2017 November monthly gathering highlights

Wednesday, November 2, 2017
Our annual potluck dinner and seed exchange attracted 40 members and five guests at The Heights community center of Richmond Heights.

A fun 10-question game of native plant trivia was enjoyed by all.

Election of Chapter Officers, Board of Directors
The current members of the chapter Board of Directors are willing to each serve another two-year term. Nominating committee members Kathy Bildner, Marcia Myers, and Ed Schmidt agreed this slate be presented to the membership for approval.

  • President – Marsha Gebhardt
  • Vice-President – James Faupel, also Landscape Challenge chairperson, also Outreach and Speakers’ Bureau chairperson
  • Secretary – Fran Glass, also Membership chairperson
  • Treasurer – Penny Holtzmann

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What’s blooming in Dawn’s yard? American witch hazel

Blog post by Dawn Weber
Board Member-at-Large, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

Photos by Dawn Weber and Kathy Bildner 

Close-up of witch hazel bloomPlant name:
American or common witch hazel (Hamamlis virginiana)

Description
Witch hazel grows as a multi-stemmed shrub or a small tree, as large as 15-20 feet high and wide. 

It will flower best in sunnier spots, but can tolerate a fair amount of shade. Witch hazel grows best in moist, acidic, rich soil but ​tolerates average soil moisture, clay soil, and even poor drainage.

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The process of getting native plants in a traffic roundabout – Part II

By Chan Mahanta

  • Member, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter
  • Resident of the Old Jamestown area of North St. Louis County of which the roundabout project is a part
  • Member of the St. Louis County Transportation Commission
  • Past president of Old Jamestown Association

Continued from Part I: Native Plants in the Old Halls Ferry Road and Vaile Traffic Roundabout, North St. Louis County

Design of native plants for roundabout

Chan’s design

At the time the project had been awarded and I was not pressing the issue any further, I was also the President of Old Jamestown Association. In that role, I met with our Councilman Mike O’Mara, from time to time, to discuss matters of interest. In such a meeting, shortly after my failure to get the native plants program for the traffic circle going, I informed him of my activities at the County Transportation Commission and mentioned to him about my failed effort. The Councilman was very supportive of the initiative.

In the meantime, there was a turnover of the County Administration with a new Director of Transportation. Our Councilman spoke to the new Director to see if he could do anything to revive my effort of incorporating native plants in the traffic circle. There was good news. The Transportation Department decided to incorporate my sketch of native planting design into the work. And on my part, I volunteered to look after the plants in the project personally, until they became established.

The work was completed in the fall of 2015. In the spring of 2016, I found that there was a massive growth of weeds of various kinds. I pulled a ton of them and had to return three times to keep them at bay. The physical work was a whole lot more than I anticipated.

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The process of getting native plants in a traffic roundabout – Part I

By Chan Mahanta

  • Member, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter
  • Resident of the Old Jamestown area of North St. Louis County of which the roundabout project is a part
  • Member of the St. Louis County Transportation Commission
  • Past president of Old Jamestown Association
Overhead view of native plants in traffic roundabout

Traffic roundabout with native plants, August 2017
Photo by Chan’s drone

Native Plants in the Old Halls Ferry Road and Vaile Traffic Roundabout, North St. Louis County

In 2014, I was appointed to the St. Louis County Transportation Commission to represent our ward of North St. Louis County. During the vetting process, someone forwarded to the County authorities a blog post called NoCo Gardens about our Tall Grass Prairie and Native Plants garden/environment. [Editor’s note: That blog post no longer exists.] Thus during the interview, the native plants subject came up.

I expressed the desire to the Director of Transportation to see if I may be able to interest them in taking up native plants in their highway landscaping projects. I was told that the department did attempt to take that up for landscaping vacant lots created by demolition of derelict structure in certain neighborhoods. But the effort ran into opposition from neighbors for reasons such as: Looked scraggly and unkempt, grew too big, and became a security threat, etc.

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Sherri’s photos – National Museum of Transportation gathering

Editor’s Note: Our October gathering was at the National Museum of Transportation on October 7, 2017. You can read the 2017 October gathering highlights blog post on our website. Sherri DeRousse sent some photos of the location and tours that day. You can view these photos in the gallery below.

