Saturday, August 30, 2014

Newport Beach gardens

Recent journeys to Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, along the southern California Coast gave us an opportunity to view some wonderful gardens creatively designed to utilize the smaller lot sizes common in this highly desired area.

Balboa Peninsula

A welcoming courtyard entry
...with hanging sailboat planters filled with colorful annual blooms
Roses blooming profusely in many yards
Roses line patio overlooking the bay
View of moored boats from adjoining dock

Tropical landscape
Mexican-style tile patio with outdoor kitchen & fireplace,
planting bed and bubbling fountain in large pot

Views on the other side of the Peninsula included large numbers of surfers catching some early morning waves.

The day after we left, the high surf predicted due to a huricane off Mexico materialized with lifeguards estimating the surf at 10' with sets up to 20'.  A sig alert was issued for the Balboa Peninsula with traffic coming to a virtual gridlock along Newport Boulevard and Balboa Boulevard. It was estimated that traveling down the peninsula wass taking up to an hour with no available parking as vehicles ended up simply circling the area. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Rest in Peace

Marcia Louie Barnard Mings


Memorial service floral arrangements created by her AAUW friends
to honor her colorful life

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Wild Center

“If we care about the Earth we could heal it by removing lawns, by finding alternatives to lawns. You can do wonderful things on your own property to protect the environment. Each little island, each corridor will help bring back the butterflies and birds.” 
~Lorrie Otto

In 1977, in Milwaukee, nine people interested in learning about landscaping with native plants attended a natural-landscaping workshop led by Lorrie Otto. These nine people founded Wild Ones Natural Landscapers. For purposes of more clearly aligning the name with the organization's mission, the organization is now referred to as Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes, but the legal name remains Wild Ones Natural Landscapers Ltd.   of the Wild Ones Institute of Learning and Development (WILD Center).  In 2008, Wild Ones purchased16 acres of upland, riparian woodland and marsh, along with a building to serve as the national headquarters in Neenah, Wisconsin.

Wild Center Headquarters - Neenah, WI

Wild Center

Wild Ones Mission mission:
Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes promotes environmentally sound landscaping practices to preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities. Wild Ones is a not-for-profit environmental education and advocacy organization.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Gardens at husband's family home

Photos of my in-laws' garden in memory of Marcia as she joins her husband, Pete, 7 years after his passing on August 15, 2007.

A favorite Mings family recipe using fruit from their garden:


fruit of your choice
3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. margarine
1 c. sugar

Make about 1 1/2" layer of sliced apples, sliced peaches or boysenberries.  (Marcia and Pete leave the skins on the apples now.)   Add several Tablespoons of tapioca to the fruit if using peaches or boysenberries.  Cover with a topping made of the flour, margarine, and sugar.  Bake 30-35 minutes at 350 until the apples are tender and the crust is slightly brown.  Eat hearty!  

Monday, August 11, 2014

A weekend of events planned at the WILD Center to celebrate Wild Ones 35 years

Friday, August 15, 2014

9:00–Board meeting — non-board members welcome
1:00–Strategy Planning Meeting — non-board members welcome
5:00–Welcome Reception
6:00–Buffet Dinner
7:00–Speaker UW-Milwaukee Cedarburg Bog Field Station Director Jim Reinartz PhD will present “Development of the Pre-settlement Plant Communities of Wisconsin and the Great Lakes Region”  Jim will examine the major forces that structure our natural plant communities.  We live in an ecologically exciting place where three of the earth’s eight major biomes meet.  The grasslands of the Great Plains, the Eastern Deciduous Forest of  North America, and the coniferous boreal forest of the north all meet in our State.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

8:00–Birding at Guckenberg Sturm Marsh or Tour the WILD Center
9:30–Workshops 1 & 2
11:00–Workshops 3 & 4
Donna VanBuecken_ Fire & Brimstone
Neil Diboll speaking at the 2008 annual meeting.
1:00–Annual Membership Meeting — Author and videographer Catherine Zimmerman “The Meadow Project” is a special guest.
2:30–Speaker Rob Zimmer Yard MD Columnist for Gannett Wisconsin Media  will present a “WILD Beauty.”  Rob, a local media celebrity and Gannett Wisconsin Media’s Yard M.D., will present a pictorial tour of the WILD Center and many of its non-human visitors through the seasons.  See the living beauty and spectacular display of the native landscaping available to our human visitors.
4:00–Regional Networking Session
5:00–Social Hour — Songwriter and Folksinger Steve Hazell.  Author Linda Curtis “Woodland Carex.”
6:00–Dinner — Special guest Rep Penny Bernard Schaber will be presenting a Wisconsin State Citation.
7:00–Speaker Wild Ones Honorary Director Tom Barnes, PhD will present “A Native Habitat Garden.” Dr Barnes’ presentation will tell attendees how wildlife are adapted to using native plants as a source of food and cover. His program will feature plant selections that provide food for hummingbirds, song birds and other wildlife in the Eastern United States. Some discussion of plants that wildlife do not like will also be presented. He will showcase the beauty and diversity of plants useful in landscaping for wildlife through his award winning photography.
8:30–Outdoor Movie “Jens Jensen The Living Green“

Sunday, August 17, 2014

8:00–Take a walk on the Trestle Trail
9:30–Workshops 5 & 6
11:00–Founder and Director Chip Taylor, PhD will present “A Monarch Butterfly Recovery Plan.”  Dr Taylor will outline a recovery plan for monarch butterflies. Chip will present background information about the monarch population along with an idea of what would be required to address the loss of milkweed/monarch habitat and an explanation of the estimated annual loss of habitat. His discussion will include the components needed to successfully stabilize and then increase the milkweed habitats that support the monarch population and outline some of the basic issues. His hope is that these ideas will be useful in shaping the conversations needed to create a vision and plan as to how best to restore the monarch population.
12:00–Monarch Moves Dance n’Plant Festival hosted by Wild Ones Fox Valley Area Chapter and filming of participants “moves for monarchs” by the Moving for Monarchs film crew.  Come in butterfly costume and compete to win a prize.  For the schedule of events and more details on the filming of “Dance for Life” or to submit a film entry go to  Moving for Monarchs.

To register:

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Caterpillars & butterflies

A website that has proven helpful in identifying butterflies seen fluttering in the area lately:

Monarch caterpillars on swamp milkweed


Spicebush swallowtail caterpillar


Frillillaries were a common site on coneflowers


Wild Ones Fox Valley & Green Bay chapters tour two beautiful properties landscaped with natives

The LaLuzerne property in De Pere features ver one hundred  species of native trees and shrubs and dozens of native grasses, flowers and water plants that have been planted over a 36 year period on what was a once barren corn field.  With a stream, pond and lake added by the owners, their family has enjoyed years of relaxation and recreation in a beautiful setting that has been evolving over the years.

Who wouldn't want to be a guest
in this "guest house"
with a view of the nearby pond?

The 7 acre Mead property on the west edge of Green Bay has 2 acres of prairie.  The prairie was planted in 1996 and is maintained by mowing each spring.  There is a small wetland and creek.  Native trees planted include tamarack, eastern red cedar, basswood, paper birch, locust, aspen, red maple and red and white oak.
Down a long winding drive a turkey waits to greet us!

A mowed trail system allows visitors to wander
through the property.

Coneflowers seem to be a butterfly favorite

Back down the winding drive after an enjoyable day
touring beautiful properties with members of
Wild Ones Fox Valley & Green Bay chapters.