March 2016 monthly gathering highlights

Chris Kirmaier, Ph.D.

Chris Kirmaier, Ph.D.

March 2, 2016
Thirty-four members and six guests attended our March gathering at The Heights community center of Richmond Heights. President Marsha Gebhardt welcomed all.

“Earth’s Solar Energy Engine” was presented by Chris Kirmaier, Ph.D., a Research Professor of Chemistry at Washington University. The program is a photographic journey of photosynthesis which has been Chris’ major research focus for the last thirty-five years.

Photosynthesis is not just about plants. Almost all living things on earth ultimately depend on photosynthesis for their food and energy resources. Chris said, “Sunlight is captured and stored and used to run the world.” The presentation is an in-depth look at light harvesting in photosynthetic organisms, the primary reactions of photosynthesis, and the electronic structure and photophysical properties of chlorophylls.

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Photography tip #3 – Ready, steady, go!

By Dawn Weber
Board Member-at-Large, St. Louis Wild Ones

Ready Steady Go!In the United States, to kick off a race, we usually use “On your mark, get set, go!” but I have many work colleagues from London that instead say “Ready, steady, go!”, which leads me to the next photo tip in the series.

Sometimes, blurred motion in a photograph is desirable to create a dramatic scene, but usually when I choose a photo to keep or share, I want it to be sharp, with crisp lines, so that I can see the detail. Even the slightest movement of my body, the camera, or the subject can cause the photo to be less than sharp. Sometimes it seems like an insurmountable challenge, but there are several small techniques that help me be steady. This post will focus on body and camera movement.

On a a recent trip to a Florida birding festival, I signed up for an opportunity to see red-cockaded woodpeckers, and the best chance to see them is just after sunrise when they come out of their nest cavities. It was still fairly dark when they made their move.

Where to start?

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Spring 2016 native plant sales

Two people with plants at the Spring Wildflower Market

Spring Wildflower Market at Shaw Nature Reserve

While we hope you’ll come to the St. Louis Wild Ones booth at the Spring Wildflower Market at Shaw Nature Reserve on Friday, May 6 (Garden members only) or Saturday, May 7, here are some other options:

Missouri Wildflowers Nursery (MWN) at Kirkwood Farmers’ Market
When: April 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Where: Kirkwood Farmers’ Market, 150 East Argonne (Google Map)
MWN will have a collection of their wonderful Missouri natives.
Pre-Order by Wednesday from their catalog, and they will bring your order to the market on Friday for you to pick up, April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Spring Fling weekends at the Butterfly House
When: Weekends in April – 2/3, 9/10, 16/17, and 23/24  10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Where: Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House, 15193 Olive Blvd, Chesterfield, MO 63017 (Google map)
More than 30 species of native plants will be available.
Note: The plant sale is only accessible with admission. Your Missouri Botanical Garden membership may include general admission to the Butterfly House.

Olivette in Bloom Plant Sale
When: Saturday April 23, starts at 9:30 a.m. until sold out
Where: Stacy Park Pavilion, Old Bonhomme Rd. just south of Olive (Google map)
Plants supplied by Missouri Wildflowers Nursery.
“Last year, we sold over 500 plants in 1 hour! So be sure to come on time!”

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Reflections on Native By Design: Landscapes Beyond Beauty

By Dawn Weber
Board Member-at-Large, St. Louis Wild Ones

The Grow Native! Southwestern Illinois Event Committee presented a great lineup of speakers for the Native by Design: Landscapes Beyond Beauty workshop in Edwardsville, IL on February 26. The presentations focused on frontline concepts surrounding the value of native plants in our landscapes.

I arrived early and the registration area was already crowded, which was a great sign that the attendees were excited to be there!

300 plus attendees, a sellout crowd

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Exploding native-plant interest at Sugar Creek Gardens plus events

By Marcia Myers
Blog Editor, St. Louis Wild Ones

Abby Elliott, the owner of Sugar Creek Gardens

Abby Elliott in front of tables designated for native plants

Barely three years ago, most customers at Sugar Creek Gardens were not looking for native plants. Fast forward to this year when Abby Elliott, the owner, plans to increase the tables for native plants: seven tables just for sun-loving, four tables for shade-loving including woodland, and a expanded shrub section.

