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Another import gone bad – The Callery Pear

The Callery Pear, Pyrus calleryana, was first thought to be imported in the early 1900s to help fight fire blight resistance in the common pear. Its rootstocks were used long before the 1950s when the ornamental and hardiness traits of several cultivars, including the Bradford pear, were recognized by the landscape trade.

Dense thicket of Callery pear gone invasive. (photo credit: Joe Boggs)

Thinking botanically, while some genotypes are self-incompatible, meaning they require cross pollination from another genotype in order to set seed, others can pollinate themselves. Different genotypes growing near each other (e.g., within about 300 ft.) can cross-pollinate and produce fruit with viable seed. Also, cultivars are often grafted onto seed-grown rootstocks with varying genotypes; if the plant produces shoots from the rootstock (which it often does), then these shoots and the graft can pollinate one another. Thus, the Bradford pear cultivar is one of several cultivars (varieties) of Callery pear capable of spreading and being invasive. Here’s where it all goes south and sounds like the Amur honeysuckle situation.

Any plant resulting from a seed produced by Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’ is a different genotype of Pyrus calleryana and not a member of any cultivar (unless somebody propagates that seedling and names it as a new cultivar). The plants that spread in natural areas are not cultivars. They are sexually reproducing populations consisting of multiple genotypes that recombine every generation.

Once established Callery pear forms dense thickets that push out other plants including native species that can’t tolerate the deep shade or compete with pear for water, soil and space. A single tree can spread rapidly by seed and vegetative means forming a sizeable patch within several years. Its success as an invader results from its capacity to produce copious amounts of seed that is dispersed by birds and possibly small mammals, seedlings that germinate and grow rapidly in disturbed areas and a general lack of natural controls like insects and diseases, with the exception of fire blight.

The solution? Do not plant Callery pear or any cultivars including the well known Bradford pear no matter what assurances the garden centers tell you. Seedlings and shallow-rooted plants can be pulled when soil is moist. Medium to large trees should be cut down and stumps treated with a systemic glyphosate or triclopyr-based herbicide. Several native trees would make excellent substitutes for Callery pear, including common serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea), Allegheny serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis), cockspur hawthorne (Crataegus crus-galli), green hawthorne (C. viridis) and the native sweet crabapple (Malus coronaria).

Read more in this publication: ODNR Division of Forestry’s PDF Weed of the Month.


2016 Philadelphia Flower Show

philadelphia-flower-showThe Philadelphia Horticultural Society’s (PHS) Philadelphia Flower Show is the nation’s largest and longest-running horticultural event and features stunning displays by the world’s premier floral and landscape designers. Started in 1829, the show featured new plant varieties, garden and design concepts, and organic and sustainable practices.

In addition to the major garden displays, the Flower Show covered 10 acres of the Philadelphia Convention Center with world-renowned competitions in horticulture and artistic floral arranging, gardening presentations and demonstrations, special events and a mammoth indoor Marketplace. In a word: HEAVEN!!

Panaramic view of ‘Big Timber Lodge’

The 2016 theme, “Explore America,” had visitors start their adventure in the “Big Timber Lodge,” a modern interpretation of classic park architecture, where they were welcomed by National Park Service Rangers in a nod to the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary.  The structure of wood and stone was enhanced by Native American-inspired art, floral totems, a dazzling 12-foot waterfall, emulated giant redwoods and a life-size American buffalo and bear sculptures by artist Emily White.

Periodic rest stops are to be expected

The 2016 President’s Bus Trip (March 11-13) saw nearly 100 OAGC members and friends board 2 buses and make their way to hotels in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The trip also included two fantastic Amish style meals and a day at the flower show. OAGC bus trips are an easy way to ‘hit the road’ so be sure to join us on future trips. You won’t be sorry.


Cactus and Succulent Society Show/Sale Announced

Vera Norman
Vera Norman – image  courtesy Central Ohio Cactus and Succulent Society

The Central Ohio Cactus and Succulent Society will be hosting the 2016 Spring Show and Sale on Saturday, March 26 at the Franklin Park Conservatory in classroom C/D on the lower level. Sales will begin at 10 am and will continue until 4 pm.

This year’s sale will also feature a gigantic selection of plants from the collection of member Vera Norman. Vera was the oldest member of the club and recently passed away at the age of 101. Her huge collection features hundreds of plants and all proceeds will go to Vera’s church, the Central Ohio Cactus and Succulent Society and The Franklin Park Conservatory.

Other items for sale may include cactus soil, pots and decorative rocks. Members of the society will be available to assist with sales and to provide tips on how to grow these plants. All plants are in limited supply, so arrive early for the best selection.


