Michigan Lily, Lilium michiganense blooms for the first time since planted 5 years ago
at our Native Plant Education Garden at 920 Cherry St. SE. Photo by Marty Arnold.
AUGUST 2020 e-NEWS
In this issue:
August Program Cancelled
Native Plant & Shrub Sale a Success!
Sacred Grounds Program Initiatives
Doug Tallamy's Nature's Best Hope video available on YouTube
September 24 - Heather Holm Free Webinar
Ranger Steve's Nature Niche: Mid and Late Summer Flowers
Hello, my name is Susan!
Natives to Know: Cup Plant, Silphium perfoliatum
Become a Seed Collection Volunteer with Project Wingspan
Invasive Species Network Online Programs
Wild Ones River City Shop at CafePress
Pictured above: Volunteers Linda Gary and Lea Sevigny check orders at the 2020 Native Plant Sale.
AUGUST PROGRAM CANCELLED
Yes, the August 16 program is cancelled. Please don’t despair, the WORC Program Committee has re-scheduled Jessie Schulte’s program at Greenwood Cemetery Invasive Species Action: Best Practices to Protect Michigan’s Native Flora & Fauna from Intruders to August 16, 2021.
Jessie Schulte is the District Manager of the Kent Conservation District and is our area’s invasive expert. On August 16, 2021, while on a walking tour of Greenwood Cemetery which has a diverse representation of invasive species, Jessie will show us examples of invasive species, and discuss successful treatments. As you know invasive species are a significant issue impacting the Wild Ones mission of successfully establishing native plants in the landscape within our community.
Below are two of the many invasive species at Greenwood Cemetery—Black Jetbead and Chocolate Vine.
Left: Black Jetbead - Photo: Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org Right: Chocolate Vine Photo: Nancy Loewenstein, Auburn University, Bugwood.org
We are hoping to be able to meet outdoors at Wittenbach Wege Center in Lowell on September 21. The program will be Treasures of the Edible & Ecological Gardens presented by Courtney Cheers, Director, WWC. More information to come in the September e-News.
Tammy Lundeen, native plant grower and Wild Ones volunteer, helps a customer load up her plants.
7th ANNUAL NATIVE PLANT SALE GOES VIRTUAL AND BREAKS SALES RECORDS
In April, the WORC board debated whether to cancel the seventh annual native plant sale and garden tour. On the one hand, a large, public fundraiser in the middle of a worldwide epidemic in our Native Plant Education Garden would be risky, but cancellation would mean financial loss to our chapter and to the growers who supply our plants. After weighing the pros and cons, the board decided to enter new territory and “go virtual.” Communications chair, Ruth Oldenburg got to work creating a colorful and detailed on-line store. Treasurer Ann Nowak managed our Pay Pal account and kept track of sales. Marty Arnold and Keasha Palmer used Sign-Up Genius to schedule pick-up times and volunteers. WORC was back in business! Event chair Marty Arnold is proud of the board’s problem-solving skills. “There was no template to follow, but everyone just dove into it and figured things out.”
In addition, the Education Committee, chaired by Marty MacCleery, developed attractive information packets for each customer. I.C.C.F., our host at 920 Cherry SE, offered the use of their parking lot, garden hose and bathrooms for pick-up day. Amy Heilman, who chairs the garden committee, created a species list and worked with four growers to make sure orders could be fulfilled.
On June 15, the store opened to members and friends of WORC and went live to the public a week later. In total, 96 orders were placed and 565 plants and related merchandise were sold.
The on-line format offered some advantages, says Ruth Oldenburg. “When popular plants sold, we were able to order more from our growers. As a result, we sold more plants than last year.”
On Monday morning, July 20, growers and Wild Ones volunteers arrived wearing masks to unload, sort, check and double-check 96 plant orders. From 4:00 to 8:30 customers drove through the parking lot to receive their orders without leaving their cars. (In the meantime, volunteers did some serious “catching up" at a safe social distance.)
