Tag Archives: plants

I DARE YOU!

This month I want to dare you to push yourself to be a unique gardener.  What do I mean by this?  I want each of you to make the most of your garden.  It could be adding a new vegetable that you haven’t grown before or adding a tree to your yard that you’ve always admired into your own yard!  Maybe it’s a new ground cover where you’ve always put mulch.  It’s up to you!

We all have an area in the yard, no matter the size where we could add a garden area to enjoy.  Butterflies, hummingbirds, songbirds can all be attracted to your private spaces with just a simple addition of a few flowering perennials or shrubs.  Maybe you want to mow a little less grass and add some more square feet to an existing bed!  The possibilities are endless!

I could list all the plants that I love in the garden but what makes your garden yours is YOUR plant selections and combinations!  There are endless possibilities out there for you to choose from!  You can narrow down your selections by researching them online, you could join a garden club, you could read a gardening book or magazine but my favorite way to pick out the plants that go in my garden are at the garden center!  I like to see for myself what a plant is going to look like!

You are lucky to live in an area that has many garden centers!  Of course you have Gilson Gardens but there is also, Martin’s Nursery, Springlake Nursery, Havel’s, Bluestone, Middle Ridge Gardens, Secor Nursery, Sabo’s Woodside Nursery, Wyatt’s Nursery, Petitti, Gales Garden Center, Woodworth’s and many more!  Look them up and patronize them!  Spend an afternoon and hit several!  Although Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Lowe’s all offer gardening supplies and plants, I highly recommend that you shop your local small business for all your plant needs!  Keep our county alive by shopping where the experts are!  Your local garden centers are employed by some of the most knowledgeable people there are!

Share your love of plants with people that know how to help you!  They will help you find that perfect addition to your garden!  You may find a new passion for plants that you didn’t know you had!  Plants at your local garden centers are most likely grown right here in Lake County!  Can it get any better than that?  You’ll find the right plant for the right place from the best place in America….Lake County Ohio!

Let me know what you are shopping for!  Which spot are you going to add something new?  What color bloom are you looking for?  Go ahead!  Share!

The Value of Plants in your Life

The other day I enjoyed listening to a webinar on the value of plants in our      lives.  The experts are working hard on putting a dollar figure to this value…my thoughts is it will be a while before it’s determined.

Plants add value to our homes. A well-landscaped yard will put more dollars in your pocket when it’s time to sell. This has been proven! Never mind the value if you’re not planning to sell but you have to admit that it’s a whole lot nicer hanging out somewhere where they’ve taken the time to add some color and plantings. Think about it, would you prefer to hang in the backyard with your friends surrounded by concrete and wood or flower beds and decks.

Cities are now working on adding green areas to roofs. Green and blue! Gardens, prairies, etc. When it rains, rooftop gardens catch and absorb storm water run-off or at least slows it down. This keeps rain water out of the gutters and hopefully out of the system that will overflow and end up messing with the city drainage! This saves money!

Green roofs and now living walls are being planted to save energy costs. A planted building will keep buildings cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter! Again…saving money!

Hospitals all over the world are using gardens to enhance patient well-being.  How?  It’s been proven that if patients are exposed to gardens, the recovery time is significantly reduced. Wellness centers worldwide are adding herb gardens, flower gardens and water features which in turn the patients and staff are benefiting. Shorter recovery, healthier staff…all equal savings!

So….although there are many more reasons to get a “little green”  in your life, we will all save some green in the process! So get planting and do your part to help the economy recover! Consider planting a vegetable garden if nothing else!

Are Non-Native Plants Taking over Ohio Roadways?

Michael Scott of the Plain Dealer had this published…I find it fascinating!  None of us want the salt in our streams and wildlife habitats….but I find it incredible that plants are adjusting and “traveling” this way!  See below!

CLEVELAND, Ohio — More than a half century of liberally salting Ohio’s icy winter highways is turning our grassy roadsides into saltwater seasides.

Botanists like Jim Bissell of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Rick Gardner of the Ohio Division of Wildlife say not only are native plants dying off from a gradual buildup of salt and salt water, but that plants now thriving are species arriving from ocean estuaries or coastal salt marshes.

In fact, the harsh roadside environment has probably been gradually changing for as long as snow plow crews have been salting roads in winter — and accelerating over the last four decades or so.

