2017 July monthly gathering highlights

People sitting in backyard

July’s Saturday Gathering at the home of Sherri DeRousse and Andy Guti
Photo by Andy Guti

July 5 and 8, 2017
Sherri DeRousse and Andy Guti hosted two July yard tour gatherings. Attendance was 22 members and five guests on Wednesday evening July 5, and 17 members and five guests on Saturday July 8. As a discussion format, Marsha Gebhardt interviewed Sherri.

Sherri and Andy became interested in native plant landscaping in 2003 while Sherri was working on a land development project within the city limits of Columbia, MO. She consulted with Steven Apfelbaum of Applied Ecological Services in Wisconsin who identified a portion of the property as being remnant prairie. A natural resource inventory of 100 native species was taken by Nels Holmberg. Additional prairie plants were added. Sherri and Andy joined Wild Ones as members of the Mid-Missouri Chapter. Years later they moved to St. Louis.

purple flowers and plants along a fence

Along the backyard fence

They moved into their present home in July, 2013. The backyard consisted of zoysia grass and weeds. Sherri saw it as a blank slate. Andy removed the zoysia sod, Sherri designed curved beds, including one dug out to collect rainwater in which she planted moisture loving plants. In the garden beds, they planted 50 species of native plants including buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus), and black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa). Vegetables and herbs are planted in some beds. Andy created pathways made of flagstone, bordered with stones and rocks, and filled in with wood chips as mulch. Bamboo is used as plant stakes and as an enclosure for privacy and shade. Sherri uses zoysia grass clippings from the front yard as garden bed mulch.

Andy built a stone wall near the front of the house as a planting bed border. Sherri laid the border for an additional native bed with a hose and Andy dug the bed. They kept some of the front yard’s grass in order to define the beds, for access and design, and make the plantings look intentional.

Umbrella in garden

A creative touch

In 2016 neighbors across the street received a Project Clear grant for a front-yard raingarden. These neighbors opted to use the $3000 for plants and hardscape, and do the labor themselves. Sherri soon realized the neighbors were unable to perform the work and thus volunteered herself and Andy. Andy and Sherri did 90 percent of the labor. Andy dug the rain garden and trenches from the gutters. Sherri planted 100 native plants. Andy mulched the front yard. They also help maintain the garden.

Additionally Andy and Sherri help maintain five neighborhood community gardens where they have planted natives.

Eclipse Viewing – August 21
Members of St. Louis Wild Ones and St. Louis Audubon are offered an outstanding viewing experience at the Whitmire Wildflower Garden at Shaw Nature Reserve.

More details at: Our Wild Ones website.

People standing around talking

Attendees after the gathering
Photo by Sherri DeRousse

Plant Give-aways
Several members brought seedlings or transplants from their yards to share.

Volunteer Opportunities
Upcoming events are:

  • The College School LaBarque Creek campus – July 18, morning
    Weeding party followed by a picnic lunch by the creek. More details and directions on our Wild Ones website blog
  • Greentree Festival, Kirkwood, MO – September 16, 17
  • Landscape Challenge planting – September 30

St. Louis Native Plant Garden Tour – September 1

People lining sidewalk

A neighbor’s rain garden and yard
Photo by Sherri DeRousse

Again, we are partnering with St. Louis Audubon Society’s Bring Conservation Home to present the third annual Native Plant Garden Tour on Saturday, September 16. Past attendees asked for a fall yard tour to view important fall pollinator plants. This year’s tour will feature yards across several communities in West County. Ticket sales are open at: St. Louis Audubon Society’s website.

Next Gathering
Yard tour at the home Kevin King. Choose Wednesday evening August 2, 6:30 p.m. OR Saturday morning, August 5, 9:30 a.m.

Carpooling is encouraged.
Please bring a lawn chair.
For directions see:  http://stlwildones.org/calendar/2017-08-02/

Recorded by:  Fran Glass, Secretary

One thought on “2017 July monthly gathering highlights

  1. The photos & slide show are so well done. I feel as if I, almost, visited the site!

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