Healing the earth, one yard at a time.
Canada Mayflower, Maianthemum canadense, (A native alternative to Lily of the Valley)
Photo: Elmer Verhasselt,
MAY 2020 e-News
In this issue:
  • May 18  Program - Plants and Ecology of Aman Park — Hike CANCELED
    Alternate program will be made available.
  • River City Chapter's First Webinar Program
  • May 9–23 - Garlic Mustard Drop Off at Cascade Township Hall
  • Native Plant Sales
  • Sacred Grounds Virtual Rainscaping Workshop
  • Native Plant Exchange to be held at June Program
  • Program Committee Volunteer Opportunity
  • Wild Ones River City Chapter has a New Facebook Group!
  • Natives to Know - Canada Mayflower, Maianthemum canadense
    Compiled by Joyce Tuharsky
  • Native Plants hold Memories
  • Ants do What?!?
  • Ranger Steve's Nature Niche
  • Douglas Tallamy in Smithsonian Magazine
  • Learn More About the Importance of Native Plants
    Doug Tallamy's books and videos
  • Selecting Plants for Pollinators
  • The Native Plant Guild
  • Wild Ones River City Shop at CafePress
Scroll down for details.
A multitude of Virginia Bluebells at Aman Park. Photo by Ruth Oldenburg

May 18 - Plants and Ecology of Aman Park ***Hike is CANCELED***

Were you curious about the May 18 program scheduled for 6:30 at Aman Park entitled Plants and Ecology of Aman Park: A Tour Led by Botanists With Over 50 Years of Experience?

The Program Committee wanted to let you know that there will still be a program on May 18 on the Plants and Ecology of Aman Park. Because this spring is different for so many of us, we wanted to find a new (and safe) way to learn about the unique ecosystems that are found at Aman Park. Instead of a walking in the City of Grand Rapids park to explore the Ecology, Spring Wildflowers and History now we will be bringing the tour to you.

Stay tuned for additional details coming your way via email.

 Cedar Waxwing on Serviceberry tree • Photo by Valerie Lindeman

River City Chapter Hosted Its First Webinar Program

Wild Ones River City held its first chapter webinar program on April 27, 2020 titled, Birds, Insects, Native Plants and Much MoreThe webinar was presented by the Chairperson of the Education Committee, Marty MacCleery.

This program was a digital remake of the program originally scheduled for March 16, but which was later canceled due to COVID-19.

This ZOOM webinar required the energy and passion of Marty and of a number of individuals including the Board itself.  

We plan to provide a link to the presentation, so you can enjoy it whether you attended or not.
So stay tuned!

Helpful links to resources and books that support this webinar are listed on our website under Webinar Links.

If you attended our webinar, please take our short survey on Survey Monkey.

Garlic Mustard Drop-Off Site Through May 23
Thorn Hills Fire Station
2865 Thornhills, Grand Rapids, MI 49546

A free service of Cascade Township
Place bagged garlic mustard in the dumpster behind the fire station.
Spring Native Plant Sales
(Sales may be subject to change—check the websites before you go)

Download the updated 2020 Native Plant Vendor List

Calvin Ecosystem Preserve & Native Gardens Annual Native Plant Sale
May 2nd Sale is POSTPONED due to the COVID-19 pandemic
The sale will be rescheduled, possibly in early June. Wild Ones will be notified.

Kent Conservation District (KCD) Annual Native Tree and Wildflower Sales
Saturday, May 2 • 10 am–3 pm
Tree and Shrub pre-orders are closed.

Instructions on pick-up are here and on the website and will be emailed. 
Schedule pickup via 
signup genius.

Native Forbs, Grasses, and Sedges
Download the Spring 2020 pre-order form
Saturday, May 23 • 10 am–3 pm 
Wildflower pre-orders due: May 5

Accepting orders for wildflowers and a small list of available potted woody plants for pre-order on the websiteReserve via check or credit card which we process after you have picked up your order. The online store for wildflowers is closed due to COVID-19, but you may place an order through postal mail or email at or call anytime 248.245.3977. Instructions will be emailed you for the KCD social distancing pick-up on Saturday, May 23rd. 
3260 Eagle Park Dr. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
616.942.4111 x100 •


Love the native plants but struggle to get them planted? KDC is now offering plant installation for your native plants and trees purchased through Kent Conservation District Native Plant Sale.

Estimated cost: $40/hr on-site (2-member crew). For more information, contact the strike team at 616.222.5801 or email:

The Kent Strike Team has experienced native plant installers that have time to assist you before the busy invasive species treatment season begins in late June through October.

The team can:

  • Install plants bought from conservation district sales
  • spread on-site mulch  
  • deliver plants purchased through our sale to your location (if we are also installing)
  • consult on planting ideas 

The team is sorry but we do not have the resources to:

  • haul brush or sod off-site
  • move or shape the landscape
  • design large projects (we can provide information on who can, such as the
    Native Plant Guild)
  • deliver or estimate materials

Sacred Grounds Virtual Rainscaping Workshop

Thursday, May 14 • 6:30–7:30 pm

All are welcome to come and learn about the National Wildlife Federation Sacred Grounds and LGROW Rainscaping Programs.

