2017 June monthly gathering highlights

Man standing in front of a group of people

James Faupel leading the Wednesday night gathering

June 7 and 10, 2017
Besa Schweitzer and Chris Weiss hosted two June yard-tour gatherings. They welcomed 43 members and four guests on Wednesday evening June 7, and 14 members and two guests on Saturday June 10. Chapter announcements were made by James Faupel and Fran Glass respectively at the Wednesday and Saturday gatherings.

A woman and a man talking

Besa Schweitzer and Chris Weiss

Besa and Chris purchased their current home six years ago. During the first year, they rehabbed the house’s electricity, plumbing, and the walls after adding insulation of two-inch foam panels.

Stormwater management was a major factor in their backyard landscaping decisions. The street lacks storm sewers and curbs so when Besa and Chris moved in, water rushed down their long gravel hill from the street to the garage at the back of their property. They built a swale in the yard to slow rain water that runs in from the street and allows the water to infiltrate.

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Registration open for 2017 St. Louis Native Plant Garden Tour on September 16

St. Louis Native Plant Garden Tour sign and plants

Mark O’Bryan’s yard from the 2016 Tour

Once again, we are partnering with the St. Louis Audubon Society to present the third annual St. Louis Native Plant Garden Tour on Saturday, September 16, 2017.

This self-guided tour of residential gardens in St. Louis focuses on West county locations this year, highlighting fall blooming plants.
See examples of:
— Sun and shade gardening
— Wet sites and dry sites
— Bird and butterfly friendly gardens

We hope the Tour will inspire you with landscaping ideas on how to use native plants for improving your outdoor environment for the benefit of yourself, others, and the bees, birds, butterflies, and other wildlife that will be attracted to your yard.

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2017 May monthly gathering highlights

May 6, 2017
Wooded pathForty-one members attended our May yard-tour gathering hosted by Dale Dufer and Jean Ponzi. Marsha Gebhardt presided.

Dale and Jean moved into their home in 1994. At that time the yard was full of invasive trees including tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), bush honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii), and storm damaged trees. Over the years they have removed the invasive species. However maintenance is ongoing because tree-of-heaven is a prolific seeder and seeds continue to germinate long after the tree is removed.

To create a sanctuary for nature, Dale and Jean replaced the invasive species with several species of native trees, shrubs, and forbs including:

  • Gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa)
  • Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)
  • Basswood (Tilia americana)
  • Viburnum (Viburnum sp)
  • Service berry (Amelanchier arborea)
  • Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
  • Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
  • Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum)

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What’s blooming in Penny’s yard? Canada anemone

Blog and Photos By Penny Holtzmann
Board Member and Treasurer, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

White flower

Canada anemone (Anemone canadensis) up close

Plant name:
Canada anemone (Anemone Canadensis)

Description:
This plant provides a nice ground cover up to 12-inches tall with interesting leaf shape and sweet little white flowers in May and June. Flowers are one to one-and-a-half inches across, with five white petal-like sepals and numerous yellow-tipped stamens. 

Why I chose this plant:
About 15 years ago my sister shared some of these plants with me and I have enjoyed them very much. It is related to Thimbleweed (Anemone virginiana), a taller plant with smaller off-white flowers which give way to a thimble-shaped seed head.

Visitors:
From an article on Houzz.com titled, Great Design Plant: Anemone Canadensis Adds Pizzazz to Water’s Edges by Heather Holm:

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See Wild Ones in action on the June 11 Sustainable Backyard Tour

By Dawn Weber
Member-at-Large, Plant Sale Chairperson, and
Chairperson, Technology Committee, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

The 7th Annual Sustainable Backyard Tour is a grassroots, all-volunteer event showcasing yards and gardens throughout St. Louis that demonstrate features of sustainability and organic gardening. The tour will take place on June 11, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m, rain or shine. 

More than 40 hosts will welcome tour-goers this year to see the many ways to live more sustainably in our own backyards.  

Included in those hosts are five Wild Ones members:

  • Scott George
  • Chandan Mahanta 
  • Kevin King 
  • Dawn Weber 
  • Besa Schweitzer 
  • Sue Leahy 

Note: If you are hosting and we’ve missed you on the list, please let us know, and we’ll add your name and location number. 

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What’s happening in Betty’s yard?

Blog and photos by Betty Struckhoff (May 24)
Member and former Board member, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter
Master Gardener

green leaves on ground

Blood root (Sanguinaria canadensis)

Native gardens are not zero maintenance. But the time spent tending them really doesn’t count as work. There is so much to discover.

There are a few blemishes on my shady, moist, mostly-native backyard – three stands of non-native Pachysandra terminalis. Though not considered invasive, it forms a very thick carpet, with fibrous roots tangled in the top three or four inches of soil. It doesn’t spread by seed but still takes up space that can be put to better use.

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a growing place… (monarch adoption)

By Marypat Ehlmann
Member-at-Large and Volunteer Coordinator, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

Boy with magnifying glass looking at caterpillars

Examining the monarch caterpillars

In early/mid-April the St. Louis region received our first wave of monarchs migrating north. This was unexpected and about 4-6 weeks before most milkweed in neighborhood yards was tall enough to support feeding a brood of very hungry caterpillars.

As usual the female monarch butterflies laid eggs on as many various native milkweed varieties as they could find (some small plants in ground and some fuller plants in garden centers).

On April 14, at A Growing Place Montessori School, my classroom gained two milkweed plants both with eggs aboard. Then as a plea was heard to help with the monarch baby boom, our classroom adopted 15 of the tiny striped larvae, now totaling 19 caterpillars, to feed, clean up after, and eagerly observe.

Just as described in How to Raise Monarch Butterflies: A Step-by-Step Guide for Kids by Carol Pasternak, for the next two weeks larva ate milkweed leaves, pooped (called frass), rested, outgrew one skin for a larger size, and then ate some more. Thanks to several friends and neighbors, milkweed leaves were harvested, served fresh, and quickly eaten by the brood. Did I mention in this hectic time, three more caterpillars hatched?

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