October 2016 monthly gathering highlights

People walking along path

On the tour at Prem’s country home

October 8, 2016
Our monthly gathering was held at the country home of Prem Barton in Calhoun County’s Golden Eagle, Illinois. Marsha Gebhardt welcomed 25 members including members of the Southwest Illinois Chapter. A delicious potluck lunch was enjoyed by all with homemade spring rolls prepared by Prem.

Prem describes how she got started with nature. “After so many years of ‘city living’ and working like a maniac, I have turned ‘natural’. I always liked nature. Wanting to have a house on the bluff, I searched and found one. Beautiful setting! What’s next about nature? Wildflowers!”

Prem has experimented with native and non-native plantings over the years. She reports that many exotics died, moles killed the turf grass, and then she discovered native plants. Her best survival rate is with natives.

Much of Prem’s knowledge about native plants came from attending Shaw Nature Reserve’s Native Plant School and James Trager’s plant ecology walks. Prem credits Scott Woodbury and James Trager as her first teachers and they continue to be. She is a weekly horticulture volunteer in the Whitmire Wildflower Garden.

Two people on path

Stopping to discuss native plants

There is a magnificent view of the Mississippi River from the Barton property. Prem’s front yard contains many species of sun-loving plants. The side yard is planted in native shrubs. The backyard, which overlooks the Mississippi River, is on a steep slope. Prem has prevented erosion by planting numerous trees, shrubs, perennials, and grasses. Here is a partial list:

  • Rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium)
  • Blazing star (Liatris sp.)
  • Mountain mint (Pycnanthemum sp.)
  • Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)
  • Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
  • Asters (Symphotricium sp.)
  • Goldenrods (Soligago sp.)
  • Sedges (Carex annectens)
  • Ironweed (Veronia sp.)
  • Primrose (Oenothera sp.)
  • Coneflowers (Rudbeckia sp.)
  • Mist flower (Eupatorium purpureum)
  • Texas green eyes (Berlandiera texana)
  • American beauty berry (Callicarpa americana)
  • Cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum)
  • Boneset (Eupatorium sp.)
Woman in blue shirt talking to group in yard

Prem Barton (in blue shirt) discussing her yard

Although Prem’s landscaping is beautiful, she states “The work is progressing and it will always be. What you will see is not the final setting. I am still working on the planning and planting. It’s a full time job and I love it!”

Voice Amplifier

Our chapter purchased a voice amplifier to use at our gatherings in order to help attendees hear the program portion of these events. It was used for the first time at this gathering and truly helped to project Prem’s voice so that everyone could hear as she talked while we toured her yard.

Sue Leahy, our Publicity/Marketing Chair, presented our two new signs for grant recipients and landscape challenge winners. They are 9 x 12 inches, aluminum-coated plastic with the monarch graphic that is printed on the popular T-shirts.

Native plants in a yard

Prem’s yard

Mallard Lake Project
On October 1, Wild Ones members joined other organizations in Creve Coeur Park to plant two pollinator, home demonstration gardens. The gardens are located along the trail near Creve Coeur Lakehouse Bar & Grill. One of the gardens was designed by our own Jeanne Cablish, a landscape designer. Both gardens will serve as home demonstration gardens with layout and plant list signage.

Upcoming Events
Mallard Lake Projects – October 22, November 4

Mallard Lake is located in Creve Coeur Lake Park, south of Page Avenue and east of Creve Coeur Mill Road. A partnership has been formed between:

People walking downhill

Exploring the area

The project includes installation of prairie, woodland, and demonstration native gardens at Creve Coeur Lake Park.

We encourage our members to help at the following events:

October 22 – tree planting.

November 4 – honeysuckle removal.
Both projects begin at 9:00 a.m. and are half-day. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. More details

Meramec Botanical Society
St. Louis Community College at Meramec’s Horticulture Program has a student organization named the Meramec Botanical Society. They asked if they may attend our November 2 annual potluck dinner and seed exchange gathering. As one of our chapter’s strategic goals is to attract younger members, we welcomed them to attend.

Plant Give-aways
Sue Leahy and Joan Featherston brought “extra” plants to share.

Two women standing on ferry with view of river

Marsha Gebhardt and Kathy Bildner on the ferry

Next Gathering
Wednesday, November 2, 6:00 p.m.
Location: THE HEIGHTS community center in Richmond Heights
Annual potluck dinner and seed exchange
Bring a food dish and seeds to share if you have them.
Carpooling is encouraged.
For details and directions

Recorded by: Fran Glass, Secretary

Group sitting listening to speaker

The gathering at Prem Barton’s yard

One thought on “October 2016 monthly gathering highlights

  1. I have the great honor to help Prem and Jen at SNR from time to time. She is incredibly welcoming and knowledgeable. I am a recent Master Gardener graduate of MU. I have learned so much in the short time I have spent with Prem and Jen Sieradzski. I am truly blessed to work with both of these fine ladies:)

Comments are closed.