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30 Years of Bluebird Happiness

When the Ohio Bluebird Society (OBS) hosts its conference Saturday, March 4, at the Ashland University Convocation Center (638 Jefferson St, Ashland, OH 44805),  it promises to bring together history, hope and joy for “30 Years of Bluebird Happiness – 1987-2017.”

The celebration atmosphere will feature charter members, highlights of the roots of the organization, recognition of faithful supporters and a lunch hour with four breakout sessions. Habitat conservation speakers are scheduled. In closing moments OBS grant recipients are sharing success stories.

Conference planners invite everyone who has an interest in the conservation of eastern bluebirds to attend.. Breakout sessions are to be led by experienced bluebirders who plan support for beginning birders, ideas for improving nest box results, encouragement for youth and a general share session for questions and answers. Non-profit exhibits will surround the meeting room. A silent auction table will offer numerous items related to birding, a few gift baskets and certificates from area organizations and businesses. A variety of nest boxes will be available for purchase.

Registration is $25 for OBS members and $30 for non-members (includes morning coffee and donuts, a box lunch, birthday cake, favors and door prizes.) Registration forms are available on the OBS website (www.ohiobluebirdsociety.org). Deadline is February 18.

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OAGC has ‘Bean’ involved!

L-R: Jean Jankowski, Mary Lee Minor, Shirley Chapman, June Gebhardt and Suzy Parker

How would you like to make a mini-basket design or learn how to make a beautiful bow? Ohio Association of Garden Clubs recently accepted an invitation by L.L. Bean to stage a ‘Make-and-Take’ workshop recently at the Easton Town Center L.L. Bean store in Columbus. The free workshop was well received by holiday shoppers.

20161211_155601OAGC Past President Mary Lee Minor brought a large assortment of colorful ribbon, miniature baskets and varied textures of fragrant fresh greens. Second Vice President Jean Jankowski brought tiny hemlock cones and bright dried flowers. Soon OAGC member Shirley Chapman was teaching kids and adults how to make gorgeous bows for use on wreaths or gifts. We even served three generations, Jack and Clair with mom, grandma and grandpa.

20161211_160458OAGC Foundation Treasurer June Gebhardt and First Vice President Suzy Parker also assisted visitors in making tiny basket designs with their choice of lavender, yew, boxwood, arbor vitae, hemlock cones, dried flowers and baby’s breath. After adding bright ribbon, designers took the basket home to decorate a tree or table scene.

20161211_155601While working with our guests, the OAGC crew talked with visitors about their interests and the benefits offered by our organization. Informative bookmarks were given so guests will know how to contact us to find a club they can join and where to explore our website, Facebook, and Pinterest .

L.L. Bean associate Bob Adams and store manager Kasie Clouser provided table space and signage for the activity, near a windowed entrance area, where our workshop was highly visible to curious shoppers. Observing how involved customers were in our activity, Clouser suggested we return in other seasons and expand to the Cincinnati store.

A family that eats together….

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Adult Milkweed Bug

As our native Milkweed plant goes, it has a pretty unappealing taste to many insects. And yet, our beloved Monarch butterfly caterpillars regale it as the best lunch room in town. Thanks to the Milkweed’s bad tasting sap, it limits the dining room attendance to a few hardy leaf-munching/sucking souls. The Large Milkweed Bug is one of those such critters can be found in great abundance these days.

Various instar stages of Milkweed Bugs
Various instar stages of Milkweed Bugs

These insects undergo an incomplete metamorphosis which means they do not go through the egg-larvae-pupae stage as insects with a complete metamorphosis. This is why everyone in the family photo pretty much looks like one another albeit the younger ones lacking their distinctively colored wings. Newly laid eggs take about one week to hatch. After undergoing 5 moltings or instar stages, they become an adult at about one month of age. They pierce the Milkweed seed pod skin and feast on the seeds located inside. They might suck juices from other plants but generally do little damage.

Thanks to the aforementioned bad tasting milkweed sap that they ingest it goes without saying that they also taste bad. Their bright orange coloring is another warning sign nature built in to this creature. After trying a bite of a Milkweed bug, not many birds will try another orange snack be it a Milkweed bug or a Monarch butterfly.

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Show off your best at the Ohio State Fair

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Show off your backyard best in the Ohio State Fair Horticulture and Floriculture competitions!

Entry Deadline: July 1 

You can submit entries for home-grown fruits, vegetables, flowers and gigantic produce in one of the  many Horticulture and Floriculture competitions  held in Nationwide Donahey Ag & Hort Building presented by the Ohio Farm Bureau during the Ohio State Fair’s run July 27 – August 7, 2016!

Flower Show Schedule and Rules

How to Enter:
You can easily enter online and be one step closer to proving that you have the greenest thumb in Ohio! Visit the Ohio State Fair website for step-by-step entry instructions and click here  for more information about the Horticulture competitions.

 

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.

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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.

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Cactus and Succulent Society Show/Sale Announced

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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.

 

2014 Exhibitors’ and Judges’ School #2

Featuring Ikebana designs (Myrna Cordray, instructor) and Color Theory (Mary Lee Minor, instructor)

Exhibitors’ and Judges’ School #2 – September 15-16, 2014

Ikebana Design Class – Myrna Cordray instructor

 

Color Theory Class – Mary Lee Minor, Instructor

 

2014 Convention Flower Show – Artistic Designs

Photos of Artistic Designs in from the 2014 OAGC Convention Flower Show

Theme: “Gathering the Treasures of the 12 Moons”

Photos by Vicki Ferguson