2016 Gardeners’ Day Out – Blennerhassett Island, WV

Blennerhassett Mansion at Blennerhassett Island State Park in Parkersburg, WV.
Blennerhassett Mansion at Blennerhassett Island State Park in Parkersburg, WV. (photo courtesy of Blennerhassett)

Cruising down the river, time-traveling, in “Almost Heaven, West Virginia,” that will be Gardeners’ Day Out 2016 on Saturday, July 9! Join us as we cross the Ohio River to scenic Parkersburg, West Virginia, for a day of timeless beauty with a turbulent past.

Blennerhassett Island spans back 13,000 years ago when Ice Age Native American hunting tribes lived there. White settlers began to flock to the valley in the 1780s and Irish aristocrats Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett built a magnificent estate. Harman’s entanglement in a mysterious enterprise with Aaron Burr resulted in President Jefferson accusing both of treason. You can be part of the island’s guest list, which has included George Rogers Clark, Johnny Appleseed, Henry Clay, Walt Whitman and Gore Vidal. We will view the famous Stahl prehistoric Indian and archeological artifacts at the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History before boarding the Island Belle sternwheeler for a scenic cruise to the estate.


Embarking there, we will be treated to brunch with the lady of the mansion, “Margaret Blennerhassett”, who will regale us with tales of the glory and tragedy experienced by the family. Her friends will continue the story on your guided tour of the restored mansion. A narrated horse-drawn wagon ride around the island offers views of the lush hardwood groves and fields providing habitats of white-tail deer, waterfowl and songbirds. The 1802 Putnam-Houser home, Maple Grove, which was brought across the river by barge in 1986, is part of our tour.

Extras available on the island include bicycle rentals, self-guided hikes, a refreshment stand and gift shop with local pottery, arts, books and garden items. Following a half-hour cruise to the mainland, those who wish may make a ten-minute drive to Wine Tree Vineyards, where award-winning vintners grow, ferment and bottle varieties you can try free samples. Their Wine Selection Guide and staff offer suggestions through a sometimes confusing process. Restaurants, shopping and hotels are available in Parkersburg and nearby Marietta, Ohio. Cost for the day is $50. Registration deadline is June 30. NOTE: This event is not a bus trip. Those attending will provide their own transportation to the site in Parkersburg. Registrants will receive an email confirmation, agenda and any other details.

REGISTRATION INFORMATION: Please complete a form for each person. Deadline: June 30.

Name: ________________________________
Zip:________ Phone:____________________
Garden Club:__________________________
Club Code:________ Region:____________

$50 fee includes museum, mansion and home admission, boat and wagon rides, brunch,
parking, and winery tour.

Make checks payable to OAGC:  Total Due: $_______
Mail check and registration forms to:

Suzy Parker, Gardeners’ Day Out Chair
Box 802, Syracuse, OH 45779
Email: sparker@oagc.org
Phone: 740-992-5555 or (mobile): 740-508-2494

Looking for more to do in the Parkersburg, West Virginia area?

Point Place Marketplace:  113 Ann Street, Parkersburg.  Downtown farmers’ market, live entertainment some Fridays 5-7;  open 10-6 Thursday-Saturday.

Fort Boorman:  Overlooking the city and offering panoramic views of the confluence of the Ohio and Little Kanawha Rivers, great for photography, picnics, short hikes.

Julianna Historic District:  self-guided walking tour of five blocks of Victorian homes and gardens, circa 1800-1900s, guidebook available at local motels and the Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, 350 Seventh St.

Mulberry Lane Country Store:  eclectic shopping with Americana and country décor, crafts.
Pat Catan’s:  Supplies for floral and decorative arts; Park Shopping Center.

Blennerhassett Hotel:  On the Historic Register, with quaint décor, offers lodging, restaurant and bar, outdoor plaza.

Oil and Gas Museum:

Holl’s  Chocolatier:  Watch handmade chocolates, covered strawberries being crafted in the store.

Bob’s Market:  across the Ohio River in Belpre, Ohio.  Homegrown annuals, trees, shrubs, perennials, candy, produce, gardening accessories.
Middleton Doll Company, once in Belpre is no longer in business.

Berdines’ 5 and Dime: oldest dime store still in operation, incredible variety of old-time goods; about 30 minutes east of Parkersburg, in Harrisville.

North Bend State Park:  offers a lodge, camping, hiking, nature programs, activities; about 20 minutes east of Parkersburg.

Henderson Hall:  historic plantation home, open to tour; north between Parkersburg and Williamstown/Marietta.

