Tuesday, March 21, 2017

How to Arrange Flowers Using Grocery Store Flowers

Our January program was a terrific and fun meeting!  Snow flurries and cold weather greeted the day, but warmth and good cheer were inside at our meeting.  This program would make a great program for any garden club!  If any readers from other clubs have tried this before, please do comment at the bottom and let us know what additional things you may have done.  This is a joint post by our Program Chairman (Lynn) and Flower Arranging Chairman (Beth).

"As 2nd VP for Kanawha GC, I am responsible for planning the programs for the entire year of monthly meetings.  We have a committee that makes program suggestions as well getting input from  members from the previous year's committees and random suggestions  fom other members.  Since Kanawha GC members love hands-on workshops and fun, we needed a different type of meeting than a speaker.  We have several members that plan out of town trips around Flower Shows (translate to nervous/fearful!) and have, in the past, tried to take the mystery out of flower shows with flower arranging workshops. 

Looking for new and innovative ideas for meetings, I read the GCA webpage that suggested and evaluated speakers to see what other clubs were doing. 

I ran across a blurb written by another club about videos on YouTube that dealt with taking the mystery out of arranging grocery store flowers and that gave me a fun idea.  Since our Flower Show Committee is responsible for the meeting, I called Beth and passed along the suggestions.  I also suggested that we show several videos and then have different members arrange the flowers.  My suggestion was to keep the program a secret so that our 'fight or flight' members would not plan a trip.  I suggested that we pull members' names out of a hat to do the arranging.  Had I been diabolic, I might have suggested that we 'stack' the deck with those 'flight risks'!

Lynn


At Lynn's suggestion, the Flower Show Committee presented a program "Flower Arranging Using Grocery Store Flowers" with a surprise participation segment similar to the competitive cooking show "Chopped" - without the Chop!  She requested that planning for the meeting should remain a 'secret', which we honored as best we could.  I, the Flower Show Chairman, opted for a little help from about 4 members of our committee. 

This is what we did.

First, we viewed several YouTube videos on "How to Arrange Flowers Using Grocery Store Flowers".  There were lots to see and lots of fun personalities.  We chose three that we thought were entertaining, not too long (2-3 minutes) and demonstrated distinct arrangements our club might be interested in.  This would be the foundation for our competition.

We introduced the program by engaging in a short skit that went somewhat like this:

Beth:  "I'm going to talk about Flower Arranging today. "
Anna: (with a loud, panicked shriek from the middle of the room that snapped us all to attention!) "Whhaaaat!!!  How do I arrange flowers?  I can't do it very well, and it is always so intimidating!?  I shouldn't have come today." (much laughter from the membership as they realized what was happening).
Beth:  (reassuring voice) "Stay calm, Anna.  We will make this easy!"
(More back and forth panic by Anna and reassurance from Beth).
Beth: "How about if we watch a few YouTube videos to help with this problem...it isn't hard...you can do it!"
Anna: (who was trapped at the front of the room; resignedly)  "Well, OK."

The first video (1:47 minutes) highlighted using a large mixed arrangement (both flowers and color) and made 7 arrangements.  We selected a taller thin rectangular vase.  (Re)Arranging Grocery Store Flowers with Oscar Mora | Architectural Digest.





The second video (6 minutes) highlighted 4-5 small separate flower bouquets with complimentary colors using a smaller/tighter vase, Arranging Store Bought Flowers (Fusion/Kim Foren/Geranium Lake)

                            


The third video (3 minutes)  highlighted white and green flowers using an approximately 8" tall cylinder.  Uses flowers of just 1-2 colors and fairly monochrome.  Easy Grocery Store Flower Arranging | Home Hacks | Theodore Leaf




All vases were of clear glass.  Each arrangement was to be based on one of the above videos. competitions. 

After watching the videos, we presented the group with a 'take-home' sheet of "Top Tips" for arranging with ideas that we learned from the videos.

Then the 'SURPRISE' and the competition began...three teams of 2 members each whose names were randomly drawn from a basket were assigned the task of arranging one of the above arrangements.  The supplies for each arrangement were all ready to go on tables and covered by a bedsheet to keep the secret during the meeting that was held before the workshop.  The three teams were given 10 minutes to complete their arrangements  The arrangements were beautiful!  We decided to have NO JUDGING!...just FUN! 

