November 2016 monthly gathering highlights

three women and seed packets

From left to right: Ann Early, Prem Barton, and Kathy Bildner at the seed exchange

November 2, 2016
Our annual celebratory potluck dinner and seed exchange was enjoyed by 40 members and eight guests at The Heights Community Center of Richmond Heights. Marsha Gebhardt welcomed all.

Questions for table discussion during dinner were provided. The topic was, My Year with Native Plants and Wildlife.

Discussion starters were:

  • I was surprised
  • I was so happy
  • I want to know how to
  • I wish
  • Next year I want to

Permanent, professional name tags were given to members who volunteer regularly for our events. Members who did not receive one can request a name tag by contacting Fran Glass at fran813@gmail.com

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Deadline to join our group MDC seedling order is Wednesday, Nov. 16

Wild Ones members wrap seedlings to give away at Earth Day

A previous year’s seedling wrapping crew (volunteers)

Members of Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter can participate in our group seedling order through the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), which is offering mainly one-year-old, bare-root seedlings. Ordering with our group provides the opportunity to order less than the minimum number of seedlings per species.

When you review the catalog, note that our WIld Ones group order will be only for the native species, primarily the shrubs and smaller trees.

After deciding which plants to purchase, you can order through the Wild Ones online signup sheet. If you would like seedlings, just enter your name at the top of a column on the Wild Ones order form and the number you want for each seedling.  If you have problems with the spreadsheet, contact Ana Grace, a.grace@sbcglobal.net or 314-962-2816  or Betty Struckhoff,  etstruckhoff@att.net or 314-966-8404 to place your order.

The seedlings are sold for $1 each, to cover the cost of shipping and offset the cost of tree donations our Chapter makes in the spring. Payment is collected when the seedlings are distributed in April, because the nursery is not always able to deliver what we ask for, and adjustments need to be made.

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Now that I have collected my native seeds, what’s next?

By Kathee Morgeson
Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter Member

envelope with plant seed information

My system of knowing what, when, and how for seeds

If you are a novice like me, seeking information to expand your adventures into native plants, the answer seems to be available. Network with people who have the knowledge stored away. I find “plant people” always want to share their experiences. Let’s start simply.

Once you have labeled and stored your seed in a cool, dry place, you can start planning your timetable for planting. You have two basic choices to make. You can use Kathy Bildner posted information about what to do in fall to plant. Or you can plant seeds indoors which includes learning about cold stratification, scarification, and other seed treatments. There are links below to help guide you through the process.

Many Wild Ones members would suggest that you attend the class that Terri Brandt teaches on propagation at the Native Plant School, which is a year-round series of mostly outdoor learning sessions in the Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve. Terri Brandt teaches the class on propagation next February. I highly recommend her class.

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My seed box

seeds in dirt in a box with lid

Kathy’s seed box

[Editor’s note: Subsequent to the November gathering’s seed exchange, we asked for blog post submissions about what to do with those seeds.]

By Kathy Bildner
Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter member

I plant my seeds in this box using 15 square, four-inch plastic flower pots and keep the box in my backyard.

The dirt is from my compost pile. I add a little sand and peat moss to the soil because it gets too hard when it dries out. I put the pots in the box and fill the pots and areas surrounding them with dirt. Each pot has a different set of seeds. They are labeled with pieces of old re-purposed window blinds. I write in pencil because ink disappears by spring. Also, I draw a map of my planting on a piece of paper in case I lose the name tags. I cover the whole thing with a screen. Otherwise, the squirrels dig it up. I never water it unless we have a very dry spring. They do not all germinate each year. I am happy with 75% of the 15 pots producing some germination.

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Even my tiny wafer ash tree provides habitat

Cleared yard area

Newly cleared planting area in the backyard
Photo by Dawn Weber

[Editor’s Note: This story was posted originally on the Bring Conservation Home blog on September 19.]

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

On Sunday, September 18, I spent a few hours planting new trees and shrubs in an area that was previously covered in English ivy, wintercreeper, and bush honeysuckle. One of the trees was a wafer ash (Ptelea trifoliata), planted in hopes of providing habitat for the giant swallowtail butterflies. Wafer ash is one of the host plants for the giant swallowtail. I also planted small prickly ash trees (Zanthoxylum americanum) for the same reason.

When a plant is a butterfly’s host plant, it means that it is a plant (or THE plant, in some cases) that eggs can be laid on, that will provide food for the new caterpillars, which will become butterflies and continue on to repeat the cycle. By planting the host plant, we support the entire life cycle of the butterfly.

The prickly ash trees were planted a couple of years ago, and the overall native garden planted for three years, but I’d never seen a giant swallowtail butterfly.

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Grant given to Museum of Transportation for native plant garden installation

Blue and White sign Pollinator Junction with green grass

The designated area before its makeover into Pollinator Junction

Dear St. Louis Chapter of Wild Ones,

We did it with YOUR help!

A real “Pollinator Pantry” park, Pollinator Junction was born Monday, September 19, 2016 at the perfect place, the Museum of Transportation. How perfect is that? The best, most important transporters on earth will “bee” finding their haven with all the other grand transportation marvels!

Thanks to St. Louis County Parks staff, County Parks volunteers, Master Gardeners and Wild Ones Joan Featherstone, Betty Struckhoff and Tessa Wasserman, the first St. Louis County Pollinator Pantry Park is in the ground! Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter also supported the planting with a $500 donation.

This park is already “working” for pollinators but there is some finish work still to be done. It has an observation walk, and will be used by children as an outdoor classroom and for adult programs as a teaching model for pollinator gardening in cultivated spaces. The sculpture will be installed soon!

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