July 2016 monthly gathering highlights

people sitting and listening to a man talking

Wes Boshart leading the monthly gathering in the Wasserman’s backyard

July 6 and 9, 2016
Tessa Wasserman was our hostess for two July yard-tour gatherings. On July 6, 25 members and three guests were welcomed by Marsha Gebhardt, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter President.

Wes Boshart, our chapter Vice-President, welcomed 12 members and seven guests on Saturday, July 9.

When the Wasserman family moved into their current home in the fall of 2010, several trees had been removed to build the two-year-old house and a pool. Due to regrading of land and construction impacts, many canopy trees were weakened and lost. Downspouts and hillsides sent rainwater to neighbors’ yards. The only landscaping was turf, front foundation plantings, and three crepe myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica) in the backyard. Large areas of the one-half acre property were covered with invasive bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera), winter creeper (Euonymus fortunei), and English ivy (Hedera helix).

butterfly photo and sign that says American painted lady - pussytoes

One of Tessa’s photo tags for butterfly host plants

An amateur gardener who was interested in native plants, Tessa removed all invasive species and began planting gardens and 20 trees by hand herself. She designed, planted, and mulched woodland gardens, a butterfly garden, and a Monarch Way Station.

Tessa is a member of the Webster Groves Green Space Advisory Committee. Through the committee, she learned about the Rainscape Rewards and St. Louis Audubon’Bring Conservation Home programs in 2013. These programs helped address the water drainage and displaced topsoil issues by adding a large rain garden and prairie.

In this beautifully designed landscape, Tessa displays more than 100 species of native plants, shrubs, and trees chosen for wildlife value, especially host plants for pollinators. For the yard tour, she had posted many signs picturing the butterfly hosted by particular native plants. The landscape was awarded Gold Certification from the Bring Conservation Home program. It was highlighted on the inaugural St. Louis Native Plant Garden Tour in 2015.

woman talking to people in her yard

Tessa Wasserman (white shorts) speaking with Wild Ones members

Tessa repurposes tree stumps as plant stands, as sculpture pedestals, and for native vines to climb. Honeysuckle and tree branches attractively border garden beds.

The family reports that new species of birds and mammals have moved in or visited since the gardens have been added. Tessa recommends wild plums (Prunus americana) as replacements for invasive Bradford pears because wild plums are beautiful, fragrant, and beneficial for wildlife. She recommends nannyberry shrubs (Viburnum lentago) as replacements for invasive bush honeysuckle.

Candle holder

Tessa’s candle holder made from a chunk of bush honeysuckle as a project in one of Dale Dufer’s classes

Plant Give-aways
Several members brought transplants of heart-leaved Alexanders (Zizia aptera), slender mountain mint (Pycnanthemum tenuifolium), Texas green eyes (Berlandiera betonicifolia), and other species from their yards to share. Tessa shared knotweed (Polygonum buxiforme).

Upcoming Events
Shaw Wildflower Market – September 9
This annual event is held in the Whitmire Wildflower Garden from 4:00 – 7:30 p.m. Shop for locally-produced native plants, foods, and crafts. Also, experts will answer your native gardening questions.

heron statue

Garden statue and display

2016 Landscape Challenge Planting – September 24
We co-sponsor a yearly Landscape Challenge with Shaw Nature Reserve and the Missouri Prairie Foundation’s Grow Native! program. This year’s winning yard is in Crestwood.

Volunteers are needed to help plant the yard on Saturday morning, September 24.

Once again, Landscape Designer, Jeanne Cablish, will design the front-yard makeover.

Native Plant Expo and Sale – September 24
St. Louis Audubon’s Bring Conservation Home program will sponsor a plant swap and sale on September 24, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Schlafly Bottleworks in Maplewood, MO. More information is coming.

Next Gathering
Yard tour at the home of Mark O’Bryan
Please bring a lawn chair. Choose Wednesday evening August 3, 6:30 p.m. OR Saturday morning August 6, 9:30 a.m. For directions

Recorded by: Fran Glass, Secretary

Photos by: Sherri DeRousse