren.osu.edu/node/281


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DVD: What Plants Talk About – Sunday, March 15, 2015, 1:30-4:00pm

Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati, 2715 Reading Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45206

Hard core science is effortlessly integrated with a light-hearted look at how plants behave, revealing a world where plants are as busy, responsive and complex as we are. From the stunning heights of the Great Basin Desert to the lush coastal rainforests of west coast Canada, scientist J.C. Cahill takes us on a journey into the “secret world of plants,” revealing an astonishing landscape where plants eavesdrop on each other, talk to their allies, call in insect mercenaries and nurture their young. It is a world of pulsing activity, where plants communicate, co-operate and, sometimes, wage all-out war. So come along for the ride and discover that plants are a lot less passive and a lot more intelligent than you think!


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Gardening for Wildlife – Wednesday, March 18, 2015, 7-9pm

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, 3400 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45220

Part of a 10 week series Landscaping for the Homeowner (began Jan. 7) For more information: https://tickets.cincinnatizoo.org/mainstore.asp?vid=2#cat1158


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Ohio Botanical Symposium – Friday, March 27, 2015,   8am to 4pm

Villa Milano, 1630 Schrock Road, Columbus, OH 43229; (614) 882-2058

The 13th Ohio Botanical Symposium is hosted by the Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, in cooperation with the Ohio Division of Parks and Recreation, The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, The Nature Conservancy and The Ohio State University. The symposium brings together people of various backgrounds who share an interest in Ohio’s flora, wildlife and natural history. Quality speakers will present on botanical topics related to Ohio and adjacent states. Vendors will be present selling native plants, books and other items. The Cincinnati Wild Flower Preservation Society will host a silent auction of photographs taken by some of Ohio’s top nature photographers. Proceeds will go to the Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves to support land acquisitions. For more information contact: https://www.cmnh.org/discover/nature/Ohio-Botanical-Symposium


Southwest Ohio Perennial School – Thursday, April 9, 2015,   8:00am to 4:30pm

Clermont County Fairgrounds, 4-H Hall, 1000 Locust Street, Owensville, OH 45160

Sponsored by the OSU Extension, Clermont County. For more information: http://clermont.osu.edu/program-areas/agriculture-and-natural-resources/sw-ohio-perennial-school


Native Plants to Know and Grow – Saturday, April 18, 2015   9am to 4pm

Mulberry Community Center, 260 Mulberry Avenue, Pomeroy, OH 45769

  • Keynote Speaker: Donna VanBuecken, “Stewardship: Taking Responsibility”
  • Sierra Patterson, “Native Trees and Shrubs”
  • Gale E. Martin, “Creating a Native Prairie”
  • Dr. Frank Porter, “Using Native Vines in the Landscape”
  • Dr. Melanie Schori, “Landscaping with Native Grasses”

More information here: http://meigs.osu.edu/news/native-plants-know-and-grow

Short and sweet

I’m shooting out this time-sensitive information on items that may be of interest.

Open Garden and Hosta Sale

Glenda’s Gardens is having an Open Garden and Hosta sale. Glenda and her husband Gene Woggaman are members of the Miami Valley Hosta Society and their lovely home is a paradise to behold.

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Hosta Society Bus Trip

The Miami Valley Hosta Society’s annual bus trip is coming up Saturday, June 22 through Sunday, June 23 and features touring gardens in the Kalamazoo & Grand Rapids, Michigan area. The bus will depart from Miller Lane (North Dayton area) 7 am Saturday and tour four private gardens with a shopping stop at ROMENCE GARDEN CENTER in Portage, Michigan. Sunday’s highlights include touring three private gardens and visit the FREDERICK MEIJER GARDENS AND SCULPTURE PARK (admission and tram ride included) in Grand Rapids, Mich. Afternoon shopping stop at ARROWHEAD ALPINES (Rare Plants for Obsessive Gardeners), Fowlerville, Michigan.