Special thanks to Jeanette Henderson from Calvin Ecosystem Preserve and grower Tammy Lundeen, owner of She is Growing Wild, for their expertise on pickup day.
Each customer also received two free plants, an orange milkweed and a swamp milkweed, grown and donated by Mike and Carol Klug and the Kalamazoo Chapter of Wild Ones.
“It took some real creativity—and a lot of fortitude—to pull off this year’s event,” says Arnold. “The board, the growers and the member-volunteers all came through for WORC.”
A major setback this year was Brewery Vivant’s inability, due to Covid-19, to offer their Buck-a Beer fundraiser—a loss of about $700 in expected revenue. However, this year's additional plant sales nearly made up to the loss.
“By all measures the event was a great success,” Arnold says. “But next year I look forward to being back in our beautiful Native Plant Education Garden persuading a novice gardener to try growing a native plant. That’s what we do best.”
We would like to thank our growers for their high quality plants and shrubs:
Sacred Grounds™ is a National Wildlife Federation Garden for Wildlife™ program that recognizes congregations, houses of worship, and faith communities in the Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic regions, who both create wildlife habitat and actively link faith practices and caring for the environment.
Part I - $1500 mini grants to 5 faith communities to install wildlife habitats offered through the National Wildlife Federation. Mai Allyn Pham is looking for leads on 5 more faith communities who might be interested. Her email is: email@example.com.
Part II - Virtual Rainscaping Workshop on Wednesday, August 12 from 6:30–8:00 pm offered through the Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds (LGROW).
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 rainscaping practices. Registrants will receive $50 gift certificate toward Kent Conservation District’s Fall Plant sale on 10/17/20 (as long as they haven’t received a voucher previously).
NATURES BEST HOPE - Doug Tallamy Webinar If you missed Doug Tallamy's live webinar sponsored by Wild Ones you can still view it on YouTube.
Wild Ones Presents:
AN EVENING WITH HONORARY DIRECTOR, HEATHER HOLM You are invited to hear Heather Holm, Biologist, and author of Bee: An Identification and Native Plant Forage Guide and Pollinators of Native Plants as she discusses fall yard care and how-to strategies to protect our native pollinators.
Mid and Late Summer Flowers By Ranger Steve Mueller
The progression of flower blooms advances faster than I can keep record or even identify. Grasses and sedges bloom with cryptic flowers. Many are fairly easy to identify but it takes practice. I should have taken a grass and sedge course to become more proficient. Biodiversity is massive and more than any one person can master.
Last year I presented research results on the Moths and Butterflies of the Bryce Canyon Ecosystem - Utah at the U of California Davis campus for scientists from around the world. I identified myself as “competently incompetent”. Scientists focus their life’s work on a narrow group of species to become competent with details of anatomy, physiology, DNA/RNA, and ecology of a particular group.
College professors encouraged me to focus study on a small group if I hoped to make significant scientific contributions and become employable. Instead I focused on broad spectrum biodiversity. It was beneficial for my selected career as a nature center naturalist. I was able to assist visitors with discovery of species and ecological niches for most groups. I did not become highly proficient with any one group, including plants.
As Spring burst upon us, many showy flowers captured our attention and enthusiasm. We became anxious to spend time outdoors in refreshingly warm weather. Some of us collect Spring morels, others seeks edible leaves, flowers, and fruits, while many focus enjoyment on the pageant of beauty. Early Summer flowers replaced spring’s large flowers with smaller showy beauties followed by late Summer abundant blooms.
We become engrossed in yard upkeep, summer family activities, and plants living in our yards. We could become enthralled with the insects that visit flowers for nectar. Any one plant has a cadre of insects that visit. Predatory insects and spiders take residence among flowers where they wait for a meal to come to them. Some insects and predator lives are focused in vegetative growth. You are invited to explore Ody Brook.
