2017 April monthly gathering highlights

woman talking with people sitting and standing

Marsha Gebhardt (far left) speaking at the April gathering

April 8 and 12, 2017
Susan and Fred Burk hosted two April yard tour gatherings. They and Marsha Gebhardt welcomed 25 members and one guest on Saturday, April 8 and 27 members and five guests on Wednesday evening April 12.

Susan and Fred moved into their small Kirkwood home in 1970, a two-bedroom bungalow. As their family expanded, they added a second floor and a front porch to the home.

In recent years, Susan had a St. Louis Audubon Bring Conservation Home yard assessment. This gave her the idea to plant wildflowers under the large front yard canopy tree. The results are stunning. On our April tour, we saw very healthy patches of woodland wildflower species of Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium reptans), bluebells (Mertensia virginica), roundleaf groundsel (Packera obovata), barren strawberries (Geum fragariodes), sedges (Carex sp), and shrubby St. John’s wort (Hypericum prolificum).

Flowers under a tree

Under the canopy tree

Coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) adorns a trellis against the porch.

The Burks and their neighbor received a grant from the Deer Creek Watershed Alliance for a wet area between their two homes. She and Fred applied eight layers of newspaper to the area and topped the papers with compost. Then they were able to plant numerous rain-garden species.

After Fred built an attractive split rail fence near the property line, Susan planted short sun-loving species on both sides.

Susan’s latest front-yard bed is planted with a black gum tree (Nyssa sylvatica), an eastern wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus), and a few forbs.

The backyard contains two native gardens, a vegetable garden, and honey bees. Fred uses vermicomposting.

Plants growing in stacked rows

Indoor growing station

Susan collects native plant seeds and starts numerous plants from seeds. Last year in August, she and Fred released 35 monarch butterflies from eggs laid on their marsh milkweed (Asclepias incarnata).

Update: As of April 19, Susan and Fred have 50 or more baby monarch caterpillars and would like to share with anyone who has milkweed in their yard and who would like to adopt and raise a few monarchs. The Burks are overwhelmed and don’t think they have enough milkweed to feed their growing family.  Anyone interested can email Susan at fred.burk@att.net to meet somewhere or go to the Burk home. Just bring a small plastic container with a lid. Also, adopted parents can have naming rights!

Plant Give-aways
Susan Burk offered seedlings of several species that she started from seed. A few other members brought seedlings or transplants from their yards.

Volunteer Opportunities
Our Chapter is intensifying our outreach by participating in more tabling events and activities. We recently hosted an activity table at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Meet Me Outdoors in St. Louis two-day event.

rocks and flower landscaping

More of the Burk’s landscaping

Our upcoming events are:

Online sign-up for members who want to volunteer is available through our website’s new volunteer management feature on our Dig In! website page.

Spring Wildflower Market at Shaw Nature Reserve
Susan Burk asked members to collect strawberry boxes and/or tomato boxes from their local grocery stores. We will need approximately 150 to give to customers to carry their plant purchase from our booth. She asked that people let her know if they are able to collect boxes, and/or if they are able to transport some boxes to the Market on Friday, May 12. (Update May 11th from Dawn – we have all of the boxes we need – thank you!)

Contact Susan at Fred.burk@att.net or by calling (314) 821-7062.

Program Committee
Susan Orr and Prem Barton asked members to consider hosting a yard tour in 2018. Those interested may contact Susan through our website’s contact page. Also contact Susan if you have ideas of public spaces to tour in 2018.

two women and one man talking

Susan Burk talking with James Faupel and Marsha after the gathering

Sue Leahy, our Publicity/Marketing Chair, told new members about our yard signs, which are available to purchase for members-only. The new signs state “Native Missouri Landscape for the Benefit of Wildlife and People” with the monarch graphic that is printed on the popular t-shirts. The signs are 9 x 12 inches and made of Max Metal (aluminum-coated plastic), mounted on a post and ready to put in place.

These beautiful and educational signs are available for members to purchase for $22.00. Contact Sue at sleahy@sbcglobal.net.

Sue requested that if any members know of locations where our rack cards may be displayed, please contact her.

Next Gathering
On Wednesday, May 3 at 6:00 p.m., we will tour the yard at the home of Dale Dufer and Jean Ponzi. This is a members-only event. Address will be sent by email to members. Carpooling is encouraged. Please bring a lawn chair. [Note: This event was rained out on May 3 and held on Saturday, May 6.]

Recorded by: Fran Glass, Secretary