MEMBER COST: $150 double occupancy, $200 single occupancy. NON-MEMBER COST: $175 double occupancy, $225 single occupancy. REGISTRATION DEADLINE: June 6, 2013. Click REGISTRATION BROCHURE for more info.

Greene County Master Gardeners 

“Garden Secrets Made Easy”, sponsored by the Greene County Master Gardeners, will be held June 6 from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm at the Xenia Church of the Nazarene (1204 W. Second St., Xenia OH 45385). Speakers will include: Pam Bennett, “Top Performing, Low Maintenance Annuals”; Dr. Laura Deeter, “Garden Design and Garden Maintenance” and Susan Liechty “Not Your Grandma’s Herb Garden.  Advance registration is $40 ($35 for Master Gardeners) and includes lunch. A full registration brochure can be found HERE.

Porterbrook’s Final Native Plant Sale

Sadly I report that the PORTERBROOK NATIVE PLANTS  will be closing in 2013. Their 13th and final Open House will be held May 26 through June 9 located in southeast Ohio in Racine, Ohio (Meigs County). Racine is about a 3 hour scenic drive from the south Dayton area. Dr. Porter has been a convention speaker and vendor for The Ohio Association of Garden Clubs and has been ethically collecting seed from native plants in Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia to propagate at the nursery since 1995. All of the plants are organically grown. There will be a wide selection of native grasses and sedges, as well as a limited supply of our American chestnut tree.

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

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.


The making of black gold

I think my fascination with worms began years ago when my grandfather taught me how to fish at his cottage at Kiser Lake (OH). As a pre-teen I also cared for redworms and nightcrawlers at his produce stand. Now as a warped adult I raise worms in my laundry room. Hmmmmm…… Just when you thought I couldn’t get any weirder!

I am proud to confess that I make compost indoors with red wigglers worms (Eisenia foetida), a process officially named Vermiculture. These are not your backyard kind of worms and will not tolerate cold temperatures which is why they are kept inside. Unlike their vagabond cousins the nightcrawler (whose main goal in captivity is to escape a worm bin) my red wigglers are quite content to consume my kitchen scraps and give me wonderful compost in return. Photos of my recent compost harvest are featured below. To visit a good place to learn more about Vermicomposting, go HERE.

Worm bin is dumped out on a table outdoors (out of direct sunlight) and sorted into smaller piles.

Because they don't like light, worms will move to the bottom center of each pile. As they do, I peel back the compost a little at a time. I check the piles every 15 minutes or so.

This is an egg cocoon. It may hold 1-4 worm eggs.

As I'm working on peeling back the worm-free compost from the piles (takes a couple of hours) I also prepare the worm bin by hand-tearing newspaper and moistening the worm's new bedding. I throw in a handful of garden soil to add grit.

Eventually I consolidate the smaller piles into one large pile. At some point, there are more worms than compost.

The worms get moved back into the worm bin with the new bedding. Add kitchen scraps for food, cover with more bedding and my work is done.

Native plants available Saturday

There will be many vendors at the Native Plant Society’s annual conference this weekend at the Bergamo Center in Beavercreek. The vendors will be open to the public this Saturday, July 9 from 9 am to 4 pm. Find out more about the conference HERE.

Rain barrel workshop this Saturday

The Greene County Soil and Water Conservation District and the Greene County Master Gardeners are offering a do-it-yourself water barrel workshop Saturday, July 9 from 9:30 am to 12 noon at the Greene County Extension Office (100 Fairground Rd., Xenia OH). The workshop is free and open to the public however, if you want to make a barrel and join the workshop, they will provide barrels, materials and guidance for putting them together for a fee of $35 per barrel. There are a maximum of 25 barrels available.  Call the extension office at 937-372-4478 for 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

Wahkeena’s Hike for Health

Pink Lady's Slipper Orchid (Cypripedium reginae)

This past Saturday, I finally took the advice I hear often: take a hike! So I did. Actually, it was a fundraiser called Hike For Health. A hike for health that benefited the walker and also raised monies for the OAGC (Ohio Association of Garden Clubs) Foundation. I chose to hike at the Wahkeena Nature Preserve in Fairfield County south of Lancaster, OH. Talk about a gem in the wild, Wahkeena sparkles!

