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.

Is it spring yet?

Not quite yet. Some might say, “But I’ve seen Robins! Aren’t they the harbringers (…where did that word come from?) of spring?” Well, maybe some time in the past but certainly not these days. American Robins are pretty much year-round residents in Ohio now.

“It smells like spring.”  Well, a 60 degree day should smell great, but what I’ve also caught a wiff of was the striped skunk. They are one of the earliest mating mammals in Ohio mating February-April. However, they aren’t the only creatures who have love on their mind. A pair of coyotes was seen mating in a residential backyard in Centerville last week. And the Great Horned Owls laid their eggs back in January. Love is in the air to be sure!

Not to be outdone by the animal kingdom, one of the earliest plants blooming in Ohio is the Skunk Cabbage. Looking neither like a skunk or a cabbage Symplocarpus foetidus is a member of the Arum plant family. Sending up a brownish-purple and green spathe-like blooms that smell like, well, something not very nice. Just take a look at the species name: where do you think we get the word foetid from? Stinky!

Tom Shisler, friend of OAGC and site manager of the Wahkeena Nature Preserve south of Lancaster OH, sent this photo today of the skunkies in bloom. In late spring bright green, huge, cabbage-like leaves will spring up next to these odd blooms. If you are out and about in the wetlands or marshy areas you just might spot one of these true signs of spring. Remember: OAGC members get free entrance in to Wahkeena. Be sure to contact Tom to schedule your garden club field trip to visit this valuable natural resource site.

Midwest Native Plant Conference (Bergamo Center, Beavercreek OH) July 8-10, 2011

The Dayton area is very fortunate to again host the Midwest Native Plant Society’s Conference. The society, whose interest is in fostering and educating those interested in native plants and their habitats, has scheduled learned speakers from around the county. Registration opens March 1. Sponsored in part by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the Wild Ones©.

January 19, 2011

Here is a follow up reply from the previous post…..

Re the question: Where do you store your birdseed?
I have good luck using large plastic trash cans with tight fitting lids. I use one each for my nyjer, black oil sunflower seed and dog food (when I had a dog). Our local mill has great process on 50# quantities of bird feed and the tight lid protects them from the critters. My only problem: the closed container provides a horizontal surface on which to put stuff.  — Babs in Beavercreek

Ohio’s Big Trees
Since 1940, the conservation group American Forests has documented the largest known specimens of every native and naturalized tree in the United States. Each Big Tree receives a score based on trunk circumference, crown spread and total height. Do you want to know where they are? Do you think you have a champion in your neck of the woods? Big Trees are generally found in yards, parks, arboretums and cemeteries where their size stands out. They are less frequently found in dense forests where trees have much more competition for growth. Learn more about it at this ODNR link: Ohio Big Trees

Emerald Ashborer (EAB) information from Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Urban Forester Wendi Van Buren:
SW Ohio Communities,

ODNR continues to provide communities, organizations, and individuals with the most up to date EAB management information, so that you can make the best decisions for your community.  I am proud of the number of communities in SW Ohio who have developed EAB Management Plans specifically for the needs and resources for your communities.  Most of you have EAB Management Plans that have all three components (treatment, removal, and let die naturally) as parts of your Plans depending on the condition and placement of the ash trees in your town.  I think you will find the attached Statement document from the Coalition for Urban Ash Tree Conservation helpful.

Coalition for Urban Ash Tree Conservation Statement

“We the undersigned strongly endorse ash tree conservation as a fundamental component of integrated programs to manage emerald ash borer (EAB) in residential and municipal landscapes. Cost-effective, environmentally sound EAB treatment protocols are now available that can preserve ash trees through peak EAB outbreaks with healthy canopy intact. Used in association with tree inventories and strategic removal / replacement of unhealthy ash, tree conservation will help retain maximum integrity and value of urban forests. This integrated approach to urban EAB management is supported by university scientists with expertise in EAB management, commercial arborists, municipal foresters, public works officials, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).”

EAB Management Plan Resources

Seed/Plant catalogs are hitting the mailboxes and email boxes
Bluestone Perennials – An Ohio nursery and your source for over 1000 varieties of perennials, grasses, mums, shrubs, herbs and fall bulbs.