Ecological niche adaptations require a narrow focus of activities for survival and reproduction. Set a portable stool by summer flowers to see what insects utilize particular plants. Some have strict use behaviors for a species or plant family while others will visit a variety of blooms. By observing areas with several blooming wild native plants, one will note different insect associations. Adult insects are often generalists when seeking nectar but are specific when selecting host plants for egg laying and young development.
Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at firstname.lastname@example.org - Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.
The Cup Plant is an imposing 4–8 feet tall native perennial that is easy to distinguish by its yellow sunflower-like flowers; thick, hairless, four-sided square stems; and opposite pairs of cup-forming leaves. The plant remains unbranched, except for the panicle of flowering stems near its apex. The flowers, about 3-4" across, bloom in mid-summer for about 1–1-1⁄2 months. The leaves, which grow to 14" long, are coarsely toothed, and have a rough, sandpapery texture. The root system consists of a central taproot, and abundant shallow rhizomes that help to spread the plant vegetatively. When cut, the stem of the Cup Plant exudes a gummy sap which was used by Native Americans as chewing gum.
While the lower leaves of the Cup Plant are attached at the stem by petioles, the middle and upper leaves lack petioles and join together, encircling the central stem to form a cup, hence the name of the plant. These cups collect rainwater and dew and become drinking fountains for birds, insects and even frogs.
Overall, the Cup Plant is an exceptional wildlife plant. Along with the “cups” that hold water, the showy flowers provide pollen and nectar to long-tongued bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Many birds, especially Goldfinches, love the seeds; and because of the tendency of the Cup Plant to form dense colonies, this plant provides good cover. Birds can lurk among the leaves during the heat of the day, searching for insects or pausing to rest.
In Michigan, Cup Plant is found in river floodplains, forest openings and edges. According to the “Michigan Natural Feature Inventory,” the Cup Plant is “Threatened” and legally protected. However, the plant is fairly common in other parts of the country and is even considered a weed and potentially invasive in some places.
Nevertheless, researchers at South Dakota State University are exploring Cup Plant as a potential new biomass crop that could also store carbon in its extensive root system. Perennial grasses will always be the base for biomass production; but Cup Plant could be an excellent complementary species since it will grow in low, moist prairies generally unfit for cropland. In addition, Cup Plant supports biodiversity because its water “cups” attract a variety of insects and birds, and its stems provide perches for grassland birds.
The Cup Plant can be a very dependable and striking addition to your garden if you have room. It has a commanding presence in perennial borders and can be used in rain gardens, prairie gardens, or at the edge of woodland gardens. It thrives in full or partial sun and moist loamy soil. The plant does spread vegetatively and can look weedy if not kept in check. It has also been known to topple over during a rainstorm with strong winds, particularly while in bloom or situated on a slope.
BECOME A SEED COLLECTION VOLUNTEER WITH PROJECT WINGSPAN
VOLUNTEERS WANTED for Project Wingspan to help support migrating monarchs and the imperiled rusty-patched bumble bee! We're working hard to train and assemble seed collection teams throughout the Midwest and Great Lakes region and would love to have you join us. If you’re interested in helping us increase the quantity, quality, and connectivity of pollinator habitat located in one of our target states: AR, IL, MI, MN, OH, PA, or WI we have FREE ONLINE TRAINING where you can become a certified seed collection volunteer for this project!
SIGN UP to volunteer and our State Coordinators will get in touch to connect you with the training module that will best fit your level of time, skill, and interest. Once directed to the appropriate module by your State Coordinator, just follow our easy 6-step training module and you'll learn how to properly collect seed from the landscape and how to identify a variety of plant species native to the Midwest and Great Lakes region.
ISN isn't able to host in-person events at this time, but invasive species aren't stopping just because there's a pandemic. Consider tackling invasive species in your backyard or local natural area (with permission). Then share your work with us to celebrate!
Visit https://www.cafepress.com/rivercitywildonesshop 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.