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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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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Volunteers needed for Landscape Challenge

Volunteers after installing a garden for the Landscape Challenge

Wild Ones needs a volunteer member to design the garden of the winning Landscape Challenge winner. You do not need to be a professional, just have a basic understanding of garden design along with good native plant knowledge. Drawing ability is not necessary as a board member can provide assistance. You will also work with Scott Woodbury, Curator of the Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve.

If you are interested in serving on the committee to screen applications and view potential yard sites, that would be welcome also. You will work with a couple of other Wild Ones members and a representative from Grow Native!.

Please contact Sue Leahy at sleahy@sbcglobal.net or 314-962-2318 for more information or to discuss either opportunity. 

2016 Landscape Challenge Launch: Application process open


2015 Landscape Challenge planting day

For the eleventh year in a row, Grow Native!, Shaw Nature Reserve, and St. Louis Wild Ones are looking for a front yard that will showcase landscaping with native plants.

In addition, our main Landscape Challenge page has been updated to show a history of the event with a new slideshow. If you haven’t seen it recently, take an inspiring look back at what we’ve accomplished.

To be eligible for the native landscape makeover in 2016, participants must:

  • Live in ZIP code 63119, 63126, or 63123
  • Have had a Bring Conservation Home evaluation of your property
  • Agree to maintain planted area, keeping it free of weeds
  • Use only native plants in the project area
  • Allow visits by project partners
  • Have a makeover area that is at least 12 feet by 12 feet
  • Prepare the site for planting prior to September 24, 2016
  • Be willing to be interviewed on camera
  • Grant permission for the sponsors to use images of the project in educational efforts

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Landscape Challenge completed in record time

By Marcia Myers

Volunteers planting and mulching

Volunteers planting and mulching

Weather conditions were perfect for the Landscape Challenge 2015 planting, with just enough previous rain to make the ground easy to dig and an early morning temperature in the 50’s on a sunny day. As volunteers arrived, designer Jeanne Cablish placed native plants from Missouri Wildflowers Nursery in the designated locations.

Homeowners Rosalie and Terry had prepared the site in advance and greeted volunteers. In addition, Scott Woodbury, Curator of Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve, was on hand to provide guidance on planting and overseeing the project along with Jeanne and the homeowners.

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A Case for Pussytoes

By Dawn Weber

American Lady butterfly on Prairie Pussytoes

American Lady butterfly on Prairie Pussytoes – photo by Dawn Weber

Pussytoes is a low-growing native groundcover with understated spring blooms and silvery-green leaves that resemble the soft pads of a cat’s paw. Field or prairie pussytoes, botanically named Antennaria neglecta, are native to the north east and north central US as well as much of Canada. Just a few inches tall, they appreciate full sun to light shade, and dry to average soil.

Without a doubt, there are showier native plants. So why make room in your garden for this unassuming little plant? Because pussytoes is one of the host plants for the American Lady butterfly.

American Lady butterflies need pussytoes. Tiny just-hatched caterpillars cannot travel very far for food, so the female butterfly lays her eggs on a host plant that the new caterpillars can eat.

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2015 Landscape Challenge update

By Ed Schmidt

Planned layout of the 2015 Landscape Challenge planting

Planting design by Jeanne Cablish

Planning for the 2015 Landscape Challenge is well underway. The property was chosen by representatives of Wild Ones and Grow Native! from among applications received from Bring Conservation Home participants in University City and surrounding communities. The winning property is in University City.

Designer Jeanne Cablish has been working with homeowners Rosalie and Terry to create the design. Jeanne reports they are excited about their new native garden plans, and are already preparing the site!

Site of the 2015 Landscape Challenge - before work begins

Future planting site – note the grass killed in preparation for planting

The planting will be in both a sunny area near the street and a shady area nearer the house. The plant list has already been prepared and sent to Missouri Wildflower Nursery.

Plan to participate in the planting, which will be on the morning of Saturday, September 12. This is an excellent opportunity to learn and share knowledge about native plants and garden design.

Signup sheets will be available at the August and September general meetings. You can also contact Marsha Gebhardt or me if you wish to participate and will not be at one of these meetings.

Creating a landscape and making friends

By Betty Struckhoff

Wild Ones planting at the 2014 Landscape Challenge

Planting crew at work

Our Wild Ones annual landscape makeover has become one of those markers in my mind’s clockwork — marking a changing season and another year. Always close to the fall equinox, we gather (like Druids?!) to dig in the dirt.

This year was no exception. On September 27, 2014 Scott Woodbury showed up with a truckload of mulch. Jeanne Cablish was super organized with the design and the plants, putting us all to work quickly. The homeowners were delightful to meet, the coffee and bagels were plentiful, and their teenage son helped us throughout the morning.

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2013 Landscape Challenge update

By Jeanne Cablish

The 2014 Landscape Challenge planting is this coming weekend. I thought some pictures from our creation last year would be an inspiration for this Saturday. Dawn and Peter have done a great job maintaining the plantings. Below are some pictures from this summer.

Join us on Saturday for this year’s Landscape Challenge planting. It’s fun, a great learning opportunity, and you’ll be helping to create another link in what Doug Tallamy calls Networks for Life (video).

Thank you to the Landscape Challenge volunteers

From Dawn Weber, winner of this year’s Landscape Challenge

Thank you so much for everything!

Wild Ones working on the 2013 Landscape ChallengeThank you to all of the volunteers who came on planting day. It was amazing to see so many people show up and work together to get all those plants in the ground so quickly! In addition to the planting help, I appreciated that so many asked about my interest in gardening, birds and conservation, offering words of encouragement and sharing tidbits of information that I can use in the future.

Special thanks to Scott and Jeanne for their support, answering questions ahead of the planting, and those that I know will come up as time goes on.

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