Brent and Becky’s Bulbs – Bulb growers since 1900, their 2011 Summer-Flowering Bulbs Catalogue is now out. When you visit Brent and Becky’s at the link above, please select the Ohio Association of Garden Clubs from the drop down menu. The Ohio Association of Garden Clubs will earn a percentage of your non-sale purchase.

Harris Seed Company – Vegetable, flower seeds. Bulbs, corms, plants and more. Catalog sales began in 1879. For free shipping and handling on orders placed by March 31, 2011 – use promo code 1PRW104. (Not valid on High Tunnels, plugs & liners and bulk Worm Power)

Totally Tomatoes – Specializing in tomato and pepper seeds. You never knew there was so much selection in variety of tomatoes and peppers. I found my beloved Amish Paste Tomato here.

D. Landreth Seed Company – Selling seeds since 1794, they are the oldest seed company in the U.S. This is where I found the seed to an heirloom purple pole bean, Purple Peacock. I had originally received the seed through The Ohio Association of Garden Club’s Gardening for Excellence seed program. I loved them so much I went on the search to find the seed.

Plant Delights Nusery – A mail order company in Raleigh, NC specializing in new and unusual perennials known well for their hosta selection and much more. Their catalog will be a feast for the eyes and may give you a fit of the giggles as well.

Educational Opportunities
It is said that the mind is a terrible thing to waste. It’s also said that if you don’t use it, you lose it. One way to keep in the game is to take advantage of the numerous educational advantages available to us every day – if only we know where to look. Here are just a few of some of the more notable options around the state:

Adams County Amish Bird Symposium – March 5 (West Union, OH)
I look forward to and have attended this symposium for about 4 years now. It is VERY popular and is limited to 300 attendees. It features experts who are top in their fields, vendors and Amish-made doughnuts and lunch. Speakers include: The Big Year (Greg Miller from the Amish community); Birding Field Guides: The Beginning and The End (Jim Berry, director of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute); Living on the Wind: the Miracle of Bird Migration (Scott Wiedensaul, author); Close Encounters (Matthew Studebaker, photographer); Kirtland’s Warbler Winter Habitat Conservation (Claire Larkin). Read more here: Amish Bird Symposium

2011 Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference- Connecting Wildlife, Habitat and People – March 9 (Columbus, OH)
Sponsored by ODNR’s Division of Wildlife. Topics include: Sandhill cranes; Distribution of Softshell turtles; Conservation genetics and the Eastern massasugas rattlesnake; Fishing access for steelhead trout and riparian corridor protection; Evaluating stress in hellbenders (hellbenders are salamanders and are the largest amphibians found in Ohio, some up to 27″ long!); Fostering Conservation Partnerships the Wildlife Officer Way; Birding for Everyone. The new 2011 Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp will make its debut. I can’t wait to go! Read more here: Wildlife Diversity Conference

2011 Ohio Botanical Symposium – March 25 (Columbus, OH)
Presented by the Ohio Division of Wildlife, in cooperation with  the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, The Nature Conservancy and The Ohio State University herbarium. This symposium is for anyone who shares and interest in Ohio’s flora, wildlife and natural history. Topics include: What Climate Change May Mean for Plants: Global, National and Regional Consequences; Best Plant Discoveries of 2010; Ohio’s Native Clovers and Their Kin; Oak Openings’ Butterflies; Assessing Invaisiveness in Ohio’s Plants: Revising the List of Top Invaders; What Was That Botanist Thinking?: The Meanings Behind the Names of Ohio Plants; Circle of Time: The Life, Death and Rebirth of an Ancient Landscape. Read more here: Ohio Botanical Symposium I’m going to this too!

In a Garden of Eden: The Medicinal and Edible Plants of the Appalachian Mountains – April 14 (Pomeroy, OH)
Sponsored by The Ohio State University Meigs County Extension, this seminar held April 14 in Pomery, Ohio features some great native plant speakers. The brochure is attached.

Another Awesome Blog to Visit
http://heather-heatherofthehills.blogspot.com/2011/01/treats-for-birds.html