Amazing sights included the native Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchid and the Showy Orchis as well as the Flame Azalea, all of which were in bloom. Using my cell phone’s ringtone, I managed to call in not one, but two Ovenbirds who ended up having a territory spat because of me. I also called in a Tufted Titmouse by whistling. In fact, the titmouse came within about 6 feet and apparently wanted me to feed it. It was the highlight of the day. Enjoy the photos. If anyone has some identification on the fungi, let me know and I’ll add captions.

Flame Azalea buds (Rhododendron calendulaceum)

Flame Azalea (Rhododendron calendulaceum)

A bumble bee giving me a high-five

Squawroot (Conopholis americana) A non-photosynthesizing parasitc plant of oak roots

Devil's Urn (Urnula craterium)

Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

Local events:

Be sure to check out other events at the Events Calendar page tab at the top of this page.

My garden club, the Here & There Garden Club, will be holding its annual Plant Sale this Saturday, May 21, from 9 am to 1 pm at 5200 Bigger Road, Kettering OH 45440.

College Hill Garden Club will hold its annual plant sale May 19-21 at 40 Carson Ave, Dayton OH 45415.

The Mercer-Smith Historical Park is giving a free presentation and holding an Open House demonstration. “Heritage Plants in a Frontier Garden” will be shared this Saturday, May 21. The presentation is at 10:30 am in the Fairborn Library Meeting Room (1 E. Main St., Fairborn OH) and the Open House runs from 11 am to 3 pm at Mercer-Smith Historical Park (corner of First & Middle Streets, Fairborn OH). Learn some of the ways that plants, seeds and gardening techniques of the early 1800s differ from those of modern day.


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.


Till we meet again

White-throated sparrow

Some of us who live in Ohio year-round  may find it hard to believe that anyone or anything would want to spend winters here let alone consider it a balmy vacation destination, yet that is exactly what some of our feathered friends do. The recent mild weather has allowed a welcome spring breeze to come in though open windows. Riding the perfumed wind comes the melodic “Oh, sweet Canada, Canada, Canada” song of the white-throated sparrow. You can listen to its sweet song HERE.

I was very surprised to hear sparrow’s song this morning for I know he’ll be packing it up and heading north to Canada for summer breeding. Other winter visitors to Ohio include the dark-eyed junco, pine siskins, long-eared owls, red-breasted nuthatches and more. You can follow the occurrence progress of many birds  HERE. Safe journeys, friends. I’ll see you again come winter.

NOTE: Get your hummingbird feeders out. They have already been spotted in Ohio. Follow their 2011 migration HERE.

 

Invasive wildflowers

Lesser celandine

Dense mat of lesser celandine

On the other side of the coin are visitors that have overstayed their welcome. Case in point is the Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) also known as the fig buttercup. Not to be confused with our native marsh marigold (Caltha palustris), this non-native invasive vernal plant forms large, dense patches in floodplain forests and some upland sites, displacing many native plant species, especially those with the similar spring-flowering life cycle.  Because it emerges well in advance of the native species, it has a developmental advantage which allows it to establish and overtake areas rapidly. (Sounds like the Amur honeysuckle!) After flowering, the above-ground foliage begins to die back and are mostly gone by June. Learn more here.

Worm update

My worms were no worse for wear considering their vermicomposting road trip to the Licking County Master Gardener Conference in Newark, OH last Saturday. In fact, a handful of them now have a new home somewhere up that way. The keynote speaker at the event was Jim McCormac who spoke on the often misunderstood group of plants: Goldenrods. If you get the opportunity to hear Jim speak, on any subject, GO. You won’t regret it. Check out his blog HERE.