What’s blooming in Dawn’s yard? American witch hazel

Blog post by Dawn Weber
Board Member-at-Large, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

Photos by Dawn Weber and Kathy Bildner 

Close-up of witch hazel bloomPlant name:
American or common witch hazel (Hamamlis virginiana)

Description
Witch hazel grows as a multi-stemmed shrub or a small tree, as large as 15-20 feet high and wide. 

It will flower best in sunnier spots, but can tolerate a fair amount of shade. Witch hazel grows best in moist, acidic, rich soil but ​tolerates average soil moisture, clay soil, and even poor drainage.

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The process of getting native plants in a traffic roundabout – Part II

By Chan Mahanta

  • Member, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter
  • Resident of the Old Jamestown area of North St. Louis County of which the roundabout project is a part
  • Member of the St. Louis County Transportation Commission
  • Past president of Old Jamestown Association

Continued from Part I: Native Plants in the Old Halls Ferry Road and Vaile Traffic Roundabout, North St. Louis County

Design of native plants for roundabout

Chan’s design

At the time the project had been awarded and I was not pressing the issue any further, I was also the President of Old Jamestown Association. In that role, I met with our Councilman Mike O’Mara, from time to time, to discuss matters of interest. In such a meeting, shortly after my failure to get the native plants program for the traffic circle going, I informed him of my activities at the County Transportation Commission and mentioned to him about my failed effort. The Councilman was very supportive of the initiative.

In the meantime, there was a turnover of the County Administration with a new Director of Transportation. Our Councilman spoke to the new Director to see if he could do anything to revive my effort of incorporating native plants in the traffic circle. There was good news. The Transportation Department decided to incorporate my sketch of native planting design into the work. And on my part, I volunteered to look after the plants in the project personally, until they became established.

The work was completed in the fall of 2015. In the spring of 2016, I found that there was a massive growth of weeds of various kinds. I pulled a ton of them and had to return three times to keep them at bay. The physical work was a whole lot more than I anticipated.

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The process of getting native plants in a traffic roundabout – Part I

By Chan Mahanta

  • Member, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter
  • Resident of the Old Jamestown area of North St. Louis County of which the roundabout project is a part
  • Member of the St. Louis County Transportation Commission
  • Past president of Old Jamestown Association
Overhead view of native plants in traffic roundabout

Traffic roundabout with native plants, August 2017
Photo by Chan’s drone

Native Plants in the Old Halls Ferry Road and Vaile Traffic Roundabout, North St. Louis County

In 2014, I was appointed to the St. Louis County Transportation Commission to represent our ward of North St. Louis County. During the vetting process, someone forwarded to the County authorities a blog post called NoCo Gardens about our Tall Grass Prairie and Native Plants garden/environment. [Editor’s note: That blog post no longer exists.] Thus during the interview, the native plants subject came up.

I expressed the desire to the Director of Transportation to see if I may be able to interest them in taking up native plants in their highway landscaping projects. I was told that the department did attempt to take that up for landscaping vacant lots created by demolition of derelict structure in certain neighborhoods. But the effort ran into opposition from neighbors for reasons such as: Looked scraggly and unkempt, grew too big, and became a security threat, etc.

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Sherri’s photos – National Museum of Transportation gathering

Editor’s Note: Our October gathering was at the National Museum of Transportation on October 7, 2017. You can read the 2017 October gathering highlights blog post on our website. Sherri DeRousse sent some photos of the location and tours that day. You can view these photos in the gallery below.

Mary Ann Fink, LIFE Exhibit Curator of Pollinator Junction, was the guide at the The National Museum of Transportation pollinator garden. April Anderson, the museum’s volunteer coordinator, gave attendees a tour of two other native plant gardens. The large hillside garden was designed by the late Cindy Gilberg.

2017 Landscape Challenge planting day

By James Faupel
Vice-President and Chairperson Landscape Challenge
Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

Gardeners showing their dirty hands

The traditional “dirty hands” photo
Photo by Sherri DeRousse

The Landscape Challenge planting day on September 23 was a big success! Twenty volunteers showed up, making short work of the planting process. 

Rob May, our new designer, and myself laid out the perennials for planting, and gave a brief demonstration on how they should be planted. Rob also answered questions about his design.

This year’s winner and homeowner, Marlene Becker, answered questions about her yard and its preparation for the planting.

