Native plant bake-off

Shaw Nature Reserve is holding a cooking contest during the fall Wildflower Market:

Drawing of persimmon fruits and leavesFriday, September 6, 2013
from 4 p.m. till 7:30 p.m.
at Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, MO

Attention all foodies. We would like to present you with a challenge! Bring us your best creation, to be judged by your peers. The catch is that all items in the bake off must contain at least one Missouri native species on the ingredient list. Do you have the perfect recipe for bread, scones, pudding, cobbler, jam, jelly, wine, bounce, or buckle? The winning cook will receive a  fabulous prize and their interview and recipe will be published in the October issue of the News from Native Plant School.

Drawing of elderberry leaves and berriesAll entries must be divided into many small samples to give away to attendees of the concurrent Shaw Wildflower Market. The winner will be decided by the entry that generates the most votes, i.e. money. All proceeds will benefit the Whitmire Wildflower Garden.

Interested in participating? Contact Besa Schweitzer ( Include your recipe and contact information.

July 2013 meeting minutes

President Ed Schmidt welcomed thirty-one members and seven guests, including 5 members and 2 guests from Illinois, to this month’s yard tour and meeting. View photos.


Chan Mahanta hosted a yard tour at his home in North St. Louis County.  Following the tour, he described how, as a young boy in his native India, he became fascinated with American prairies through comic books.  The 1954 Disney nature documentary “The Vanishing Prairie” further fueled his fascination (view trailer).  As an adult, he and his wife lived in California and then west St. Louis County before moving to their current home in north St. Louis County overlooking the Missouri River.  In 1999, he started his 1.5-acre front yard prairie by seed.  Scott Woodbury advised Chan on the prairie and introduced him to Wild Ones.

In 2004 Chan won the highest award for an amateur in the St. Louis Post Dispatch Great Gardens Contest, as an example of residential native plant use.  Yearly maintenance of the prairie includes brush-hogging in February and prairie burning which is allowed in unincorporated St. Louis County.  Chan also grows an extensive vegetable garden and is a beekeeper.

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Response from CityArchRiver2015

This is a follow-up on the plan to replace the declining ash trees near the Arch with London plane trees (Platanus x acerifolia). Some members of Wild Ones who contacted CityArchRiver 2015 to express concerns about the use of a monoculture of non-native trees received this response from Ryan McClure, Communications Director.

Ash trees along the current walkway to the Arch

Ash trees along the current walkway to the Arch. Image from CityArchRiver. Click for a larger image.

We are glad to hear of your interest in the project and would like to respond to the concerns you have about tree selection on the Arch grounds. Following is information provided by our design team that may help address your inquiry and provide some insight and reasoning behind the choices made for the revitalization of the Arch grounds.

The National Park Service recently announced its decision to replace the endangered Ash trees on the processional allees of the Arch grounds with the London Plane tree after an extensive process that involved input from the CityArchRiver design team, the Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Botanical Garden, local arborists and nurserymen, and many others.

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2013 Landscape Challenge Winner Announced

by Ed Schmidt

Future site of the 2013 Landscape Challenge

Site of the 2013 Landscape Challenge. Click for a larger image.

The winning property of this year’s Landscape Challenge has been chosen.  A team of Wild Ones members and a representative from Grow Native! processed the 13 applications and visited promising properties on a recent evening.  All applicants this year have participated in Audubon’s Bring Conservation Home program, and the homes were scattered from near I-270 in the north to near the Jefferson County line in the south.

The winning property is on Horner Avenue in St. Louis City.  Landscape designers on the evaluation team were influenced by the “blank slate” offered by this south-facing property.  BCH volunteers reported the front yard ideal for a prairie planting.  A low spot offers the possibility of a rain garden.

The planting date is scheduled for Saturday morning, September 21, and we’ll be looking for volunteers.  Stay tuned for more details as the date approaches.

June 2013 meeting minutes

As an experiment this month, two yard tours were held in one week at the same property.  Members and guests chose the date and time most convenient for them.  On Wednesday’s stormy evening, president Ed Schmidt welcomed 7 guests and 16 members at 6:30 p.m.  At 9:30 a.m. on Saturday membership chair Betty Struckhoff welcomed 11 members.


Wild Ones meeting at the home of Diana OleskevichDiana Oleskevich hosted the yard tours in the Tower Grove area where she and husband Jim live. When they moved into the 100-year-old house 13 years ago, their small urban yard consisted of one tree and turf lawn.

Communal chickens in the yard of Diana OleskevichDiana described how they converted the yard one 4 x 6 foot patch at a time to include a fish pond dug by family members, herb and vegetable gardens, native plants along with non-native perennials, and a chicken coop that is half in their yard and half in the neighbor’s yard.  Six families share the upkeep of the chickens and the eggs.


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