Small Wonders

Miniature designs must be less than 5" in any direction

I had a great day in Chillicothe (OH) yesterday sharing a Miniature/Small floral design program with the Story Place Garden Club of Region 9. What is the difference between as small or miniature floral design, you ask? The Ohio Association of Garden Clubs’ Exhibitors’ and Judges’ Schools teach that a Miniature design can be no larger than 5″ in any direction. A Small design is larger than 5″ but no larger than 12″ in any direction. Getting the right scale and proportion is the most important part of creating these lilliputian beauties. Sometimes it’s not easy but it is FUN! When you get the scale right, it is hard to tell if you are looking at a five inch or a 40 inch floral design.

Lots of sales news to report:

Our friends at Bluestone Perennials in Madison (OH) is a family owned Ohio-grown mail-order business. They have many great sale offerings for spring of 2012; some up to 50% off. Check out the deals at

If you haven’t subscribed to Knollwood Garden Center’s (Beavercreek) email newsletter, you should. (Sign up on their home page.) You’ll get a heads up on the specials and also the schedule of their wonderful gardening seminars. For instance, this week email customers are being rewarded with four special days (Thursday-Sunday, March 15-18 ONLY) to redeem their Bonus Bucks. The next opportunity to redeem Bonus Bucks will be in June. They are also offering a drawing for free tickets to the Dayton Home and Garden Show (an $8 value). Don’t forget the Dayton Home and Garden Show is offering entrance discounts. Check them out HERE.

Grandma’s Gardens (Waynesville) is offering 20% off the regular price of everything Thursday-Sunday, March 15-18 in their Spring Preview Sale. They, too, have an email group for customers. Sign up HERE.

Tomorrow (March 16) is the last day to sign up for Siebenthaler’s (Centerville and Beavercreek) Frequent Gardener Card for the discounted price of $15. Starting Saturday, March 17, the price goes up to the full $25 price.

Marvin’s Organic Gardens (Lebanon) is now open weekends.


Gear up for Arbor Day

The great French Marshal Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow-growing and would not reach maturity for a hundred years. The Marshal replied, “In that case, there is no time to lose, plant it this afternoon.”

Keeping that thought in mind, many Southwest Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Districts are offering tree seedling sales. You can check out the sales at the following links. Thanks to ODNR Regional Urban Forester Wendi VanBuren for this information.

Shelby Soil & Water Conservation District – (937) 492-6520 – Orders due by Friday, March 23rd. Pick-up on third week of April.

Darke Soil & Water Conservation District – (937) 548-1752 – Orders due by Wednesday, March 21st. Pick-up on April 3, 4 & 5.

Miami Soil & Water Conservation District Orders due by Friday, March 16th. Pick-up on April 3 & 4.

Preble Soil & Water Conservation District – (937) 456-5159 – Orders due by Friday, March 16th. Pick-up on April 3.

Montgomery Soil & Water Conservation District Orders due by Friday, March 9th. Pick-up on April 3 & 4.

Greene Soil & Water Conservation Orders due by Friday, March 16th. Pick-up on April 12 & 13.

Butler Soil & Water Conservation District Orders due by Friday, March 23rd. Pick-up on April 19 & 20

Warren Soil & Water Conservation District Orders due by Monday, March 19th. Pick-up on March 29, 30 & 31.

Clinton Soil & Water Conservation District – (937) 382-2461 – Orders due by Friday, March 16th. Pick-up on March 29 & 30.

Hamilton – No Tree Sale

Clermont Soil & Water Conservation District – 513/732-7075 – Orders due by Friday, April 13th. Pick-up on April 21.

Highland Soil & Water Conservation District – (937) 393-1922 ext #3 – First come, first served. Pick-up on April 6.

Brown – No Tree Sale

Adams Soil & Water Conservation District – (937) 798-4018 – White Pine and Norway Spruce only – Ordering until gone. Arrive March 13th.

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.

No snow? No problem – Snowdrops are here!

Galanthus nivalis - Snowdrop

An early blooming harbinger of spring is the lovely Galanthus nivalis,  commonly known as a snowdrop. These European native perennial bulbs are in the Amaryllis family. Another common name of milkflower may find its origin in the translation of Galanthus: ‘Gala’ is Greek for ‘milk’ and ‘anthos’ is Greek for ‘flower’.

Snowdrops can be easily propagated by bulb offsets and lend themselves to beautiful displays when used in a naturalized, woodsy location. As is often the case with spring blooming bulbs, the time to purchase them is going to be in the fall – so you might as well start making your fall shopping list now. A great place to check out your bulb needs is at Brent and Becky’s Bulbs (link in the shopping list in the right column. Be sure to select ‘The Ohio Association of Garden Clubs” from the pull down fundraising menu.)

