First St. Louis Native Plant Garden Tour

We hope you’ll join us for the first St. Louis Native Plant Garden Tour:

Date: Saturday, June 20, 2015
Time: 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Cost: $20

Registration for this year’s event is closed. Stay tuned for information about next year’s tour.

Monarch butterfly sipping nectar from a New England Aster.

Monarch butterfly sipping nectar from a New England Aster.

Native milkweeds feed monarch caterpillars, whose populations are plummeting. Coneflowers furnish feeding platforms for tiger swallowtail butterflies and provide seeds to goldfinch. Ruby-throated hummingbirds love to visit native cardinal flowers and red buckeye trees for nectar. Native plants produce a wide variety of ecological services for native wildlife, improve the health of neighborhoods by not requiring toxins for maintenance, and help sustain our planet.

How native landscaping compares with traditional lawns
However, for years, traditional landscaping has focused on planting non-native hostas, day lilies, and boxwoods that look nice, but furnish food only to deer and slugs. All Midwestern songbirds feed their young insects, especially butterfly caterpillars. A pair of nesting chickadees need to feed their offspring between 6,240 and 9,120 caterpillars to successfully raise their young. No American butterfly caterpillars feed on hostas, day lilies or tulips. Over 100 different species of caterpillars feed on native goldenrods, asters, dogwoods and viburnums. Our native oak trees support a whopping 518 different species of native caterpillars!

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St. Louis Native Plant Garden Tour – Registration is open!

Flyer for the first St. Louis native plant garden tour

Click to view the full flyer

Registration is now open for the St. Louis Native Plant Garden Tour on Saturday, June 20 from 9 AM to 3 PM.

Take a self-guided tour of 10 residential native plant gardens in central St. Louis County. Various locations in Brentwood, Clayton, Glendale, Kirkwood, Webster Groves and more.

  • Sun, shade, butterflies, birds, dry sites and wet
  • Traditional and natural designs
  • Take pictures and ask questions

Cost: $20 per person. Proceeds benefit the tour organizers: St. Louis Audubon’s Bring Conservation Home program and Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

Registration for this year’s event is closed. Stay tuned for information about next year’s tour.

New rainscaping grants from MSD

MSD's Project Clear rainscaping focus area

Rainscaping focus area – in green

Project Clear is a program by the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District to improve water quality. The Rainscaping Program is focused on the area that drains directly to the Mississippi River.

The Rainscaping Small Grants Program is designed to encourage landowners in the Rainscaping Focus Area to use simple techniques on their properties to reduce the impact of storm water on the sewer system. Rainscaping techniques can include features such as rain gardens, bioretention cells, pervious pavement, green roofs, etc. Rainscaping features are designed to slow down, soak up, and reuse the rain water before it gets to the sewer.

Approved applicants will be granted up to $3,000 to add rainscaping features to their properties. There will be between 40 to 50 individual grants available. All landowners/applicants must be in the designated Rainscaping Focus Area and attend a Small Grants Workshop. All workshops will be held at MSD’s administrative offices. Applications will be accepted from February 6 through March 20, 2015.

To learn more about the program download the brochure (600 KB PDF), or visit the Rainscaping Small Grants web page for all of the documents, including an application.

Yet another learning opportunity — rain gardens

Editor’s note: we just learned that both workshops are already full. We’re glad there’s so much interest in rain gardens, and we’ll let you know about future opportunities.

A residential raingarden

A residential rain garden

By Betty Struckhoff

Here’s an opportunity to learn more about native landscaping from one of the most knowledgeable people in our area. On Wednesday, February 25, our own Scott Woodbury, Curator of native plants at Shaw Nature Reserve, will present the first in a series of hands-on workshops on Rainscaping: Designing for Easier Maintenance. This series is sponsored by the Deer Creek Watershed Alliance.

Raingardens are a perfect technique to reduce stormwater runoff while attracting butterflies and other native wildlife.

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Additional native plant workshops

Bloodroot in bloom

Spring wildflowers

The 4th Annual Partners for Native Landscaping workshop is full, but here are a couple of other opportunities to learn about landscaping with native plants.

