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.



Jolly Orchid (miniature)



Amour Elite (standard)



Paula’s PB and J (standard)


I lost the name for this one – I call him Fred. (miniature)


Jolly Gala (miniature)


2014 Hueston Woods Winter Wonderland

Southwest Ohio garden clubs who are affiliated with Ohio Association of Garden Clubs (OAGC) joined together to produce the 2nd annual Hueston Woods Winter Wonderland at the Hueston Woods State Park Lodge near Oxford, Ohio. Nearly 70 garden club members and friends from 12 OAGC garden clubs participated this year. They hailed from Butler, Clermont, Darke, Greene, Hamilton, Montgomery and Warren Counties. The display will be up through January 19, 2015.

The invitation is open to other clubs who would like to participate. To get your feet wet for the 2015 set-up, please consider participating in the take-down on January 20, 2015. Contact Vicki Ferguson at for more information and for details on an overnight lodge discount rate for workers.

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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…, 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…….



And the winners are……

The 160th Montgomery County Fair (Dayton, OH) is now underway running August 29-September 3, 2012. The Garden Club Federation of Dayton and Vicinity (‘like’ us on Facebook) produces two flower shows during the run of the fair. The first flower show was held Wednesday, August 29 and the winners are noted below. Reminder to exhibitors: the first show entries will be released at 5 pm, Friday, August 31.

Anyone who is a Federation member or is a resident of Butler, Clark, Darke, Greene, Miami, Montgomery, Preble or Warren Counties is eligible to enter these flower shows. Entries for the second show on Saturday, September 1, will be accepted from 6-9 pm, August 31 and 7-9 am, September 1. There are no entry fees and no premiums will be given. You’ll just win beautiful ribbons, maybe some big rosettes and be the envy of your green (and brown) thumbed friends. Check out the complete flower show schedule and exhibitor rules HEREThe second show entries will be released at 5 pm, Monday, September 3. We hope to see you there!


Best of Show – Section 1 (Roses): Ed Marrinan

Best of Show – Sections 2-6 (All Other Cut Specimens): Jean Beecher

Best of Show – Section 7 (Container Grown Plants): Caralynn Appenzeller

Best of Show – Section 8 (cacti/succulents): Nancy Denlinger

Best of Show – Section 9 (Junior Horticulture): Grace Hansford, age 6

Best of Show – Section 10 (Artistic Special Class): Joni Duncan

Best of Show – Section 11 (Adult Artistic): Louise Bennett

Best of Show – Section 13 (Junior Artistic): Rachel Dalyrmple


Judge’s Award of Distinction – Adult Horticulture: Marcia Heil

Green Thumb Award – Adult Horticulture (for Horticultural Excellence in Sections 1-6): Caralynn Appenzeller

Container Grower Award – Adult Horticulture (for Cultural Perfection in Sections 7-8): John Adams

Judge’s Award of Distinction – Adult Artistic: Babs Sabick

Green Thumb Award – Junior Horticulture (for horticultural excellence from Section 9): Rebekah Hansford, age 13

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 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.

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.

Fencerow folly

When we built our house in 1992, we had a fencerow that separated our backyard from the 5-acre home lot behind us. Nothing unusual grew in the fencerow: thorny wild floribunda roses were plentiful. Somewhere in the last 20 years the roses bushes went the by-and-by and the invasive Amur bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) took its place with a hyperdrive growth habit. Having enough of losing my backyard to these gigantic shade-killing, tree wannabes, I am fighting back with a handsaw, a saws-all and a soon to arrive chainsaw. The largest beast is nearly 5 feet in circumference at the base!

Last year the power line maintenance crew came through and took a scoop out of the middle of the row. That only aggravated the honeysuckle enough to send up gazillions of 4-6′ sprouts in retaliation. I asked the work crew to take it all (por favor) but was turned down. This removal process is turning out to be quite the stress reliever. Nothing like a power tool to bring a smile to one’s face.

A field of Callery Pear trees gone wild around the 25 mile marked on I-75. (Photo by Joe Boggs, Asst. Professor OSU and OSU Extension of Hamilton County, OH)

I should be grateful that my horticultural foe is the Amur honeysuckle and not the Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana). You can’t miss them right now – they are everywhere man did not plant them. You say, “I thought the flowering pear was sterile.” The National Park Service notes, “While some plant genotypes are self-incompatible, meaning they require cross pollination from another genotype in order to set seed, others can pollinate themselves. Different genotypes growing near each other (e.g., within about 300 ft.) can cross-pollinate and produce fruit with viable seed.” Apparently, that’s how we got to where we are.

Once established Callery pear forms dense thickets that push out other plants including native species that can’t tolerate the deep shade or compete with pear for water, soil and space. To make matters worse, they have thorns and even crowd out the Amur honeysuckle!

What to do? First: do NOT plant Callery pear or any Callery pear cultivars including the well known Bradford pear. Second: cut down or pull out any volunteers that sprout on your property. Some alternative trees to consider for landscape use include: common serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), Allegheny serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis), shadbush or juneberry (Amelanchier arborea, Amelanchier laevis), alternate-leaved dogwood (Cornus alternifolia), blackhaw (Viburnum prunifolium), or cockspur hawthorn (Crataegus crus-galli).

Read more about the Callery pear at this Ohio Division of Natural Resources Division of Forestry’s PDF: Weed of the month on Callery Pear.

Sign Humor

Out and about yesterday and stopped by Meadow View Growers in New Carlisle. Someone there has a great sense of humor! Check out their road-side sign.

Actually I wanted to see for myself one of the more unusual sales that I’ve run across. Here is a shot of their Perennial Plug Sale flyer – it’s a very popular sale.

Spring flowers available

Knollwood Garden Center has some great spring ephemerals and native plants in supply right now. Noteworthy plants include Trillium (Trillium spp.), Virginia Blue Bells (Mertensia virginica), Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris), Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium) and Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum). Their Pansy-Palooza sale (20% off all pansies) runs March 22-28.

Dayton Home and Garden Show

Don’t forget about the Dayton Home and Garden Show this weekend, March 23-25 at the Dayton Convention Center. Read more about ticket discounts and the seminar schedule from my earlier post HERE.

Nest Cams

Check out the various bird Nest Cams (links found on the right). I just added a Red-tailed Hawk cam that is hosted by  Cornell University. The Decorah, Iowa bald eagles’s first egg is set to hatch possibly this Sunday. Little Phoebe, the Allens Hummingbird in California, is on the nest again having already raised two clutches since last November.