Using native plants in container gardens

Blog and photos by Kathy Bildner
Member, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

Green cactus with pink fruit

Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia macrorhiza) fruit

I started container gardens in my yard as an experiment because I have native plants in my yard that keep getting lost. The plants that get lost are short in height or short in duration.

It is an ongoing experiment. It is not problem-free. Some plants did not survive the winter elevated off the ground in a pot where it is colder. Containers dry out quicker. Pots are easily found by squirrels who think they are places to hide acorns and walnuts.

The plants listed below are what I have tried that are working:

  • Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia macrorhiza)
  • Missouri evening primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa)
  • Fame flower (Talinum calycinum)
  • Spotted St. John’s wort (Hypericum punctatum)
  • Sticky weed (Cuphea viscosissma)
  • Sand phlox (Phlox bifida)
  • Wild pink (Silene caroliniana)

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Upcoming Events – July, August, and September 2016

List compiled by Dawn Weber
Member-at-Large, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

Summer is here, and local native plant and pollinator events are in full swing! There are plenty of opportunities for learning something new, seeing something through fresh eyes, or supporting our mission within the community.

Here’s a rundown of activities that may be of interest. Be sure to see the sponsoring organizations’ links for more information including meeting location. Most of these programs are free and open to the public.

St. Louis Community College at Meramec stlcc
Watch for the fall continuing education schedule to be posted around July 25, 2016. The Nature and Gardening and Horticulture sections have classes of interest to our members.

Wildflower Walk: Hidden Creek Savanna
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
5:00 – 6:30 p.m.

Forest_Park_Forever_logoJoin Forest Park Forever staff for informal, fun, and educational plant walks that will explore the many native wildflowers found within Forest Park’s nature reserves. More than 500 native plant species occur within their nature reserves, and they are discovering more every year.

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Pollinating the World from Your Backyard – Register by Friday, July 22

Event: Pollinating the World from Your Backyard
When: Saturday, July 23, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Where: University of Missouri Extension, St. Louis County Office, 132 E. Monroe Ave. Kirkwood, MO 63122
Cost: $20.00
Registration: Please pre-register by noon on Friday, July 22, 2016 [Dawn’s note: Although the website says by Friday, they said they will continue to accept registrations until noon.]

Pollinators HeaderJoin horticulturist Lisa Williams of The Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House (a butterfly zoo operated by the Missouri Botanical Garden) as she talks about the new Project Pollinator that was successfully launched at the Butterfly House in Faust Park on March 15, 2016.

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Upcoming summer 2016 Tupelo Chapter events

By Ruth Kelley
Acting President, Wild Ones – Tupelo Chapter

Map of 200 S Illinois Ave

Location of Carbondale Civic Center
Map data ©2016 Google

Saturday, July 30, 2016 at 1:00 p.m.
Carbondale Civic Center
200 South Illinois Avenue
Carbondale, IL 62901

By the end of July, people should be sick of mowing their lawns and ready to explore Alternatives to Lawns: How to Get the Most from Your Yard. There will be presentations by area experts and informative displays, followed by tours of yards in the area that have been transformed to de-emphasize the lawn component. Registration is $10. Check the Keep Carbondale Beautiful website for more information or call (618) 525-5525. Map and directions

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Nearly 300 attend 2016 Native Plant Garden Tour

By Mitch Leachman
Coordinator, Bring Conservation Home
Executive Director, St. Louis Audubon Society

Four women with St. Louis Native Plant Garden Tour Sign

Homeowner Harriet Blickenstaff (3rd from left) and friends

On June 18, St. Louis Audubon’s Bring Conservation Home program and the Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter teamed up for the second year to deliver the St. Louis Native Plant Garden Tour. Two hundred and eighty people registered for the self-guided tour of residential gardens in Clayton, Ladue, Olivette, and University City.

By all accounts, it was a success. The comments heard by the tour hosts, our volunteers, and the event committee on tour day were all very encouraging, and 73% of respondents to an online feedback survey stated they were extremely satisfied with their experience!

Thanks SO much to everyone that made the Tour possible, including our sponsors, organization partners that helped spread the word, all the volunteers that assisted with the Tour itself, and of course the event planning committee! Thanks especially to the tour hosts for opening their home landscapes to us, welcoming everyone, and providing inspiration and education to all of us!

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Rain during a butterfly ID workshop? No problem!

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

warsaw_mapOn May 23-25, 2016, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) hosted a Butterfly and Skipper ID workshop in Warsaw, MO. Warsaw, in case you’ve not heard of it, is located south of Sedalia near Truman Lake, on the western side of the state. Because the workshop was almost three hours from St. Louis, I wasn’t sure who would attend or if I would know anyone. I was very happy when I walked through the door and saw Bob Siemer and Ann Earley also attending!

More exciting than that, I met several people who, up until that point, I’d only known “electronically”, via various Facebook groups, even some folks from Audubon Arkansas. Also, there were attendees from MDC, Forest Park Forever, the Butterfly House, Missouri Prairie Foundation, and several Missouri Master Naturalists chapters.

The workshop leader was Jim Wiker, a research associate of the Illinois State Museum and an affiliate of the Illinois Natural History Survey. He is a well-known Illinois lepidopterist (a person who studies or collects butterflies and moths), senior author on the definitive guide to the sphinx moths of Illinois, and an author of another book on the skipper butterflies of Illinois.

The registration for this workshop opened in December of 2015 and filled up quickly.

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Partners for Native Landscaping – A beginner’s perspective – Part 2

Photos and blog by Marcia K. Myers
Blog Editor, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

Four men and one woman sitting panel discussion

Panel discussion participants from left to right: Scott Woodbury, Perry Eckhardt, Dave Tylka, Glenda Abney, and Simon Barker

After a morning filled with useful information on how to get started landscaping with native plants and why it’s important, we returned after lunch to try and absorb even more ideas.

Glenda Abney, Director, EathWays Center at Missouri Botanical Garden, spoke about Rainscaping with Native Plants.

What is rainscaping? From the Missouri Botanical Garden’s website (which also includes information on designing and building a rain garden), “Rainscaping is any combination of plantings, water features, catch basins, permeable pavement and other activities that manage stormwater as close as possible to where it falls, rather than moving it someplace else.”

Research and planning are the important first steps.

  • Is there standing water?
  • Do you see any erosion?
  • What types of features do you want?
  • How much space do you have?
  • Will you be able to maintain your design?
  • Does the soil support the plan?

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The News from Native Plant School newsletter – July 2016

Native Plant School logoThe July edition of The News from Native Plant School has been published.


  • A Big Year for Prairie Forbs by Scott Woodbury
  • Little Known Monarch Facts by Joyce Oberle
  • Listen for Baby Bird Chatter by Scott Woodbury
  • Inviting Pollinators to the Garden by Besa Schweitzer


  • One Wild Ones Member Inspires Her Community
  • Hillermann Receives Award
  • Missourians for Monarchs by Bob Lee
  • Gardening Tips
  • Book Review by Carol Boshart

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