Fenton Art Glass Factory in Williamstown is no longer in business

Marietta, about 20 minutes north, has interesting shops with antiques and collectibles.  Also,
Rossi Pasta:  watch varieties of homemade noodles being made; pasta and  sauces, gift baskets for purchase.  “The Castle” historic home open for tours.
Campus Martius Museum displays artifacts and a log cabin from the settling of Ohio’s first city.
Ohio River Museum displays boats and artifacts detailing the importance of the river.
Lafayette Hotel:  Historic riverfront hotel, offers lodging and restaurant.
River City Farmers’ Market:  open at 8:00 am Saturdays.


Schnormeier Gardens – Gambier, Ohio

Schnormeier Garden Bridge – Image courtesy Schnormeiergardens

Schnormeier Gardens, located in the  gentle rolling hills of Gambier, Ohio, began in 1996. Over the years they have grown to include fifty acres of manicured lawns, ten lakes, a variety of discrete garden areas and several waterfalls.

The Gardens are rarely open to the public, and their annual Open House represents the only opportunity this year to visit and enjoy this remarkable site.

NOTE: Ted and Ann Schnormeier of Gambier, Ohio will open their spectacular private gardens to the public from Thursday, June 2 through Sunday, June 5, 2016 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Reservations are not required, however, advance notice of groups arriving by bus would be appreciated. The Gardens are not recommended for those with limited mobility.

Those attending the Open House should start at the Welcome Center, at 8701 Laymon Road. The Welcome Center features a DVD presentation, striking photographs of the Gardens, including aerial photograph, and full-color tour brochures with map. There is ample free parking adjacent to the Welcome Center. Restrooms are available at the Welcome Center and near the Hosta Garden. You are welcome to take photographs. Pets are not permitted.

Tours are self-guided. The property is hilly, and contains manicured lawns, woods, meadows, streams, lakes, footbridges and many beautiful vistas. There are no paved or designated pathways so visitors are encouraged to dress comfortably and to wear walking shores. Visitors are free to wander the entire 75 acres.

The focal point of the property is a spectacular Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home. This private residence was completed in 1994. The interior of the home is not part of the public tour. Other structures on the property include a Japanese teahouse, garden house, Chinese pavilion and arched bridge. Ever-growing collections of unique sculptures are also located on the grounds.

Schnormeier teahouse
Schnormeier Gardens Teahouse – Image courtesy Schnormeiergardens

The gardens have a distinct Asian flavor and feature a variety of plantings rich in color and texture. Rare conifers are plentiful here. Large boulders and stonewalls add dimension and contrast to the landscape. Designed with a bold vision and attention to detail, the gardens offer delightful viewing in any season.



Tips for Exhibiting at a Flower Show

DSC03246by Jo Ann Graham, OAGC Accredited Judge and past State President

As an accredited Ohio Association of Garden Clubs Flower Show Judge I am often asked what I look for when I judge a horticulture or artistic flower show. The first thing I look for when starting to judge horticulture or artistic classes is: has the exhibitor followed the schedule?

The flower show schedule is the law or rules of the show. A show is only as good as its schedule and it is the first thing an exhibitor should study at length before planning or entering exhibits. If something is confusing or if there is something that isn’t understood, ask the show chair or show committee. Don’t guess at what is meant on the schedule.

Entries in the Horticulture division (cultivars/speciments/exhibits) are to be well groomed. Is the cultivar clean? Is all dirt and pesticide washed away? You wouldn’t come to the fair with a dirty face so your best exhibit shouldn’t either!

Is the cultivar free of disease or pests? An exhibit should not be brought to a show showing any type of disease or have insects. This is especially important if you are showing houseplants or container grown plants. Diseases and pests can spread quickly to other exhibits and are reason for an exhibit being removed from the show and/or disqualified by the judge.

DSC03295Are there dead pieces of leaves or flowers attached to the cultivar? Could the cultivar be improved in some way? A good exhibitor takes the time to remove all old flowers and dead leaves. Leaves or petals can be carefully trimmed a little to remove all brown edges so a judge won’t notice.

An important rule to follow in a horticulture show in certain classes, is one of disbudding. Disbudding is removing the side bud or shoot from round form flowers such as roses, zinnias, marigolds, dahlias, daisies, etc. Don’t just pinch out the bud – remove the whole side shoot to the main stem carefully by pinching or using a small pair of scissors. Disbudding should be neat and in many cases done a day or days prior to the show depending on the cultivar.