 

 
 














Congratulations and a big thank you to all the participants.  In addition, a prize of a $5 grocery store gift card (in our case, Kroger) was given to each participant.  Then, off to lunch!  Everyone seemed to enjoy the fun interactive program.
 
Beth
 
Supplies  & Equipment Needed: 
 Flowers from the grocery store
Screen/computer/video equipment to show the videos
Two 6' tables
Plastic drop cloths (cover tables for easy clean up)
3 vases
3 lazy Susan's
Water pitchers and water
1-3 frogs (depending on arrangements)
Knives/scissors/clippers
Kitchen timer
Floral tape (taped to the needed vases prior to the meeting and had all ready0
Bedsheet to cover the floral supplies and set ups
Basket & member names already prepared
Gift certificates
Trash bag









Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Tips & Tricks to take better iPhone photos!

Mary Payne presented a large number of helpful tricks and tips that can be found at: http://iphonephotographyschool.com/.  On YouTube search for Emil Pakarklis and you can view several videos from the founder of the iPhone photography school.  Try googling iPhone photography and there will be lots of reading for you.

Marjorie Cooke presented an overview of the iPhone basic editing tools within the Photo App itself, including crop tool, exposure, color enhancement, filters, and such.  She shared a list of three popular photo editing apps. 
 
(Note:  The links here go only to web sites.  For apps go to the app store on your phone)

1.      SNAPSEED – if you only download one app for photo editing, let it be this one!  It is FREE to download from the APP store and you will have fun with it, now that we have reviewed some editing basics.  This app even has a “healing” tool that allows you to remove unwanted objects from your photos!  Snapseed has a skin smoothing editing tool!

2.      VSCO is considered a stylish editing app with built in camera and photo sharing community – a fun bonus.  VSCO is FREE from the APP store and has an incredible range of preset filters.  Think iPhone filters x twenty! 

3.      CAMERA+ is another very popular editing tool and camera app.  It costs $2.99 from the APP store and is an incredibly powerful app with precise control over manual camera functions, including ISO, Shutter speed, white balance and focus.  It has a 30 second timer, and lots of handy layers of editing. 

Start with a good photo: 
  • subject matter
  • light
  • exposure
  • composition
Next, have fun manipulating and/or bringing out the best of your photo!

TOPICS FOR NEXT MEETING

Sharing photos/Storing photos/Managing photos – the challenges!

Anna has agreed to give us a program on LIGHT and its importance in PHOTOGRAPHY!

Consider entering a photo in one of the two online photography contests discussed!

Other apps worth taking a further look:  WaterlogueFilter Storm, Play Memories Mobile, Obscura, Pinterest (google flower photos and be amazed!) & Instagram
 
Some fun iPhone things we tried at our meeting!
 
Still Life

Panoramic
 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Metamorphosis: The remarkable life cycle of a Monarch

“When we tug at a single thing in nature, we find it attached to the rest of the world.” - John Muir 

Nature, a symphony, a beautiful piece of art, family and friends are all things that spiritually nurture and refresh me.  Seeing the amazing transformation of an insect from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to adult is one of those amazing miracles of nature that is definitely a WOW moment.

As part of our club's Pollinator project, I added milkweeds to my urban yard.  My front yard has morphed also from a hillside of creeping juniper (which did harbor snakes and frogs and provided habitat for the food chain) to a yard of black-eyed Susans, asters, milkweeds and other perennial pollinators. 

The first year that I added milkweeds (Asclepias incarnata or swamp milkweed), caterpillars showed up in the fall.  I was hooked.  Lots of caterpillars and lots of eggs.  I anxiously watched for the chrysalis, but none appeared.  I have seen so many in the Canaan Valley area of WV right on the milkweed plant itself.  Where were mine?  Must because of the sheer volume of them at Canaan.  I emailed the Monarch Lab at the Univ. of Minnesota; one of many of my go-to Monarch sites.  A reply was received the next day that the caterpillars can crawl as far as 40' away and equally as high to form the chrysalis and I may never spot one.  I could, though, bring one indoors and watch the metamorphosis.  I knew about how many days it would take for the egg to caterpillar to chrysalis stage, so I just had to get one at the right time.  Big, fat and about 10 to 14 days as life as a caterpillar (5 to 10 days from egg to caterpillar). 