Mary Ann Fink, LIFE Exhibit Curator of Pollinator Junction, was the guide at the The National Museum of Transportation pollinator garden. April Anderson, the museum’s volunteer coordinator, gave attendees a tour of two other native plant gardens. The large hillside garden was designed by the late Cindy Gilberg.

2017 October monthly gathering highlights

People gathered around

October gathering at the National Museum of Transportation

Saturday, October 7, 2017
Mary Ann Fink, LIFE Exhibit Curator of Pollinator Junction, was our guide at the The National Museum of Transportation  pollinator garden. Horticulturalist Rena Schmidt helped with plant identification and provided copies of the 2017 Easy Pollinator Pantry Garden Guide. Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter president Marsha Gebhardt welcomed 29 members and five guests.

Pollinator Junction’s mission is to demonstrate “Gardening for LIFE”: living creatures, interactive opportunities, food chain support, and an eco-balance for us all. The Transportation Museum Association and St. Louis County Parks coordinated on this pollinator garden which was installed in September 2016 and includes nearly 7,000 square feet. Every plant in the garden is a food source for pollinators.

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2017 September monthly gathering highlights

People standing looking at plants and checking in for meeting

September 2017 gathering at the Overland Historical Society

September 6, 2017
A tour of the Overland Historical Society (OHS) property was enjoyed by 43 Wild Ones members and six guests. We were welcomed by Eedie Cuminale and numerous volunteers who offered tours of the site’s log house, log barn, and museum.  The society was founded in 1976.

The OHS is a past recipient of a $400 grant from our chapter for a public Missouri native plant community garden. In 2007 Eedie Cuminale applied for the grant and coordinated the volunteers who prepped the site and planted the garden.

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2017 Landscape Challenge planting day

By James Faupel
Vice-President and Chairperson Landscape Challenge
Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

Gardeners showing their dirty hands

The traditional “dirty hands” photo
Photo by Sherri DeRousse

The Landscape Challenge planting day on September 23 was a big success! Twenty volunteers showed up, making short work of the planting process. 

Rob May, our new designer, and myself laid out the perennials for planting, and gave a brief demonstration on how they should be planted. Rob also answered questions about his design.

This year’s winner and homeowner, Marlene Becker, answered questions about her yard and its preparation for the planting.

The actual planting time only took about 40 minutes once digging began.

This year’s plants came from Missouri Wildflowers Nursery and Forest Keeling Nursery. It was a completely perennial garden design.

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Forest ReLeaf offering trees for a reasonable donation and a tour on Sat. Oct. 14

Blog post and photos by Tessa Wasserman
Member, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter

Plant nursery with trees and shrubs

Forest ReLeaf expanding offerings of trees and shrubs

If you haven’t been out to Forest ReLeaf of Missouri’s CommuniTree Gardens Nursery in Maryland Heights for volunteering, a tour, or to pick up free trees for a non-profit planting project then I highly recommend visiting this hidden gem.

You will have a chance to visit Forest ReLeaf this Saturday, October 14, from 9:00 a.m. to noon with the tour beginning at 10:00 a.m.. There will be a free tour and a chance to purchase native trees and shrubs for a very reasonable donation. List of Forest ReLeaf trees and shrubs still available

Directions to Forest ReLeaf

Forest ReLeaf was established as a charitable non-profit nursery in 1993. Since its incorporation, close to 200,000 trees have been given away to communities in need of more canopy or beautification. 

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What’s blooming in Betty’s yard? Obedient plant

Blog post and photos by Betty Struckhoff
Member and former Board member, Wild Ones – St. Louis Chapter
Master Gardener

[Editor’s Note: To give you a more accurate idea of blooming time, Betty submitted this blog post with photos on September 8.]

Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana)

Plant name:
Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana)
(also called false dragonhead)

Description:
Fair warning – This plant spreads profusely by seed, although the seedlings are easy to yank.

Obedient plant grows 3 to 5 feet tall, likes moist spaces, and blooms August to September.

The blooms tend to be a dark pink in sun and can shade to almost white in part shade.  (There is a cultivar that is pure white.)

Why I chose this plant:
I fell in love with obedient plant when I saw drifts in the Savanna planting on the west side of Forest Park, behind the Art Museum.

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