Museum of Transportation scavenger hunt

by Betty Struckhoff

people enjoying an evening in a prairie planting

On the trail of the tall compass plant

Wild Ones volunteers and young families enjoyed a lovely solstice eve at the Museum of Transportation on Thursday, June 20, 2013.   It was great fun to interact with the children searching out clues with parents or grandparents.  We had a small but enthusiastic turnout.

Scot Barnes shared his extraordinary knowledge of plant lore when the quiz answers were given.  And everyone, including volunteers got to take some plants home for their own landscape.

If you missed the evening and want to see the beautiful beds, please let me know.  I volunteer there every Thursday morning, so just call or email to let me know you are coming.  If Thursday morning doesn’t work, we can arrange another time.  I’m five minutes away.

Note: some photos by Neil Adams

St. Louis Gateway Arch landscape – Why not natives?

by Betty Struckhoff

London Plane Tree - Platanus acerifolia

London Plane Tree

The St. Louis Post Dispatch has published several articles regarding the decision to plant a monoculture of non-native London Plane trees (Platanus acerifolia) for new landscaping on the grounds of the St. Louis Arch.  For example, read the original announcement, and this follow-up.

The articles have generated plenty of feedback, including a recent letter to the editor by Susan Pang, a habitat adviser with Bring Conservation Home.  In her letter, Susan points out the reasons to avoid exotic specimens and suggests we choose native midwestern trees.  Look for links to other articles and letters on the topic in the sidebar.

A few years ago, a similar issue came up with the landscaping for the new I-64 between I-270 and Kingshighway.  After the public raised concerns about landscape choices, the Missouri Department of Transportation met with our own Scott Woodbury and other native plant experts to revise the plan.  The result is attractive native trees and shrubs bordering our new highway.

We can make a difference.  You can add your voice to the discussion by commenting on Susan’s letter, writing your own letter to the paper and/or giving feedback to CityArchRiver, the not-for-profit organization coordinating the plan.

Mystery Plant

Unknown flower

Click for a larger image

By Amy Redfield

I’m on a trip to Ely, Minnesota, near the Boundary Waters (apparently swapping the heat for the bugs!) and found this little guy all over the place. Can anyone ID him for me? He’s just too cute!

Native plant giveaway

Staghorn sumac, Rhus typhina, in beautiful fall color

Fall colors of staghorn sumac (click for larger image)

By Liz Jones

I have some extra plants that I’d like to give to a good home:

Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina) is a native shrub that grows to about 8 feet.  It is the showiest of the sumacs, and is extremely colorful in the fall. Missouri Botanical Garden write-up.

American beakgrain (Diarrhena americana) is a native grass, which I got from Shaw Nature Reserve about five years ago. It grows to about two feet, stays green till winter and then turns a pale ochre color. Missouri Botanical Garden write-up.

If you’re interested, please call me at (314) 781-0841.

Native Plant School newsletter – June, 2013

Native Plant School logoThe June edition of the Native Plant School newsletter is out.  Topics include:

  • Native plant highlight: Indian pink (Spigelia marilandica)
  • Backyard Sustainability Tour, Sunday June 23rd
  • Nature Connection: The Year of Food
  • Record-setting Shaw Wildflower Market
  • Gardening and plant care tips:
    • Pruning
    • Mulching
    • Watering
    • Propagation from cuttings
  • Rock gardening with native glade plants by Cindy Gilberg
  • Q&A: Designing a yard from scratch
  • Endangered species conservation in the Wildflower Garden – Ouachita mountain leadplant (Amorpha ouachitensis)

Download the PDF (2.6 MB)

To sign up for the newsletter, e-mail Besa Schweitzer ( with “NPS subscribe” in the subject line.

Pocket guides on sale

From Bill Brighoff

University of Iowa Press pocket guidesThe University Iowa Press has its pocket guides (and other publications) on sale, including:

  • Prairie in Your Pocket
  • Trees in Your Pocket
  • Woodland in Your Pocket

These helpful guides, that normally cost $9.95 are on sale for $5. There is also a shipping cost, which in my case was about $1.33 a guide. Visit the sale page and enter the promo code: IYP13 (be sure to use capital letters). Offer expires June 21, 2013.

A Night at the Museum

View of native landscape bedsby Betty Struckhoff

St. Louis Wild Ones members enjoy informal educational opportunities every month as we visit yards and public plantings of native plants.  This month, we have a second chance to see and learn, enjoying an evening at the Museum of Transportation.  Wonderful beds of sun-loving natives were established here in 2007, designed by our own Cindy Gilberg.

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