Gardening at the Governor’s Residence

Would you like to join a group that really needs your help? It will give you the opportunity to learn about Ohio history and native plants. You’ll make new friends and make a difference…. Curious? You are invited to join the Friends of the Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden and become a Docent, Garden Guide or Governor’s Gardener.

Docents and guides give tours on Tuesdays and gardeners work in the Heritage Garden on Wednesdays (April through October.) Training is provided; a volunteer training session will be held March 28 so sign up soon! For more docent and guide information: Mary Mairose, For more Governor’s Gardener information: Hope Taft,

Educational Opportunities

Knollwood Garden Center in Beavercreek:

Saturday, February 18: Terrarium Workshop ‘Tiny and Terrific’-10am: At this free seminar, learn how to make a terrarium. After the demonstration, feel free to make your own!  Bring your own container or find one in the store. Planting medium is provided for a $7 fee. Plants can be purchased at the workshop. Registration is required. Call 426-0861.

Meadowview Growers in New Carlisle:

Saturday, March 3: Kid’s Club-10:00 am: Discover the “Lost World” garden. Create a mini garden that any dinosaur would love to roam through. All materials supplied. Cost is $5.00 due at time of registration. Register by Feb. 27. Call 937-845-0093.
What’s New in Annuals and Perennials 2012-10:00 am: This colorful power point presentation will give you a birds-eye view of Meadow View’s newest offerings for spring 2012. Cost is $5.00 due at time of registration. Register by Feb. 27.
Raised Beds and Rain Barrels- 2:00 pm: Learn the advantages and ease of gardening in raised beds and see with a step-by-step instruction on how to build a rain barrel. Cost is $5.00 due at time of registration. Register by Feb. 27.
Saturday, March 10th:  “Bark, Buds, and Leaves; The Beauty of Trees”- 10:00 am- Join Chris Jensen from Wegerzyn Metro Park for an exciting discussion on the glorious nature of trees. Cost is $5.00 due at time of registration. Register by March 2.
“Garden Art-Create a Glass Totem”- 10:00 am- “Repurpose” your old glassware into a unique piece of garden art in this hands-on-workshop. Comb the cupboards, thrift stores, and garage sales for the perfect piece. This project has been featured in ‘Birds and Bloom” and “Garden Gate” magazines. Bring your own glass or purchase pieces during the workshop. Fee is $20.00. A $10.00 deposit is due upon registration. Register by March 2.
“Create a Miniature Garden”- 2:00 pm- Miniature gardening is the latest trend. Create the perfect replica of a real or fantasy world on a miniature scale. Cost is based on materials used. Deposit of $10.00 is due at time of registration. Please register by March 2.


Birds of a feather

Snowy Owl, Hardin County, OH

Were you one of the lucky few who caught a glimpse the glorious Snowy Owl in nearby Hardin County north of Bellefontaine (OH)? If not, our Viner friend Roger Garber put his new camera lens to work and has shared a wonderful shot for you. Snowy Owls, normally residents of the Arctic north, have been spotted much, much farther south of their native range. This unusual visitation is called an irruption and may be the result of inadequate food sources, primarily lemmings, that may have driven some owls this far south.

Sadly, it was reported today on the Ohio Ornithological Society’s Facebook page that our local avian media star was found dead today perhaps a victim of starvation. Take a listen to Jim McCormac, a biologist with ODNR’s Division of Wildlife, who was interviewed on  NPR’s All Things Considered by Melissa Block HERE.

The Harry Potter fan in me says, “Hedwig, we hardly knew ye….”

Pileated Woodpecker

I always enjoy feeding the birds in my backyard. Suet is a great way to attract many birds. Imagine my excitement spotting this pileated woodpecker. Thank goodness the feeder had a tail prop or else this guy would have been left hanging!

Educational Opportunities

Yes, it’s that time again! WHOOOOO HOOOOOO! The seminars, conferences and symposiums are gearing up.

Adams County Amish Bird Symposium – Saturday, March 3

This daylong celebration of birds features speakers, vendors and activities at the Wheat Ridge Amish Community Building, West Union (OH). Speakers include Harvey B. Webster, Cleveland Museum of Natural History; author Geoff Hill, Auburn University professor; Chris Gilkey, Wildlife Officer; Jim McCormac, Division of Wildlife; and Kimberly Kaufman Black Swamp Bird Observatory. Amish lunch included. Find registration information HERE.

