Monday, April 7, 2014

Here's the kit. Includes seeds for 3 kinds of Milkweed, Zinnia, Joe Pye Weed, Scarlet Sage, Tithonia Torch, Indian Blanet and Purple Coneflower.

The future location of the butterfly sanctuary.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Monarchy

When I was little, growing up in suburban Chicago, I remember Milkweed pods being everywhere. We would break open their brittle shells and play with the creamy silk in the center. I haven't seen a Milkweed plant in years. The plant has become more and more scarce over the past 15 years. And that is in large part because Roundup is sprayed over most farm fields and it kills indiscriminately, both invasive and beneficial vegetation.The Milkweed plant is the primary habitat for the Monarch Butterfly. They lay their eggs in them. The eggs hatch and the caterpillars eat the Milkweed. Come to think of it I haven't seen a Monarch in a long time either....
The Monarch is completely dependent upon the milkweed plant. So I'm going to plant Milkweed! I haven't seen any along the local roadsides so I did some Googling and found http://www.monarchwatch.org/ They are tracking migration and trying to preserve habitat for the Monarch. I ordered from them a Monarch Waystation Kit for about $20. It includes Milkweed seeds as well as a variety of other butterfly/Monarch attracting plants. I've already picked a spot for my little butterfly sanctuary. They will have a safe place and I will have their help with pollinating. Carving out a small part of my landscape and setting it aside for a threatened species seems to me like a worthwhile project. Good for them, good for me, good for the planet. (Pictures to follow.)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Native Plants

Here is a selection of plants native to Southern Ohio and much of the Midwest...Happy Gardening!

For shade:
Bloodroot
Dutchman's Breeches
Virginia Bluebells
Celandine-poppy
Jack-in-the-pulpit
Green Dragon

For full sun:
Black eyed Susan
Butterfly milkweed (this provides habitat for the threatened Monarch butterfly!)
Wild Bergamot
Purple coneflower
New England Aster

Wet Areas:
Cardinal Flower
Bee Balm (Oswego Weed)
Touch-me-not
Common Joe Pye weed

You can find lots more plants that will thrive in your area with little care and resources at your local extension service.
Here is the extension for Warren County Ohio http://warren.osu.edu/

Friday, March 21, 2014

Going Native

I've decided to pursue a strange and radical lawn and garden regimine: I've decided to go native. That's right. Focusing on plants, flowers and grasses that, ya know, belong in southern Ohio. Bringing in plants from other climates is too stressful and consumes too much time, energy and resources. As much as I'd love to grow Hibiscus and Avacado Trees I realize that just because the grass is literally greener in Hawaii doesn't mean that I can recreate it with any success in my little corner of the world. And that is OK. So bring on the Black Eyed Susans, Purple Cone Flowers, Switchgrass, Showy Goldenrod and the Prarie Rose. It's gonna look like 1880 in my backyard before you know it!