Canaan Valley Monarch


Two small eggs among the aphids
and dirt.  Look for the two small pearly
white circle on the right side of the leaf.


New baby caterpillar.
Look closely to find them.
 
 
Look at all the caterpillars on just a few plants.


There are caterpillar castles, caterpillar hatching kits and many other aids.  All that is really needed though is a clear container or some sort and some screening on the top. And milkweed leaves!  I found a small (about 6"x6"), deep (6"-8")container and some screen in my basement.  I waited for the next batch of caterpillars and grabbed one at what I thought was the perfect size. 

This is Chrys - notice his size.

Day 1:  Beginner's luck as during the night after I brought him in(for some reason Anna and I decided this was a 'he' named Chrys), he climbed to the top of the box and attached to the screen.
Days 2 & 3:  Lots of frass (monarch poop) on the bottom of the container.  At the end of Day 3 the caterpillar started to curl.  I don't think he ate any of the milkweed leaves that I put in the container once he got to the top and attached to the screen.  I left the house around noon and returned by 4.  The caterpillar shed his skin and formed the chrysalis in that brief time.  I hope to actually see this transformation another year.

The caterpillar has climbed to the top of the box and preparing
to attach to the top.
 
Caterpillar frass (poop) in the bottom.  I kept a clean paper
towel on the bottom of the container.
 

Caterpillar starting to curl.
Notice the spot where it attaches in the red circle.

Day 4: The chrysalis is beautiful!

The chrysalis 2 days after formation!
Beautiful.  Love the gold dots around the top.
Botanical jewelry?














Day 5:  I have to go out of town, so with not much urging Anna takes over.  Anna is a beautiful photographer and the rest is her story!
Days 6&7: No change
Days 8&9: The top of the chrysalis is beginning to darken slightly.
Day 10: Faint, light gray lines rising up in a vertical path (wings?)
Day 11: Faint gray/black lines are more visible; definitely wings.  The top of the chyrsalis where it attaches is black
Day 12: Same
Day 13, 14 & 15:  More darkening of the lines.



“Copyright by L. Anna Forbes.  All rights reserved.”  



Day 16:  WOW.  Anna even delayed her departure to the Zone meeting so she could watch and photograph this amazing transformation.



“Copyright by L. Anna Forbes.  All rights reserved.”  
 
 
Full instructions can be found on the Monarch Lab's Rearing How-To's page.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

BUILDING A BEE HOUSE

Our ongoing study of pollinators and ways to help protect them with creating habitat will lead us to the native Mason Bee this spring.  The March Program will feature Steve Beckelhimer with the West Virginia Master Naturalist Program; Kanawha Valley Chapter.   At least one of our club members has completed the Master Naturalist Program and built a hive/house last year.  We're really looking forward to this program!

First, some brief information about the native Mason Bee: Blue Orchard Mason Bee (Osmia lignaria).  "Honeybees are very important to commercial agriculture, but native bees like the blue orchard bees are better and more efficient pollinators of native crops. There are 140 species of Osmia in North America. They are all known for visiting fruit trees, such as apples, plums, pears, almonds, and peaches. The blue orchard bee or Osmia lignaria, is prized for its efficiency pollinating fruit trees and is one of the few native pollinators that is managed in agriculture." (From the USDA Forest Service Site on the Blue Orchard Bee). 

I first saw insect houses in Switzerland and Germany several years ago.  The houses were fantastic. Very decorative and creative.  I wanted one!!

Stein am Rhein insect houses
 

Ottoschwanden Kurhaus (community center)insect house
 in Freiamt, Germany (Black Forest)
 
Fast forward to this past fall and a visit to the Canaan Valley (WV) National Wildlife Refuge and a trip to the Visitor Center.  Behind the center is a wonderful native habitat garden called The Pollinator Magnet Bed.  The day we visited in September was a very active day.  Monarch caterpillars were on the milkweed and looking closely you could see many other insect.  But, what caught my eye was the Insect Hotel.  I picked up the brochure to bring home and was soon in touch with Candy Olson who is a member of the Canaan Valley Master Naturalist and the one who took all the photos for their brochure as well as photos of the construction of the Insect Hotel.  She then got in touch with Dan Walker who wrote the brochure.  Both have been generous in their permission to share photos and text.  They both belong to a group called The Friends of the 500th established in 1996 (the Canaan refuge is the Nation's 500th National Wildlife Refuge). They are part of a national network of over 250 Friends groups committed to supporting, protecting and improving National Wildlife Refuge resources.

