July meeting minutes

PROGRAM

Fran Glass hosted two yard tours at her Crestwood home:  Wednesday evening July 2 and Saturday morning July 12. Her yard is Platinum Certified though St. Louis Audubon’s Bring Conservation Home program. A total of 70 members and guests attended. Betty Struckhoff conducted the meeting on July 2, Ed Schmidt on July 12. Several guests were welcomed and introduced themselves to the group.

Generous members donated two species of plants as giveaways.

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Opportunities to get native plants this fall

Native plants ready for plantingMany gardeners focus on planting in the spring, and there are lots of opportunities to buy plants. Fall is a great time to plant too, but finding plants often isn’t as easy. If you’re looking to do more gardening this fall, here are some opportunities.

Shaw Wildflower Market – Friday, Sept. 5th, 4:00-7:30 PM at Shaw Nature Reserve
Shop for locally-produced native plants, food and crafts. Also, experts will answer your native gardening questions.
Admission: Adults $5; Seniors $3; MBG/SNR Members Free
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Native plant swap and sale – Saturdays, Sept. 27 & Oct. 18, 9 AM – 3 PM, Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood
Bring plants to trade, or buy plants from local retailers. Only Missouri native plants, please! See the Grow Native! website for an excellent list of natives.
Sep 27th retail sales by Forrest Keeling Nursery
Oct 18th retail sales by Ozark Berry Farm
View the flyer

Hummingbirds

By Kathy Bildner

Over the last month we have been watching as she sat on the nest, hatched out two babies and raised them.

The last one left this weekend.

Click any image for a larger version.

Rainwater harvesting talk and workshops

By Susan Lanigan

Residential raingardenYou’ve probably heard about the importance of keeping rainwater on your property to reduce stormwater runoff and minimize your dependence on irrigation, but how do you actually do that? EarthDance Farm is offering three opportunities to learn rainwater harvesting techniques from Jeff Adams, founder of Terrasophia.

  • Wednesday, August 27th, 6:00-8:00 pm. “Introduction to Rain Water Harvesting” talk at the EarthWays Center of the Missouri Botanical Garden. Free, but registration is required.
  • Thursday, August 28th, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. “Designing Rainwater Harvesting Landscapes” workshop at EarthDance Farm. Cost: $45; register online.
  • Saturday, August 30th, 9:30 am – 4:00 pm. “Practical Rain Gardens – Hands-on Demonstration Project” at EarthDance Farm. Cost: $35; register online.

You can also register for both workshops at a discount. Read more details.

Book review: “The Living Landscape” by Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy

By Margy Terpstra 

I first found out about this new book from a link on Doug Tallamy’s website. Doug was interviewed in his home garden by Kim Eierman, founder of EcoBeneficial!

Doug describes the book near the end of the interview as, “Two-thirds Rick’s book, one-third mine. I like to talk about it as Rick’s book that I helped with.”

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Home with native yard for sale

By Bill and Linda Bennett

Homeowners who are selling their home, including  a yard with lots of native plantsWe got interested in the virtues of native plants after hearing Scott Woodbury give a short talk at a gardening workshop at Meramec Community College many years ago, and began planting shortly after that. We have no idea how many species we’ve accumulated over the years, but we have plants that enjoy a variety of conditions — from sunny and wet or dry in the front yard, to shady and wet or dry in the backyard.

Multitudes of different kinds of bees, wasps, and birds enjoy the pollen and seeds from the plants, shrubs and trees. We enjoy the first trilliums and May apples in the spring to the diversity of asters in the fall. Every season brings new colors, sizes and textures of flowers.

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Pipevine caterpillar update

Pipevine swallowtail butterfly larva on a leaf

Photo by Megan McCarty from Wikipedia

By Peggy Whetzel

Things have changed in the aquariums overnight. Rather suddenly, the pipevine quit vanishing so quickly and several chrysalises have formed, so there’s less pressure to provide food. It’s becoming a “pupation station” instead. I’d heard the caterpillars would eat for five weeks, but these finished in about half that time.

I’m planning to release at least a few of the end-stage caterpillars that have stopped eating and seem to be looking for a place to pupate. I have some good protected sites in the yard.

I’m going to be focusing on the caterpillars and chrysalises this evening, so I won’t make it to the meeting after all. If you’d like to pick up a caterpillar or chrysalis, please contact me:

Peggy Whetzel
pfwhetzel@gmail.com
636-373-4179 (Texts only. My phone pretends it doesn’t know who I am and won’t give me my messages or even tell me who called.)

Got Dutchman’s pipevine?

Pipevine leaves and flower

Pipevine leaves and flower

If you have some Aristolochia macrophylla in your yard, I’m hoping you might want to share some tendrils with the pipevine swallowtail caterpillars that are rapidly depleting my plants.

Actually, I am rapidly depleting my pipevine plants to feed about 45 caterpillars. They were rescued as tiny orange eggs or hatchlings from baby praying mantises, spiders and wasps and put into aquariums. Left on the vines growing in the yard, the cats would vanish long before they grew big enough to pupate. And now they are hungry, chomping through leaves and stems, shedding their old skins and getting bigger. The bigger they get, the more they eat!

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Missouri Prairies and Native Plants: The Science of Our Natural Landscape 

Coyne Prairie

Coyne Prairie – photo by Frank Oberle

St. Louis was once the home of tall grass prairies, stands of grasses that often grew as tall as a man, or even taller. The grasses – especially big bluestem, little bluestem, Indian grass and switchgrass – are still common. Tall grass prairies are a unique and complex ecosystem that protects the environment by providing rich soil, assisting healthy crops to thrive and providing thousands of products to our communities. Prairie grasses are hardy plants. They tolerate drought and heat; they also have deep roots that store carbon, and copious leaves that can be used for biofuels.

The prairie grasses are close relatives of the crops corn and sorghum; whatever we learn about one will apply to the others. Restoring prairies is a high priority at the Shaw Nature Reserve and on the new site at the Danforth Center.

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Build a rain barrel stand, or bid on this one

A rain barrel on a stand increases the water flow

Rain barrel and stand on my garage.

By Ed Schmidt

A rain barrel stand raises the faucets on your rain barrel to a convenient height and increases the water pressure by raising the water to a higher level. A barrel of water weighs over 400 pound, so strength is important.

I have built four of them from recycled lumber. Most recently, I had some 2×10 rough-sawed cedar that were the floor joists of a deck that needed replacing. The only materials I needed to purchase were ¼-inch bolts to tie it all together.

Here’s how to build your own:

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