Abby noticed the trend last year. “It’s just exploding,” she said. “I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon. If anything it’s going to become more popular.” Abby thinks the city programs and the monarch situation are adding to the trend.

What do customers want?

Customers are looking for plants to build habitat for birds and butterflies, especially hummingbirds and monarchs.

In addition, rain gardens are super popular, especially if the customer has a wet spot. These areas are low maintenance and provide water run-off control to reduce flooding and conserve water, which then helps the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District.

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Project Pollinator kickoff event March 15

Project Pollinator logoThe new campaign announcement for Project Pollinator is not a typical tabling event, but the Wild Ones banner will be displayed, and we will have information available to spread the word about our organization’s mission.

Members of our St. Louis Wild Ones chapter, Bob Siemer, Ann Earley, and Betty Struckhoff participate on the Advisory Council for this project.

About this initiative from the website, “The Butterfly House is joining with St. Louis County Parks and Libraries to be a part of the national movement to protect pollinators and their habitats through a newly-launched initiative, Project Pollinator.

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Special Edition – Honeysuckle Sweep update

Bill Hoss with a chainsaw and bush honeysuckle

Bill Hoss with bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera)

As you can see from the photographs, bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera) is thick and gnarly. Those characteristics along with being an aggressive plant are why it takes an army of volunteers to make a dent in the huge invasive population of this plant.

Some St. Louis Wild Ones members are attending events this week during the Honeysuckle Sweep for Healthy Habitat to help make that dent.

Members Marsha Gebhardt, president, Penny Holtzmann, treasurer, and Bill Hoss went to Deer Creek Park in Webster Groves on Saturday, March 5. Penny said she had a fun day doing away with the honeysuckle.

There’s still time to get involved.
For remaining events and to register:
Missouri Botanical Garden (MoBot)

Blog post about Honeysuckle Sweep for Healthy Habitat

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Native Plant School newsletter – March 2016

Native Plant School logoThe March edition of The News from Native Plant School contains topics on:

    • Augusta Bottoms Consort who will be playing on the members-only day at Shaw Wildflower Market, which is Friday, May 6
    • A Winter Visitor by Ana Grace Schactman
    • Landscaping Classes by Dave Tylka
    • Monarch Numbers Improve this Winter, bar chart
    • Honeysuckle Sweep by Besa Schweitzer, March 5 – 13
    • Meaningful Gardening: Tricks of the Trade to Bring Life to Your Garden
    • Bumble Bees
    • Cup Plant’s Overwintering Residents by Cori Westcott
    • Seen in the Greenhouse
    • Gardening Tips
    • Upcoming Class:
      • Gardening with Native Groundcovers, Thursday, April 14
    • New Seed Class:
      • Collecting and Conserving Seeds of Native Plants, Friday, April 1, 10:00 a.m. – noon

Download the PDF.

To sign up for the newsletter, e-mail Besa Schweitzer (

Betty Struckhoff speaking at Grow Native! workshop May 14 in Arcadia

jack-in-the-pulpit Arisaema triphyllum

Amazing jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) in Betty Struckhoff’s yard

Active member Betty Struckhoff will be a speaker for the Grow Native! Living Landscapes Workshop: Native Plants Get Us Back to Our Roots. Her talk will be, “Enliven Landscapes by providing food and shelter with beautiful natives”.

Betty received platinum status from St. Louis Audubon Society’s Bring Conservation Home program. She wrote, “Opportunities wasted and opportunities seized” about that experience.

Speaker bio: Betty Struckhoff is a native Missourian and an active member of Wild Ones Natural Landscapers. She has helped create native landscapes in local parks, private gardens, and other public spaces. A Master Gardener since 1999, she is a winner of the St Louis Post Dispatch “Best Native Garden” contest. Betty volunteers with the Master Gardeners Speakers’ Bureau, St. Louis County Parks, and St. Louis Audubon’s Bring Conservation Home program.  She is currently serving on the Master Gardeners Advisory Committee.

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