Quoting from the brochure:
The Friends have now entered the accommodations business with an Insect Hotel, shown in the picture below - built entirely with donated or recycled materials and volunteer labor.
 
When finished the hotel is designed to attract insects native to Canaan Valley, especially those that pollinate the native plants.  The roof, high profile, and open sides give air and sunlight to keep brooding areas warm and dry. 


House under roof awaiting the "suites."
 
 
 
House foundation under construction.
Adding the roof.

 
Who is a pollinator?
When we think of pollinations, we think of bees, but many other animals can play a role: pill bugs, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, wasps and amphibians, as well as bats and other small mammals - all can spread pollen.  Some birds are pollinators, too, such as the hummingbird, attracted for the sugary nectar.  Some visitors may come and go, but others such as bees and wasps may stay in t residence for an entire season going from the egg stage to the larval and ultimately to adulthood.  And contrary to what we might think, most pollination by bees and wasps is performed not by hived insects. 
Ready for occupancy.
 
Who lives where?  (Suites to the sweet?...)
Even if the Hotel is omplete and open for business when you see it, it may still look like a pile of miscellaneous junk.  But is is carefully designed so each insect-pollinator has an appropriate "suite."
 
Notice the following "suites":
Cones and bits of dry bark:  Some beetles and other boring insects like these.  They do not weigh much, so they can stay on the light wire screen under the roof. 
 
Bricks with small holes:  wasps and hornets like these long dry tunnels.
Cut logs:  These will have lots of little holes drilled in them. solitary wasps and bees, such as mason bees, will like those.

 
 
A year later.
Bundles of canes (in the clay pipes):  These also appeal to insects looking for places to hide and nest.
 












There are lots of great sites out there with photos and instructions on building a bee house.  Below are a few favorite links.
 
 
To follow in March - building our own Insect Hotel!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

MONARCH NURSERY AT THE CARRIAGE TRAIL

Seeds were planted for Kanawha Garden Club's Pollinator Project nearly three years ago.  Garden Club of America (GCA) has long been concerned with the decline of habit, pollinators, the use of pesticides and other related topics.  Pollinators in Peril: The Challenge was issued as a result. 

Garden Clubs and Individuals CAN and DO make a difference.  GCA provided a list of five things that can be done in your own backyard.
1. Eliminate or reduce the use of pesticides in your garden.   Do No Harm!  Use pesticides only if needed, read labels, apply carefully if needed and avoid neonicotinoids. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension).  You can also ask at your local nursery where their plants are from and buy only from reputable sources that have not been pretreated with neonicotinoids.
2.  Plant for bees and butterflies.  Check with your local & state DNR and native plants societies for plants specific to your area. Lots of sites exist - a few other sites that include lists are The Pollinator Partnership, The Xerces Society and Gardens with Wings (enter your zipcode to find a list of butterflies for your area and the plants that will attract them.
3.  Become involved in your community. Visit your local parks, public gardens and median strips.  Work with your city or park department to avoid pesticides (Charleston Public Grounds is very good!)  Becoming involved ties in with #4 &#5.
4.  Encourage your club to have a pollinator project.  See the description below for our Pollinator Projects.
5.  Plan a program for a garden club about Pollinators.

As GCA challenges us, we also challenge you to make a difference - beginning in your own backyard.  Collectively we can all help.

Kanawha Garden Club first took up the Pollinator Challenge by planting milkweed seeds through our Horticulture Committee.  In March, 2015 our group planted seeds of several different varieties of milkweed native to our area (see Marvelous Milkweeds to Help Save our Monarchs on our blog Sprouts).  By June, 2015 we had several dozen pots of milkweeds to distribute to our membership.  You can follow the progress of these plants on that blog.

