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.

There’s something happening here….

Suffering Austrian Pines on Clyo Road

Taken from the famous Buffalo Springfield 1966 song “For What It’s Worth” the lyrics in my blog title are so appropriate. Something BIG is happening to mature Austrian pine (Pinus nigra) trees all over the Centerville-Washington Township area. Have you noticed these large long-needled conifers dying in your community?

According to the ODNR’s Division of Forestry the Austrian pine is the pine most susceptible to Diplodia Tip Blight, a fungus that commonly attacks mature trees that have been stressed. And these trees have seen stress! This menace will slowly kill the tree over several years and wreak havoc in mass plantings as it spreads to surrounding trees. If it was present last year, I must have been oblivious. THIS year….. it is everywhere. Just drive down Clyo Road around Alex-Bell. Or check out I-675 between the Centerville and Wilmington Pike exits. I what I see from my car is any indication, we’re on track to soon lose thousands of pine trees.

Diplodia tip blight

Even though the Austrian pines are fast growing they are not long-lived trees and are often mixed in with spruces and deciduous trees in new plantings. When the Austrians die off, the spruce and deciduous trees are still there.

Regional Urban Forester Wendi Van Buren notes, “A telltale way to determine of a tree is infected with Diplodia tip blight is to look for the signs of the pathogen, which consist of tiny black, fungal fruiting bodies (pycnidia) that are formed on the surface of the infected needles and cones.” Read more about it  HERE on this OSU extension fact sheet.

Educational Opportunities

Knollwood Garden Center

I attended the perennial seminar at Knollwood today and came home with 4 new perennials!! Don’t miss out on Knollwood’s next seminar, Saturday, September 3 at 10am and again at 11am at St. Luke’s Catholic Church for: “Learn to Plant Like the Pros”. Learn as John Scott narrates as the landscape crew installs a job from start to finish. Space is limited and reservations are required. Call 937-426-0861.

Siebenthaler’s Garden Center

“Clip and Cook With Herbs”  Learn how to harvest and dry a myriad of herbs or make a culinary wreath at the Thursday, September 8 seminar (Centerville garden center location) at 10 am or 6 pm. Event will repeat at the Beavercreek garden center at 1 pm on Saturday, September 10.

Dahlias on Parade

The Greater Columbus Dahlia Society will hold their 46th annual dahlia show September 3 & 4 at the Marysville Family YMCA and Ohio National Guard Armory Facility in Marysville (1050 Charles Lane, Marysville OH 43040). This is a free event.

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.


Peeent!

Spring is here!

American Woodcock

Some may think that spring arrives with the sighting of the first robin, crocus, witch hazel, skunk cabbage….the list goes on. For others, however, it is hearing the quirky mating song of the American Woodcock (take a listen here). Seldom seen, this odd bird is a member of the sandpiper family that has evolved to live in moist woodlands and eat earthworms. It arrives in Ohio from its wintering grounds as early as February. During courtship at dusk, it makes a buzzing bzzzzzeeeeep sound (some say it sounds like: peeeent) that is not unlike a nighthawk’s call. The males put on a spectacular arial display climbing high in the sky, only to plummet down to earth twittering all the way. Though I did not see them on my outing, I did hear both the buzzing calls and the twittering descent here in Centerville OH. I suppose spring is officially here!

Sales alerts

Knollwood Garden Center – If you missed their pansy sale last week, do not fret. There is still a great selection of pansy bowls on sale for $9.99 through Sunday.

Grandma’s Gardens – The Spring Preview is underway with 20% off everything through Sunday.

Siebenthaler’s – The Beavercreek location only is offering a sale on ceramic pottery at 40-75% off through Sunday.

Educational Opportunities

Richard Louv, author of “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder” will speak Sunday, March 27 – 7:00 p.m. at the James and Caroline Duff Banquet Center in the Cintas Center – Xavier University, Cincinnati OH.

His book stimulated an international conversation about the future relationship between children and nature. He serves as chair of the Children and Nature Network, which encourages and supports people and organizations working to reconnect children with nature. The event is FREE and open to the public. For more information, e-mail frickman@xavier.edu or visit www.xavier.edu/ers/lecture

Gardening Symposium

The Ohio State University Extension Gardening Symposium Series will be held Thursday, March 31 from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm at Polen Farm, 5099 Bigger Rd., Kettering, OH. The day will offer informative speakers & choice of hands-on workshop with one-on-one instruction, materials provided. Beverage and box lunch provided included in the $40 registration fee. Register before March 22, 2011.  Space is limited.  Visit http://montgomery.osu.edu/topics/horticulture/hort-downloads/2011%20Spri… for more details and to register.