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 www.melindamyers.com

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 (www.metroparks.org ) 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 http://www.metroparks.org/Parks/ViewEvents.aspx?Park=Germantown . Meet at Germantown MetroPark’s Facility Maintenance Building Classroom at 6675 Conservancy Rd, Germantown Ohio 45327.

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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