The actual planting time only took about 40 minutes once digging began.

This year’s plants came from Missouri Wildflowers Nursery and Forest Keeling Nursery. It was a completely perennial garden design.

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Forest ReLeaf offering trees for a reasonable donation and a tour on Sat. Oct. 14

Blog post and photos by Tessa Wasserman
Member, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

Plant nursery with trees and shrubs

Forest ReLeaf expanding offerings of trees and shrubs

If you haven’t been out to Forest ReLeaf of Missouri’s CommuniTree Gardens Nursery in Maryland Heights for volunteering, a tour, or to pick up free trees for a non-profit planting project then I highly recommend visiting this hidden gem.

You will have a chance to visit Forest ReLeaf this Saturday, October 14, from 9:00 a.m. to noon with the tour beginning at 10:00 a.m.. There will be a free tour and a chance to purchase native trees and shrubs for a very reasonable donation. List of Forest ReLeaf trees and shrubs still available

Directions to Forest ReLeaf

Forest ReLeaf was established as a charitable non-profit nursery in 1993. Since its incorporation, close to 200,000 trees have been given away to communities in need of more canopy or beautification. 

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What’s blooming in Betty’s yard? Obedient plant

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

[Editor’s Note: To give you a more accurate idea of blooming time, Betty submitted this blog post with photos on September 8.]

Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana)

Plant name:
Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana)
(also called false dragonhead)

Description:
Fair warning – This plant spreads profusely by seed, although the seedlings are easy to yank.

Obedient plant grows 3 to 5 feet tall, likes moist spaces, and blooms August to September.

The blooms tend to be a dark pink in sun and can shade to almost white in part shade.  (There is a cultivar that is pure white.)

Why I chose this plant:
I fell in love with obedient plant when I saw drifts in the Savanna planting on the west side of Forest Park, behind the Art Museum.

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How to receive grant money for your community or school native plant garden project

By Kathy Bildner
Member, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

Garden plan

Ethical Society garden plan

Wild Ones 2017 Grants
No matter what size or shape the garden project, Wild Ones of St. Louis is there to help with grant money.  We help pay for the native plants or seeds that will make the garden a wildlife haven for birds and insects. We help one garden at a time. We have been doing this since 2007. One of our recent meetings was at the Overland Historical Society grounds.  They were a grant recipient in 2007, one of our first. We have helped plant 36 gardens.

This year we have helped to fund six gardens: five schools and one community garden. We work with the students, teachers, principals, parents, and community gardeners. So far this year we have spent $1580. The fall season has just begun and we are waiting on more requests.

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Prepare for upcoming seed exchange and potluck gathering

By Marcia Myers
Blog Editor, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

three women and seed packets

From left to right: Ann Early, Prem Barton, and Kathy Bildner at the 2016 seed exchange

Reminders:
Our annual potluck and seed exchange will be on Wednesday, November 1 with the potluck dinner beginning at 6:00 p.m. and the meeting at 7:00 p.m. in The Heights Community Center of Richmond Heights.

Having seeds to trade is encouraged, but not required. However, there’s still time to collect seeds for the exchange if you don’t have any prepared yet. Keep your seeds dry and put them in a labelled paper bag or envelope. Some people use plastic, as long as the seeds are completely clean and dry.

If you are new to native plants and will be receiving seeds, here’s a previous blog post that might help, Now that I have collected my native seeds, what’s next?

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Volunteers needed for Landscape Challenge planting on Sat., Sept. 30

By James Faupel
Vice-President and Chairperson Landscape Challenge
Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

Group of people with dirty hands from gardening

The 2015 “dirty hands” photo after planting completion

The 2017 Landscape Challenge planting day is almost here. This year’s property was chosen by representatives of Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter and Grow Native! from among applications received from Bring Conservation Home participants in Clayton, Brentwood, Richmond Hts., Ladue, Olivette, and Maplewood. The winning property is in Brentwood.

Designer Rob May has been working with winning homeowner Marlene Becker, and Shaw Nature Reserve’s Scott Woodbury to create the design. Rob is a horticulture student at STLCC Meramec, and is the president of the Meramec Botanical Society. Marlene had recently joined Wild Ones and already has the passion for wanting to learn more about Missouri’s native flora. She is very excited about her new native garden plans, and she has already prepared the site! 

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