Upcoming learning opportunities

By Betty Struckhoff

Pagoda Dogwood BerriesHow lucky we are to live in the St. Louis area!  Here are some of the opportunities in the next six weeks to learn and experience more of the beauty of native landscaping.

June 4, 1 p.m. – Landscaping with Native Trees and Shrubs
Sunset Hills community center, 3939 S. Lindbergh, Sunset Hills, MO 63127
Presented by Betty Struckhoff. Free and open to the public. Read more.

June 6St. Louis Urban Gardening Symposium
Brightside St. Louis’ Demonstration Garden
Here are the topics to choose from:
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May meeting minutes

PROGRAM

Wild Ones members touring the yard at the March 2015 meeting

Click for a larger image

Betty Struchoff’s yard is certified Platinum by St. Louis Audubon’s Bring Conservation Home program. Eight guests joined 28 members for a yard tour, after which Betty related the history of the property that she and her husband purchased in 1983.

Due to the topography of the back yard and the existence of a natural spring, Betty has transformed the site from a soggy lawn to a lovely dry creek bed surrounded by numerous species of native perennials, shrubs and trees. During the last two years, they have added several features to attract more birds: additional shrubs, a bird bubbler and an owl house . The front and side yards are also planted in natives.

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First St. Louis Native Plant Garden Tour

We hope you’ll join us for the first St. Louis Native Plant Garden Tour:

Date: Saturday, June 20, 2015
Time: 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Cost: $20

Registration for this year’s event is closed. Stay tuned for information about next year’s tour.

Monarch butterfly sipping nectar from a New England Aster.

Monarch butterfly sipping nectar from a New England Aster.

Native milkweeds feed monarch caterpillars, whose populations are plummeting. Coneflowers furnish feeding platforms for tiger swallowtail butterflies and provide seeds to goldfinch. Ruby-throated hummingbirds love to visit native cardinal flowers and red buckeye trees for nectar. Native plants produce a wide variety of ecological services for native wildlife, improve the health of neighborhoods by not requiring toxins for maintenance, and help sustain our planet.

How native landscaping compares with traditional lawns
However, for years, traditional landscaping has focused on planting non-native hostas, day lilies, and boxwoods that look nice, but furnish food only to deer and slugs. All Midwestern songbirds feed their young insects, especially butterfly caterpillars. A pair of nesting chickadees need to feed their offspring between 6,240 and 9,120 caterpillars to successfully raise their young. No American butterfly caterpillars feed on hostas, day lilies or tulips. Over 100 different species of caterpillars feed on native goldenrods, asters, dogwoods and viburnums. Our native oak trees support a whopping 518 different species of native caterpillars!

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Dogtown Ecovillage planting update

Dogtown Ecovillage, spring 2015Our thanks again to St. Louis Wild Ones and the Richmond Heights Garden Club (RHGC) for the grant last year to plant a “pocket prairie” garden in downtown Dogtown. We just had a work day, and I thought you’d like to see how well the plants have taken hold.

The planter also has a lot of little seedlings coming up–mostly liatris, poppy mallow, wild quinine, golden alexander. We are hoping to spread them around the neighborhood, but if anyone from your groups would like any, please leave a comment below.

Kate Lovelady
for the Dogtown Ecovillage group