Many cultivars are shown as sprays. A spray is a single main stem with blooms or florets borne on pedicels or lateral branches, led by a terminal bloom, which blooms first. I always tell the exhibitor to look at the stem for a Y. This indicates there are two sprays – one on each side of the main stem. Each spray should have as many blooms and buds as possible. The old center or terminal flower should be removed if past its prime. Examples of flowers shown as sprays are marigolds, petunias, phlox, etc.

Another problem I find is the exhibitor is not labeling or writing the variety name of the cultivar on the entry tag. In many shows this keeps the exhibitor from winning a ribbon – or worse, a rosette! Keep all labels of the plants in your garden. Label in the garden and/or keep a chart of your plantings. Don’t just make up a name or look in a catalog and pick something out that is similar. Know what you grow. Labeling means giving the variety of cultivar not just zinnias but what variety of zinnia: ‘Border Beauty’ Zinnia, ‘Oklahoma’ Zinnia, ‘Big Tetra’ Zinnia, etc.

IMG_0015Be sure to exhibit correct number of cultivars according to the schedule. The schedule will indicate whether one, two, three, four, etc. blooms, spikes, sprays are to be shown. If exhibiting more than one, all cultivars should look exactly alike as to maturity, color, form, size, etc. They should look like identical twins, triplets, etc.

Winning a ribbon in horticulture does not mean just growing the best flower or plant but skill in grooming and preparing your exhibit. Planning ahead, studying the schedule, and learning how a flower or plant is judged helps you win.

The Ohio Association of Garden Clubs hold Exhibitors’ and Judges’ Schools twice a year.  It is a venue for training new flower show judges, providing continuing education for current flower show judges and teaching exhibitors the ins and outs of exhibiting in a flower show.

Johnny Appleseed Highway

Johnny Appleseed Highway
Portion of the Johnny Appleseed Highway

John Chapman (September 26, 1774 – March 18, 1845), often called Johnny Appleseed, was an American pioneer nurseryman who had a vision of making the wilderness fruitful. With his bag of appleseeds, herbs and sometimes evergreen seedlings, he traveled down the Ohio River trails, up the Muskingum, back and forth, through the central part of Ohio, and finally to Indiana where he died in 1845.

In small clearings he made plantings over the state. Through the years he traveled to tend his orchards, giving and planting more seeds. He lived a simple life, loving plants, creatures of the wood and all mankind.

Appleseed Highway Marker
Appleseed Highway Marker

In the 1930s, The Ohio Association of Garden Clubs had members who worked with the Ohio Roadside Council and attended the Short Course on Roadside Development that was offered by the Ohio State Highway Department and the Ohio State University. Gradually, the idea of selecting a highway planting as a statewide beautification project took form to beautify and soften the impact of Ohio’s developing highways.

In 1950, the “Johnny Appleseed Memorial Highway” was dedicated by the State of Ohio. It ran north from Pomeroy on the Ohio River through Columbus, to Toledo and on to Lake Erie via State Routes 33, 31 and 25. The project focused on roadside plantings of crabapples, native trees and shrubs to accentuate scenic views, landscapes, and points of interest along the routes.

The Highway Department workers. Circa 1950
The Highway Department workers. Circa 1950

Landscape architects of the State Highway Department designed plantings and maintained them. OAGC clubs from around the state supported the efforts financially and provided supplemental beautification plantings. (Source, The Garden Path archives, 1951)


2015 Convention Flower Show – Artistic Winners

Photos from the 2015 OAGC Convention Artistic Flower Show

Theme: “Eating Your Landscape” (Photos by Vicki Ferguson)

2015 Exhibitors’ and Judges’ School #4

Featuring Table Picture designs (Faye Collins McGinnis, instructor) and Creative designs (Myrna Cordray, instructor)

Photos from the 2015 Exhibitors’ and Judges’ School #4 (August 10-11, 2015).

Photos by Jan Harmon

Cox Arboretum – Dayton, Ohio

Cox Arboretum is a beautiful 189-acre facility located near Dayton, Ohio and is a special place for visitors to escape among trees, shrubs, specialty gardens, mature forests, and prairies. Managed and owned by the Five Rivers MetroParks, the arboretum hosts year-round educational programs that teach children and adults about sustainable horticulture, plant science, and conservation. Cox Arboretum MetroPark is also home to a native-Ohio Butterfly House.

Photo of cox arboretum
Cox Arboretum – Image courtesy beesfirstappearance

Upcoming Events

  1. OAGC 2017Convention

    July 13 - July 15
  2. Deadline for submissions to The Garden Path (Oct-Nov-Dec) issue

    July 15
  3. 2017 Gardeners’ Day Out

    August 25 @ 12:00 pm - August 26 @ 4:00 pm