And the tide is turning — in favor of species collectively known as halophytes, or plants that tolerate or demand salinity.

“We’re not talking about a slight difference, either,” Bissell said. “The salt creates a habitat more like the salt flats in the extreme southwest and only certain plants can live there. You see the leftover salt in the summer when the berms are all white.”

So instead of finding the fescues and perennial rye grasses that grew roadside since before the paving of asphalt highways, Bissell, Gardner and others find seaside goldenrod, various salt grasses from the East Coast — or even European salt-tolerant species Juncus compressus, commonly known as round-fruited rush.

“It’s already an interesting and harsh ecosystem, if you think about it,” said Gardner, a wildlife management assistant for the state for the last dozen years, but a botanist for more than two decades.

“It’s a dry, open area with gravel and all of the compaction of soil for construction. You find a lot of interesting plants along roadsides already — throw in all that salt and it gets even tougher for most plants to survive.”

Tough for some, but not hardy species like black grass (Juncus gerardii).

The species, actually a member of the rush family, forms “dark green meadows along the tidal flats and salt marshes” along the East Coast from Maine to Georgia, but is not native to Ohio, Bissell said.

“But we’ve just recently found it in downtown Cleveland for the first time,” Bissell said. “There’s no reason it would be here other than it can live in the saline conditions along the side of the road.”

There’s no question where the salt comes from — between 15 million and 18 million tons of sodium chloride is spread over the nation’s highways each winter. But how do seeds from salt marshes in Florida or estuaries in Maryland make it to a ditch off Interstate 71?

They hitch a ride — either in the belly of a bird or the tires of a car or truck — although some might simply be windblown, as well, Gardner said.

“Travel by car and truck tire is the most likely explanation, though I don’t think anyone has actually tracked it,” Gardner said. “But we do know that if you map out the distribution of any of these plants, it’s totally linear — all along the highways, but not scattered inland at all.”

With a few exceptions. A number of halophytes have colonized the area near the Morton Salt Plant near Mentor Headlands State Park because of the high saline content of the water and soil there.

Many of the saltwater tolerant plants began to show up in the 1970s, Gardner said, following the increase of road salt in the 1950s and 1960s. Prior to that, road crews used mostly cinders or sand to provide grip on winter roadways.

“So you only see this kind of thing in states where there is snow and where a lot of salt is put down — all along Interstate 90 and the turnpike system from Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana,” he said. “What we call freeway sedge here, for example, was actually a sedge found only in the mountains out west, but it has made its way east for years because of the saline conditions along the roadway.”

Generally, the introduction of saltwater-tolerant plants along the side of the road isn’t a major environmental concern, but the saltwater runoff into nearby streams is a growing problem, officials have said.

More than 40 percent of urban streams tested in Ohio and 18 other northern states by federal researchers showed dangerously elevated chloride levels likely related to salt runoff from road de-icing.

Elevated chloride can slow plant growth, damage the reproduction cycle for fish and smaller organisms and generally reduce diversity in streams, said John Mullaney, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey who authored the September 2009 study.

“Adding a high concentration of chloride from increasing uses of road salt, along with salt from other sources like wastewater treatment plants and farms, is particularly bad for the streams,” he said when the study was released. “Eventually, it could affect drinking water for some areas.”

That future fear — salt contaminating the groundwater supply now used for drinking water by four out of 10 Americans — is tempered by how much safer salting makes the roadways in winter.

“That’s the greater concern, not whether salt-water tolerant plants are living on the berm,” admitted Gardner. “Still, it’s fascinating to see how we’ve created a new ecosystem by our use of roadside over the last 50 to 70 years.”

Coming soon! Plant Identification & Information on your IPhone!

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

For those of you that are techies and love plants….here’s one for you! I know I still refer to his book!  Will be nice to be able to access the information we want right there on our phones!

Michael Dirr iPhone app to debut at National Green Centre
Dirr’s Tree and Shrub Finder, a new iPhone app based on Dr. Michael Dirr’s Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, will be introduced at the Sweet Melissa Fashion Show on January 9 during the National Green Centre in St. Louis. Released by Timber Press, the app offers the latest and most reliable information on woody landscape plants; it features more than 9,400 plants; 72 search criteria; 7,600 hi-res color photos and more than 1,120 line drawings

Learn more at:
http://www.nmpromagazine.com/Article.aspx?article_id=109507