In this workshop you will learn the purpose and benefits of native plants and how to design, install, and maintain native plant gardens. These gardens provide beauty, habitat for wildlife, and help to improve water quality and decrease local flooding. 

All participants will receive a voucher for $50 worth of FREE native plants!

The workshop is open to all, but registration is required.

Follow this link to register.

Note that the vouchers for native plants from Kent Conservation District will be sent following the webinar and we will provide instruction for order and safe plant pickup during the webinar. The vouchers will be good for both the Spring and Fall 2020 plant sales.

June 15 Native Plant Exchange

Event subject to change. You will be notified by email. 

The Wild Ones River City Chapter's Annual Native Plant Exchange will be held after our June 15 program at Rockford Community Cabin, 220 N Monroe St., Rockford, MI 49341. 

Bring favorite native plants from your yard to share with your fellow Wild Ones and take some home for yourself. All plants are FREE! The Plant Exchange will take place in the parking lot after the program.

Native Plant Exchange Rules of Etiquette:
The purpose of the Plant Exchange is to foster natural landscaping with native plants. Please bring plants to share from your garden that you know to be true native species, please no invasive exotics!

  • Respect Plants. Plants may not get planted immediately, pot them up well so they can survive.
  • Please provide species labels for the transplants and label them with moisture/sun requirements.
  • Respect Yourself. Just starting out? Don't have plants to bring? Of course, you may still take plants! In fact, that is one of the main purposes of the Plant Exchange. We all had to get started somehow, and when native plants start doing really well in your yard, bring some back to share. It is the "Plant It Forward" concept!
  • Respect Others. If there are only a few pots of a particular species, please take only one so that others may have a chance to get one too.

Program Committee Volunteer Opportunity

Are you interested in getting more involved with Wild Ones River City Chapter? 
If so, the Program Committee could use your assistance with future programs. No background or experience needed, just a willingness to assist in the development and organization of our programs as well as being willing to attend future WORC Chapter meetings. Just looking for a few new committee members! If interested contact Ginny Wanty at

Ones River City Chapter now
has a Private Facebook Group!

Ask to join by clicking on the blue bar located under our name and profile picture on our Facebook page. "Visit Group" is written on the blue bar under our name and profile photo. Join to share photos of native plants and have conversations with other native plant lovers!

Canada Mayflower, Maianthemum canadense
Compiled by Joyce Tuharsky

Do you have partially or deeply shaded areas on your property that are difficult to 
cultivate? Consider the Canada Mayflower. A native perennial, the Canada Mayflower is an unusual member of the Liliaceae or Lily Family in that it has only 2 petals, 2 sepals, and 4 stamens instead of the usual 3-3-6 pattern. It is a low plant, only 3–6 inches tall that blankets woodlands with its short often zigzag stems and two shiny, oval leaves. The leaves, up to 3 x 2" in size, are smooth with parallel leaf venation. The plant spreads by rhizomes; a single clone can be up to 19 feet in diameter.

The Latin name, Maianthemum, means May blossom—an appropriate name since the plant flowers in the month of May. The blooms consist of dense clusters of tiny, white, star-shaped flowers that are held upright on delicate stems 1 to 1 1⁄2 inches long. During the summer, the flowers are replaced by small (1/8 inch) green-dotted berries that ripen to a deep red. These fruits persist throughout winter providing food during the Spring for Ruffed Grouse, White-Footed Mouse, and Eastern Chipmunk. It is one of the most common understory plants found near great owl nest sites.

The distribution of the Canada Mayflower extends from northern British Columbia south to Montana/Wyoming and east to Atlantic Coast. It is common in the Great Lakes region and can be found on Isle Royal. Habitats include sandy woodlands, north-facing wooded slopes, shaded bogs, and sandstone ledges along ravines in wooded areas.

Some other common names for the Canada Mayflower are False Lily-of-the-Valley or
Wild Lily-of-the-Valley.

Photos and more information available at:

Native Plants Hold Memories 

"My father was one of the first wildflower 'gardeners' I ever knew. When I built my home, he brought me a shovelful of bloodroot to plant in our rather bare, urban woods. Here’s the result twenty years on (it’s also popping up our neighbor’s yards). Dad’s been gone for ten years, but his legacy lives on."

—Marty Arnold, Past President
Wild Ones River City Chapter

Reprinted from The Stewardship Network News
Ants do What?!?

Printed with permission from Wild Ones Habitat Gardening in New York Chapter, from their April 15, 2020 newsletter.

Plants have to disperse their seeds if new seedlings are to have a good chance to grow in the right conditions and without being crowded by the mother plant. For example, animals ingest berries and deposit seeds in their droppings, wind disperses seeds, some stick to animal fur (or our clothing), some float downstream.

But many plants—including many spring ephemerals—rely on ants to do the job. There's even a term for this: myrmecochory.