August of 2015 our Conservation Committee decided to approach our club and The Carriage Trail to create a milkweed/monarch specific garden The Carriage Trail.  The trail is described below and is a tremendously popular walking trail.  It is listed as a National Recreational Trail. (This site is a great reference site for trails you may want to visit while on vacation)  This project is also described on our blog, Sprouts.http://wvsprouts.blogspot.com/2016/06/pollinators-in-peril-our-pollinator.html and copied below is part of that post. 
"The Sunrise Carriage Trail gently zigzags 0.65 mile and descends 180 feet from the Sunrise Mansion located at 746 Myrtle Road to Justice Row, which is adjacent to the south end of the Southside Bridge. The Trail property is a peaceful and varied landscape of towering trees, wildflowers, ornamental plantings, and historic masonry remains. The Carriage Trail was originally constructed in approximately 1905 by former Governor William A. MacCorkle for the use of oxen-drawn wagons carrying massive stone building materials for the Mansion. Later, Governor MacCorkle used the Trail for his horse-drawn carriage"
An add-on to the trail was the acquisition of Justice Row made possible by a gift from the Hess brothers.  Justice Row was formerly a short spur road with several very small buildings that served originally as offices for local Justices of the Peace.  These were demolished many years ago and the property was acquired and added on to the trail.

At the end of the property there is a small parking area and just beyond that an area approximately 15x15 that receives enough daily sun to host a monarch garden.  In the fall of 2015, our Conservation Committee proposed the establishment of a Monarch Garden.  Accepted by both our board and The Carriage Trail, trays of plants of three varieties of milkweeds were reserved through Prairie Moon.


Monarch Waystation sign.
Your garden can be certified through
MonarchWatch.org
We ordered Asclepias sullivantii, Asclepias incarnata and Asclepias tuberosa.  Plants were received in May, 2016 and on June 1 members of our Conservation Committee as well as members of The Carriage Trail installed the plants.  National Park quality signage was installed in September and October we received recognition as an official Monarch Waystation.  The milkweeds loved the site and showed tremendous growth.  No monarch eggs and caterpillars were sighted - a major disappointment but we are hopeful that they will find our garden next year! 

The proposed site.  To the left is a rock cliff, on the right behind the
 fence are train tracks. A parking lot for The Carriage Trail is in front of
the large rock.  The area is approx. 15x15. The City of Charleston helped
clear and prepare the site and partnered with us throughout the summer.
 
        

 
The photo above on the left shows our June planting party; the one on the right growth by late August.
 
 
 
 
 
Above is our 'Monarch Nursery Garden signage that will educate the public about the importance of milkweed in monarch habitat and migration.
 
Waiting now for late spring 2017 emergence of the milkweeds! 



Thursday, February 2, 2017

LET'S BRING BACK THE HEALTHY LAWN



Reprinted with permission.  Written by Fraser Gibson Davis - Tuckahoe Garden Club of Westhampton, Richmond, VA

A pristine green carpet of one type of turf grass has become the expected standard for our lawns.  This uniform carpet of green, the Industrial Lawn, may appear healthy, but it is just the opposite. A monthly regime of toxic pesticides and herbicides is necessary to keep a monoculture of grass green all year. 

A healthy lawn, on the other hand, is one that is healthy for you, your children, pets, birds, bees, and butterflies.  It is a lawn that does not contribute toxins to our storm water thereby polluting our rivers and our drinking water.  Its upkeep does not kill beneficial insects that feed our birds, nor does its maintenance kill beneficial microbes that keep our soil fertile.  A healthy lawn is a green lawn comprised predominantly of turf grasses with a smattering of clover, violets and other broadleaves.

The Industrial Lawn is a post World War 2 introduction.  The companies that produced chemicals during the war to eradicate malaria-infected mosquitoes and to increase crop production to feed troops here and abroad began marketed their new herbicide and fertilizer products to homeowners after the war.  So began the quest for the perfect, weed-free lawn in every American suburb. If you visit Europe, notice their lawns.  They are not single stands of turf grass; they are a visually appealing, healthy mix of turf grasses and broadleaves. 
By changing our expectation of what a lawn should look like and tempering our use of toxic herbicides and pesticides, we can greatly contribute to human health and to the health of our environment.

