2017 February monthly gathering highlights

man talking in front of presentation screen to group of seated people

Scott Woodbury, Curator of the Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve, gave an informative talk to a record crowd of 104.
Photo by Dawn Weber

February 1, 2017
Our February gathering, the first of 2017, attracted a record attendance of 104. Fifty-five members and 49 guests came to hear a presentation of current interest at The Heights community center of Richmond Heights. Marsha Gebhardt welcomed new visitors, guest Richmond Heights Garden Club members, and guest Master Gardeners.

Scott Woodbury, Curator of the Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve, and 1998 founder of our St. Louis Chapter Wild Ones, gave a presentation titled: Native Landscaping: Front Yard Formal.

“Front yard formal” can mean getting along in the neighborhood by planning and maintaining a well-behaved landscape, being neighborly, and using good gardening practices.

There are different styles of gardening such as loose and wild-looking, and symmetrical formal. The new formal provides curiosity by not showing what’s around the corner. Beds are defined by edges, usually turf. Turf is important for walking on and for kids to play in. Balancing turf with flower beds is appealing. Also a balance of flowers, shrubs, and trees is pleasing.

Scott talking on how to get started and how to improve our existing gardens
Photo by Dawn Weber

Groundcovers can be an easy way to edge an area, provide low maintenance, and fill in blank areas. Low-growing groundcovers can be used as turf. They show that the garden is intentional. Other ways to edge an area are by using split-rail rustic fences or hardscapes of stone, flagstone, brickwork, walkways, bridges, or boulders.

Art such as sculptures in the garden, or flags that add motion and color, are other ways to show intentionality of the garden. Urns can be used to draw attention. Structures that shade you serve an often needed purpose.

Scott reminded us that plants take two to three years to get established and that gardens are constantly changing. He suggests using smaller plants for smaller gardens. Here is a partial list of examples he gave of smaller plants:

  • Wild sweet William (Phlox divaricata)
  • Robin’s plantain (Erigeron pulchellus)
  • Sedges such as (Carex jamesii, Carex eburnea, or Carex albicans)
  • Little flower alumroot (heuchera parviflora) , fall blooming, can tolerate sun & shade
  • Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum)
  • Indian pink (Spigelia marilandica), requires shade and good drainage
  • Blazing Star (Liatris spicata), more compact than other liatris species
  • Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
  • Marsh milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
  • Bluestem goldenrod (Solidago caesia)
  • Cliff goldenrod (Solidago drummondii)
  • Goldenrods feed 75 insect herbivore species
  • Aromatic aster (Aster oblongifolius)
  • American spikenard (Aralia racemosa), grows to 5-feet tall
  • American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)
  • Wild hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens)
  • Red buckeye, small flowering tree (Aesculus pavia)

Attendees trying to absorb all of the information
Photo by Dawn Weber

This resource is a members-only benefit:
Sue Leahy, our Publicity/Marketing Chair, presented our new yard signs which are available for purchase for members-only. The new signs state “Native Missouri Landscape for the Benefit of Wildlife and People” with the monarch graphic that is printed on the popular T-shirts. They are 9 x 12 inches and made of Max Metal (aluminum-coated plastic), mounted on a post and ready to put in place.

These beautiful and educational signs are available for members to purchase for $22.00. Contact Sue at sleahy@sbcglobal.net.

Sue also displayed our new 3′ x 5′ banner with the monarch graphic, our chapter website, and the statement “Healing the earth one yard at a time.”

Our Chapter board has authorized Sue to place ads in the Webster-Kirkwood Times and the Gateway Gardener. Also, we authorized Sue to submit an article about our chapter in the March issue of the Gateway Gardener.

Volunteer and Tabling Coordinator
Marypat Ehlmann, our volunteer and tabling coordinator, provided sign-up sheets for three of our early 2017 events.

  • Tabling at Rolling Ridge Nursery preseason expo – February 11
  • Partners for Native Landscaping Workshop – March 3 and 4
  • Tabling at Forest Park Earth Day – April 22 and 23.

Our website allows for online volunteer signups under our Dig In! tab.

Standing room only
Photo by Dawn Weber

Technology Communications Committee
Dawn Weber announced that we are starting a new project for online volunteer signups. More information will be available soon via our website and blog.
Recent update: The online volunteer management is now in use. View events and sign up at Dig In!

Plant Sale Committee
Dawn announced that the plant sale committee will provide more signage at the 2017 Shaw Spring Wildflower Market (May 13 with pre-sale for garden members on May 12), to help customers differentiate our booth from other booths. We will also improve the way plants are grouped for easier shopping, and give customers our rack cards so they may learn more about our organization.

Native Landscaping Grants
Kathy Bildner, our grants liaison, reported on our current grant to Herculaneum High School.

She also invited members to join the grants team whose duties are to view the grant sites and make recommendations to our Chapter board.

All Wild Ones members are welcome to encourage grants from local communities.

Next Gathering
Wednesday, March 1, 7:00 p.m.
Location: THE HEIGHTS community center in Richmond Heights
Program: Landscaping with Native Trees and Shrubs, by our own resident expert and member Betty Struckhoff.
Carpooling is encouraged.

Recorded by: Fran Glass, Secretary

Marsha Gebhardt, our President, facilitating the gathering
Photo by Dawn Weber

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