The plant takes advantage of ants' preference for animal-based food by creating seeds with elaiosomes, a specialized fat body whose chemical composition matches that of insects. [The photo shows a twinleaf, Jeffersonia diphylla seed with the elaiosome attached to the upper left.] The ants take them back to their nest to eat, then discard the seed, effectively planting it a short distance from the mother plant.

As our Spring ephemerals—such as trilliums, dutchman's breeches, trout lilies, and
others—develop seeds, see if you observe ants taking an interest!

The Natural Web blog has a good article on this phenomenon.
Ranger Steve’s Nature Niche Articles

Ranger Steve’s Nature Niche is published weekly in two newspapers, quarterly in the Michigan Alliance for Environmental and Outdoor Education Newsletter and in the National Association for Interpretation Naturalist International Newsletter as well as in some monthly newsletters. For those interested in reading Ranger Steve’s Nature Niche articles, they are archived by the Cedar Springs Post and can be easily accessed. The topics are varied with a focus mostly on ecological events but include plant articles like the one published 2 April 2020 called Deadly Alien Beauty. To enjoy his articles, use the link below and scroll to titles of interest. The paper has archived articles back to 2013. He has published about 550 Nature Niche articles, so during this time of lockdown you can read to your heart’s content. Also, Ranger Steve Mueller is a member of Wild Ones and will be submitting new articles monthly for WORC e-News.

Visit for access to articles including his recent one titled The Art of Flowering.
Douglas Tallamy in Smithsonian Magazine

Meet the Ecologist Who Wants You to Unleash the Wild on
Your Backyard

By Jerry Adler, Smithsonian Magazine 
April 2020

Fed up with invasive species and sterile landscapes, Douglas Tallamy urges Americans to go native and go natural. 

"Homegrown National Park is meant to bring about not just a horticultural revolution, but a cultural one, bridging the human-dominated landscape and the natural world."  
—Douglas Tallamy

Read the article here.
Photo: Smithsonian Magazine
Learn More About the Importance of Native Plants

Consider Doug Tallamy's new book Nature's Best Hope as well as his two previous books: Bringing Nature Home and The Living Landscape.

And here are some videos of Doug Tallamy's previous interviews and presentations:

Nature's Best Hope (1 hr. 23 min.) March 3, 2020

Doug Tallamy in His Garden (29 min.): Eco-Beneficial interview by Kim Eierman
Check out this FREE download: 
Selecting Plants for Pollinators

a Regional Guide for Farmers, Land Managers, and Gardeners
(Eastern Broadleaf Forest Continental Province)
The guide includes the Grand Rapids area. 
Native Plant Guild
by Andrea Lubberts
Plaster Creek Stewards

The Native Plant Guild (NPG) is an alliance of local businesses and organizations that offers West Michigan a variety of ecological landscaping services. 

It began as an idea, a seed. 

A Seed Germinates
Native plants 
small, but work together to improve water quality, provide habitat, and beauty. The Native Plant Guild began in a similar manner in 2017 as a small group of individual growers, landscape designers, and educators who saw the need to connect homeowners, businesses, and institutions with the resources needed for native plants and landscapes. Today, this alliance serves as a one stop shop for clients who need assistance with their native landscape projects.

Leaves Expand
Recent history has seen an increase in the public’s interest and demand for native plants due to education and more common environmental practices. Consequently, the demand for native plants and experienced assistance to develop sustainable gardens has expanded. Each year new businesses join NPG, new projects require collaboration, and new opportunities to work with area partners outside of NPG unfold. 

Biodiverse Communities Grow
The healthiest, most sustainable native landscapes are those with a rich diversity of plants, working symbiotically, producing a balancing effect on the areas around them. Collaboration is an identifying feature of NPG as well. An email is sent with a project request, and in no time at 
all a project team is assembled from available members. In this way, members are able to support each other and the group can act as a full-service entity.

Seeds Disperse
The interest in native plant landscapes continues to grow every year and more organizations see NPG as a source for help in green infrastructure, training for student interns, as well as a dependable variety of native plant species for all settings. NPG envisions native landscapes as the norm and more guilds like this cultivated throughout the Midwest to serve those interested in landscaping that goes beyond beautiful.

You can learn more about and contact the members of this group at their website, and
– The following is a sponsored advertisement –


Wild OnesRiver City-Grand Rapids Area is a chapter of Wild Ones, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization under Internal Revenue Code section 501(C)(3.) As such, Wild OnesRiver City Chapter (WORC) does not endorse or promote any business entity which produces or markets native plants or seeds, or which provides landscape design or installation services. The list of local vendors is provided for informational purposes only, and Wild OnesRiver City Chapter disclaims any and all liability for the quality of planning, materials, or workmanship of businesses included in its list of local vendors.

Wild Ones River City Shop at CafePress


Visit to purchase our logo merchandise such as men's and women's apparel, hats, aprons, mugs, totes, and more! Proceeds help further our mission of promoting the use of native plants in the landscape. 
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