Wildlife Diversity Conference – Wednesday, March 7

Wildlife Diversity: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Held at the huge Shriner’s Complex in Columbus, this event is awesome. Speakers are among the best in their field. Worms, Freshwater Mussel Restoration, Aquatic Invasive Species, Lake Erie Pelagic Bird Survey, Wildlife Orphans, Wetland Restoration & Small Mammal Community Structure and Beavers/Porcupines and Fishers. All in one day! Read more/register HERE.

Hosta College – Friday/Saturday, March 16 & 17

One of the most anticipated events of the spring is the American Hosta Society Great Lakes Region’s Hosta College in Piqua (OH). This year the date is Friday-Saturday, March 16 & 17. Check it all out HERE. Early class registration for Miami Valley Hosta Society members opens 12 midnight January 13. Non-member registration opens January 25 at midnight.

I spy…..

This morning’s Tuesday Trek at Grant Park with Centerville-Washington Park District’s naturalist, Lucy, revealed many wonderful finds. There were surprises in the prairie, at the pond side and in the woods. It doesn’t get better than this.

Calico Aster (Symphytotricum lateriflorum)

Goldenrod (Solidago sp.)

Rough Goldenrod (Solidago rugosa)

Snakeweed (Ageratina altissima)

Grasshopper on Queen Anne's Lace

Black & Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia)

An orbweaver spider (probably Neoscona crucifera) at breakfast

Someone else's breakfast (on a duck nest box)

Sales Opportunities

Greene County Master Gardener sale – October 1

9 am to 1 pm at the Greene County Extension Office (100 Fairground Road, Xenia OH 45385). Features houseplants, perennials, gardening books and more. Call 937-372-9971.

Educational Opportunities

Ohio Gardening – October 2

Gardening expert, TV & radio host, author and columnist Melinda Myers will be speaking at Cox Arboretum October 2. She has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening. She hosts the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments which air on 89 TV and radio stations throughout the U.S. and Canada. She is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and writes the twice monthly “Gardeners’ Questions” newspaper column. Melinda hosted “The Plant Doctor” radio program for over 20 years as well as Great Lakes Gardener on PBS. Melinda has a master’s degree in horticulture, is a certified arborist and was a horticulture instructor with tenure. Her web site is

Don’t miss Ohio Gardening, Sunday, October 2, 9 am to 4:15 pm. Registration starts at 8:30 am. Fee is $ 10 and includes light lunch. Registration is available online ( ) or call 434-9005.

MetroParks Forestry Practices – October 15

1-4:30 pm, In-depth review of Five Rivers MetroParks’ best forestry practices and connections to local neighborhood trees. Mark Klunk, Conservation Manager and Wendi Van Buren, Urban Forester will introduce forestry practices and the importance of trees in your own neighborhoods. The outdoor hiking portion of the program will highlight beautiful forest types and review the forest management practices within MetroParks. Reservations required and space is limited. Call (937) 277-4178 or register online. At . Meet at Germantown MetroPark’s Facility Maintenance Building Classroom at 6675 Conservancy Rd, Germantown Ohio 45327.

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 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:; 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.

Scrambled eggs anyone?

At first glance it looked like someone had spilled scrambled eggs under my neighbor’s tree. It was brilliant yellow in color and upon closer inspection had a furry look about it. Dusk was nearly upon me and because I’m not a big fan of taking pictures with flash, I waited until morning to get these photos. By that time the beautiful yellow color had already dulled to a pale beige. And it had grown. Exponentially!

It turns out to be one of the prettier varieties of slime mold, something akin to fungus. That is, if you can call slime mold pretty. Fuligo septica is also commonly called scrambled egg slim and also dog vomit. Eeeeewwwwweeeee. I like calling it scrambled egg slime better.

If you are one of the millions upon millions of home gardeners who spread bark mulch in your beds, you’ve probably run into this common fungus-like sight. Without getting too scientific, a bunch of spores grow and form a fast-growing amoeba-like spongy mass while in search of non-living organic nutrients found in mulch.

It doesn’t take long, even a day or so, before it turns brown and crusty. If you don’t like what you see, turn it over and cover with fresh mulch. It turns out that the presence of slime mold is actually a good thing; showing that organic matter is doing what it should be doing.

Calling all ladies

Siebenthaler’s Nursery’s annual Ladies’ Night will be held Thursday, August 4 from 6-8 pm. This event will be held at their Beavercreek location (2074 Beaver Valley Rd., Beavercreek, OH 45434). Join The Cake Chronicles author Jayne B. Robinson as she finds sweet hope in this crazy world. Cake and sparkling wine will be served. Call 937-434-3126,  937-426-4110 or stop in either location to reserve your spot.