TRANSITIONING TO A HEALTHY LAWN
Fall is the best time to transition to a healthy lawn.  You can try it yourself or call an environmentally responsible lawn care company.  The trick is to figure out what companies are committed to the environment.   A good place to start is to contact one of Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s certified lawn care companies.  DCR’s  ‘Green and Clean’ program annually certifies lawn companies who adhere to their Nitrogen application regulations and recommended lawn care practices. This means that these companies are not putting an excessive amount of fertilizer on lawns and so are not contributing to the algae blooms in our waterways.  Richmond’s 2016 ‘Green and Clean’ lawn companies are Project Green, Natural Lawn of America, Organicare Inc., Mikes’ Lawn and Landscape LLC, LG Scott Solutions and James River Grounds Management.  The certification does not however require these companies to use organic products nor does it regulate their chemical herbicide and pesticide use.  For the most part, these companies are dedicated to the health of the environment and so are careful with the use of chemicals. However, this is a topic the homeowner needs to discuss with the provider to decide how little if any synthetic herbicides and pesticides the homeowner wants to use. 
The strategy behind a healthy lawn is to improve the health of the soil. With fertile soil, turf grasses suited to our climate will succeed without the use of toxic chemicals.  Since most weeds thrive in barren, compacted soil, we need to increase the soil’s organic content and biological diversity.  The use of petroleum based chemicals kills the beneficial organisms that make the soil fertile. Therefore, chemically treated lawns can never sustain themselves and require constant chemical applications. The following lawn care practices will help you to transition to a healthy lawn and break the pesticide/herbicide addiction.  An environmentally responsible lawn care company should adhere to similar practices.
SEPTEMBER:   Test Soil to determine whether or not your soil needs fertilizer and/or lime.  Fill a couple of sandwich bags with soil samples from your lawn and take it to Southern States, and they will send it away for soil analysis.  You will get the test results in about 2 weeks.
Core Aerate to alleviate compaction and to allow oxygen to enter the soil, thereby allowing the beneficial microbes to thrive.
Compost to improve the population of microorganisms in the soil. Spread 1/4” layer of very finely textured compost on the lawn.  This is available at Yard Works on Patterson Avenue (804) 360-0311.  They will blow it on your lawn or you can rake it over the lawn yourself.  Compost teas are available on line.
Over-seed with a mix of Tall fescues for a sunny lawn and a mix of Tall, Chewning’s and Creeping Red fescue for shady areas. These are the turf grasses that are suited to our climate in Richmond, VA.   Southern States sells Blue and Gold label seed that has 0% weed content.  Project Green (804) 299-5322 will sell you the turf grass blend that they have custom-mixed for our area.
OCTOBER: Fertilize your lawn with an organic source of Nitrogen in mid-October.  An average lawn requires between 3 and 4 lbs. of Nitrogen per 1,000 square feet annually. Do not apply more than .9 lb. per 1,000 sf per season.  Any more will not be absorbed by the soil and will end up in our ground water, streams and rivers and will cause environmental damage and pollute our drinking water.  Apply .9 lb. per 1,000 sf in the fall, .9 lb. per 1,000 sf in the spring (March/April) and .9 lb. per 1,000 sf in early June.  Use an organic Nitrogen fertilizer like Safer Brand’s Ringer Lawn Restore (available at Home Depot and online). It also includes potassium to help with root growth. If your lawn is composed of 5% white clover (which fixes Nitrogen from the atmosphere), the clover will provide your lawn with 2 lbs. of Nitrogen per year.  Keeping the clippings on the lawn after mowing will also deliver 2 lbs of Nitrogen annually in addition to delivering phosphorous and potassium.  If you have both clover and grass clippings, you will not need to fertilize.
Lime in late October at least two weeks after applying Nitrogen.  Lawns require a pH between 5.5 and 7.0.  Our soils tend to be more acidic, and so an annual application of lime is usually required. 
Weed control is the most difficult obstacle when going organic.  Corn gluten has been used as a pre-emergent weed killer with mixed reviews.  Hand-weeding and spot-spraying with a vinegar/citrus oil mix are two other options.  If a large weed infestation occurs, you may need to resort to an emergency chemical application.  I would recommend calling Project Green in the event of a weed infestation as they will take care of it in the most environmentally responsible way possible.
Transitioning to a healthy lawn is not simple. Take it from someone who tried going cold turkey and abandoned all chemicals at once.  I do not recommend this approach.  Instead, gradually taper your lawn’s reliance on chemicals while improving the health of your soil.  It may take a year or two to get your soil healthy enough to support your healthy lawn. Project Green or one of the other DCR’s ‘Green and Clean’ certified lawn companies can help you with this transition.  If you want to try it on your own, a great on-line resource for information about organic lawn and garden care is the website Beyond Pesticides.
If you would like to learn more about the dangers of pesticides, check out http://www.chem-tox.com/pesticides/
I am hoping we can help change our lawn care habits. Let’s join the Queen of England and bring the European lawn back into fashion!  It truly is beautiful, and our children, pets, birds, bugs, rivers, streams and drinking water will be safe.       