Native Plants for Homeowners Workshop
Saturday, Feb 21, 9:30 – 11 a.m.
August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area

New to native plants, and not sure where to start? Naturally resilient native grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees are great solutions to common gardening problems. They also attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and songbirds. Learn landscape design ideas, sources to purchase plants, and more. Take home some seedlings in time for spring planting. Please dress for the weather for field time in the native gardens.
Reservations begin February 6; call 636-441-4554.

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Another chance to see the Leahys’ yard

May 2014 meeting

Wild Ones meeting at the Leahys’ – photo by Dave Tylka

By Sue Leahy

When invitations came my way toward the end of last year to host a Wild Ones meeting and be on the Master Gardener tour, I decided that since we were going to “spruce up” the gardens for these tours that I would host an open house for the public as well. This would give me a chance to help educate about and promote the use of natives in landscaping and providing habitat for birds, bees and butterflies.

Thus, there will be a public open house at my place on Sunday afternoon, September 14. There will be some habitat advisors from the St. Louis Audubon Society’s Bring Conservation Home program available to help educate. Wild Ones members are more than welcome and feel free to bring a friend or spread the word. The more the merrier!

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Rainwater harvesting talk and workshops

By Susan Lanigan

Residential raingardenYou’ve probably heard about the importance of keeping rainwater on your property to reduce stormwater runoff and minimize your dependence on irrigation, but how do you actually do that? EarthDance Farm is offering three opportunities to learn rainwater harvesting techniques from Jeff Adams, founder of Terrasophia.

  • Wednesday, August 27th, 6:00-8:00 pm. “Introduction to Rain Water Harvesting” talk at the EarthWays Center of the Missouri Botanical Garden. Free, but registration is required.
  • Thursday, August 28th, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. “Designing Rainwater Harvesting Landscapes” workshop at EarthDance Farm. Cost: $45; register online.
  • Saturday, August 30th, 9:30 am – 4:00 pm. “Practical Rain Gardens – Hands-on Demonstration Project” at EarthDance Farm. Cost: $35; register online.

You can also register for both workshops at a discount. Read more details.

Sustainable Back Yard Tour 2014

By Susan Lanigan

wildflowers and backyard gardenSee first-hand how other St. Louisans have integrated sustainable practices and beauty into their little piece of Earth.

The 2014 Sustainable Backyard Tour is a self-guided, open-house-style tour of over 40 yards. This is a great opportunity to see examples of outdoor sustainable living—from organic gardening to rain gardens and mud ovens. Read descriptions of some of the yards.

When: Sunday, June 22, 11 am – 4 pm.
Cost: Free, but you’re asked to register.
Where: Pick up a tour booklet with addresses and maps from sponsors, or download the information from the SBYT website closer to the tour date.

To volunteer for the tour, either as a docent or an apprentice, or to sponsor, complete the volunteer sign up  form.

Naturescaping Open House June 8

Flyer for open house June 8, 2014

Click for details

By Betty Struckhoff

If you enjoy the informal learning opportunities of Wild Ones meetings, you will probably like the Naturescaping Open House sponsored by St. Louis Audubon’s Bring Conservation Home program.

There will be knowledgeable volunteers throughout the half-acre native yard of Susan and Kei Pang in Richmond Heights. One highlight is the recently-completed rain garden, along with scores of other native plantings.

Date: Sunday, June 8, 2014
Time: 1:00 to 5:00 PM
Location: 115 Lake Forest Dr, 63117; map

The open house is free and open to the public. Donations to St. Louis Audubon will be accepted. Click the flyer for details or view more images of the Pangs’ beautiful yard.

hope you can make it!

New web resource for rainscaping

By Betty Struckhoff

Rain Garden logo with frog and lilypadThe St. Louis area has incredible resources for native landscapers. A new addition promises to help all of us enhance our landscapes, attract wildlife, support the ecosystem and improve the water quality in our streams.

Garden layout sketch

Sample garden layout

ShowMeRainGardens contains tips and interactive tools to help you plan, design and install your rain garden. Want to know what kinds of natives will do well in shade?  Just put those criteria into the Plant Selector and up come photos and scientific names of plants from which to choose.

Need help with design and layout? Check out the templates of gardens or the photo galleries submitted by people who have installed rain gardens.

ShowMeRainGardens was created by the St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District, local governments, conservation agencies and others. For more information, click on the frog!