Get ready for the county fair flower show

Mark your calendars now for the Montgomery County Fair’s Flower Show! The flower show is sponsored by the Montgomery County Agricultural Society and produced by the Federation of Garden Clubs of Dayton and Vicinity. There are two days of floral-friendly competition: Wednesday, August 31 and Saturday, September 3. Volunteers are needed in many capacities: helping to process entries, getting entries sorted and placed in preparation for judging, hostessing during the hours the fair is open, set-up and more. Don’t forget to enter your own specimens! There is no fee to exhibit. Download the flower show schedule HERE to learn more about entering and contact details. An informational briefing will be held on Monday, August 15 at 10am at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark.

Sales alerts

If you are still in the market for slipping in a few more plants, be sure to visit your local garden center or nursery for some great deals. Examples: Knollwood Garden Center’s trees and shrubs are 20% off, birdbaths are 25% off, quart-sized perennials are 50% off and 10″ plastic hanging baskets are $10 off. Grandma’s Garden Center has 4″ annuals buy-one-get-one-free and wooden raised garden bed kits are 40% off . You’ll find similar savings all over the area this month.

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.

Lions, tigers and bears – oh, my!

Asian Long-horned Beetle

As if the Ohio invasion of the Emerald Ash Borer wasn’t enough, the Asian Longhorned Beetle may be the next critter to endanger Ohio forests. As the name indicates, this destructive invasive is from east Asian countries and has apparently been hitch-hiking across the U.S. in shipping crates and pallets. Already, eradication efforts are underway in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York and it appears to have been successfully eradicated in Chicago. While the Emerald Ash Borer’s tree-du-jour are ash trees, the ALB grows, reproduces in, and kills deciduous hardwood trees such as ALL types of maples (sugar, silver, red, Norway and box elder), birches, horse chestnuts, poplars, willows, elms, ashes (Those poor ash trees can’t cut a break!) AND even our buckeyes!

On June 9, an alert landowner noticed three damaged maple trees on his property a few miles from the Village of Bethel in Tate Township, Clermont County, east of Cincinnati, OH. On Friday, June 17, 2011, the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) and the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) confirmed that an Asian Longhorned Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) (ALB) infestation was found. Consequently, Ohio Governor Kasich signed an Executive Order restricting the movement of hardwood logs, firewood, stumps, roots, and branches out of Tate Township. This is the first ALB infestation found in Ohio. USDA APHIS has responded with personnel on the scene to assess the extent of the infestation and to develop and implement a management plan.

ALB exit hole

Let me introduce you to this new pest: ALB have bodies about an inch long, are shiny black and have bright white spots. Each adult has a pair of curved, black-and-white striped antennae that are even longer than the body. Adults emerge from trees during May, June and July. They feed on plant shoots for a few days and then mate. After mating, females chew roughly oval pits in the bark of host trees, where they lay eggs. When the eggs hatch, the white grub-like larvae bore into the wood. Larvae mature inside the tree until they become adults and chew round, 3/8 inch (nearly dime-sized) exit holes in trunks and branches, from which they emerge. This life cycle produces new adults every year, rather than every 2-4 years like most other longhorned beetles. The ALB can fly hundreds of feet, perhaps farther when assisted by the wind.

What can you do if you think you’ve found one of these? Obviously, you would want to capture a specimen to be sure. A special toll-free telephone number has been established by the ODA for Ohioans to report suspected ALB infestations or suspiciously large black and white beetles with really long black-and-white striped antennae. The number is: 855-252-6450. The USDA APHIS has several YouTube videos that may also help in your CSI work. Check them out HERE.

Sales alert

Ever’s Country Gardens, a fifth generation family-owned and operated grower north of Lebanon, OH, has all of their annuals and perennials on sale for 50% off. Trees and shrubs are 25% off. They are located just north of the St. Rt. 48 bypass at: 1815 U.S. 42 north, Lebanon, OH, 45036. Phone: 513-932-3914.

I found figs

I was down at Jungle Jim’s International Food Market in Fairfield, OH yesterday and they had hundreds (yes, hundreds) of brown Turkey figs for sale in about a 2 gallon pots. They were about three feet tall and many had figs. The prices were $24.99, down from $29.99. If you have never visited Jungle Jim’s – it’s a hoot. I came home with foods from Greece, Macedonia, Italy and closer to home: Durango, Colorado. The fresh peaches from South Carolina are scrumptious!