 

Reprinted with permission.  Written by Fraser Gibson Davis - Tuckahoe Garden Club of Westhampton, Richmond, VA

POLLINATORS IN PERIL


Why Pollinators?

Dr. Doug Tallamy, author of 'Bringing Nature Home', says it best.  Reprinted with permission from his website, he states:  "Gardening for Life:  Chances are, you have never thought of your garden - indeed, of all of the space on your property - as a wildlife preserve that represents the last chance we have for sustaining plants and animals that were once common throughout the U.S.  but that is exactly the role our suburban landscapes are now playing and will play even more in the near future."

Our page focuses on providing resource links to pollinators and the fight for biodiversity.  Many of these links provide plant lists to help you with plants specific to your growing zone.  Also highlighted is our club's Pollinator Project, co-sponsored with The Carriage Trail and the City of Charleston.

Kanawha Garden Club sponsored  a free/open-to-the-public lecture by Dr. Tallamy in April, 2015.  His message is one we should all hear and follow.  Dr. Tallamy is a Garden Club of America Honorary Member.  He is professor and chair of the entomology and wildlife ecology department at the University of Delaware.  "He has written more than 70 research articles during his 32 year career studying insect-plant interactions and the loss of biodiversity in suburban landscapes.  His research focuses on better understanding the interaction of insects with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities.  Bringing Nature Home explores how gardening in this crowded world carries both moral and ecological responsibilities that can no longer be ignored.  Dr. Tallamy argues that native plants play a key role in the restoration of our landscapes because only natives provide the coevolved relationships required by most animals.  By supporting a diversity of insect herbivore, native plants provide food for a large and healthy community of natural enemies that keep herbivores in balance and our gardens aesthetically pleasing  With as many as 33,000 species imperiled in the United States, it is clear that we must change our approach to gardening and landscaping if we hope to share the spaces in which we live and work with other things."

News paper articles by or about Dr.Tallamy include some of the following:
To Feed the Birds, First Feed the Bugs:  NY Times Anne Raver, March 6, 2008
The Chickadees Garden:  NY Times Op-Ed March 11, 2015
Why Native Plants Matter:  Audubon with a video by Dr. Tallamy


National Reference Sites:

US Fish & Wildlife Service: Pollinators
Pollinator Partners: Protect their lives, Preserve ours
USDA Forest Service: Wildflowers: Pollinators
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services New Hampshire
The Xerces Society:  a nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat.  For over 40 years, the Society has been at the forefront of the invertebrate protection worldwide, harnessing the knowledge of scientists and the enthusiasm of citizens to implement conservation programs.
Pollinators Keep the World Green: Dr. Scott Shalaway Charleston (WV) Sunday Gazette-Mail June 22, 2014

Bee Specific Articles

Rare Bumblebee Rebounding:  Sightings create hopeful buzz about future:  Sandi Doughon, The Seattle Times  June 27, 2014
Bees of singular Tastes & The Plants They Love:  Arlington Regional Master Naturalists; May 29, 2015
UN Science Report Warns of Few Bees:  Feb. 2016
Gardeners Flock to Bee's Defense:  Josephine Marcotty: The Star Tribune: May 8, 2016

Butterflies
Monarch Watch
Monarch Lab @ The University of Minnesota
Protecting Monarchs NAPPC
Monarch Butterfly Migration Numbers Down by 27% in Mexico


Trees
A fight for Urban Trees:  Lynda V. Mapes; The Seattle Times; August 2014
WV Native Plantings - WVDNR