Friday, January 16, 2015

2015 Wild Ones Fox Valley Area Conference

January 24, 2015
8 AM to 4:15 PM
Oshkosh Convention Center
Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Keynote 9:00
Aldo Leopold, Phenology and Climate Change, Dr. Temple is the Beers-Bascom Professor Emeritus in Conservation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For 32 years he held the academic position once occupied by Aldo Leopold.
Dr. Stanley Temple, our keynote speaker, will trace how the invaluable records Aldo Leopold kept of when plants bloomed, birds migrated, and other natural events occurred, paved the way to understanding how climate change is affecting our ecological community.
Concurrent Session I 10:30-10:45
Landscaping With Native Plants, Carol Bangs Carol K. Bangs & AssociatesLandscaping With Native Plants Carol Bangs Carol K. Bangs & Associates
What can we learn from native plant communities? Are all native plants suited to residential landscapes? What are the special features to be considered about these plants?Interactions Between Plants and Insects Dr. Gretchen Meyer,Senior Scientist, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Field Station
Interactions Between Plants and Insects Dr. Gretchen Meyer
Senior Scientist, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Field Station
Plants and insects are linked in many ways. Plants with colorful flowers often rely on insects for pollination, but plants also must contend with the numerous insects trying to eat them. In the case of carnivorous plants, plants have turned the tables on insects and can trap and consume them! This presentation will cover these links between plants and insects, including pollination, herbivory and carnivorous plants, focusing on plants of Wisconsin.
Ecology, Economics, or Culture: What Determines the Composition of Your Prairie? Scott Weber Owner, Bluestem Farm
In spite of 70 years of prairie and savanna restoration in Wisconsin, few plantings match the composition and diversity of our native remnant prairies. Many iconic species such as gentians, shooting stars, prairie lilies, and other “conservative” species are lacking or under-represented. This talk will challenge widely held beliefs of restoration ecology and show why our remnant prairies should be the model for all plantings.
Concurrent Session II 1:15 to 2:30
Grassland Bird Conservation, John Dadisman, Research Scientist, Wisconsin DNR
As America’s prairie grasses gave way to agriculture in the 19th and early 20th century, many of the bird species that inhabited native prairies were able to adapt to the hayfields and pastures. However, over the past 40 years grassland bird populations have declined more than any other group of birds. We’ll take a look at who these birds are, why their numbers are declining, and how high-quality prairie restoration and protection can help.
Wetland Restorations: Are They for the Birds? Jill Hapner, Ph.D., Senior Biologist, GeoBotany Consulting Services
Despite decades of interest in wetland restoration there have been few studies of the characteristics that make a restored wetland good bird habitat. Jill will describe her research on how bird use of small created and restored wetlands changes over time. She will also discuss the effects of wetland design and land use surrounding the wetland, revealing whether the wetlands are indeed “for the birds.”
Karner Blue Recovery: Where We Were, Where We Stand, and Where We Are Going, Bob Hess Karner Blue Butterfly Recovery Coordinator, Wisconsin DNR
The barrens communities of Wisconsin are home to a number of unique and rare species, including the Karner blue butterfly. In his presentation on "the barrens and the blues in a changing climate," Bob Hess will explore the development of the Karner recovery program in Wisconsin, habitat restoration efforts, ongoing research and findings, current status, challenges to the Karner recovery program, and a plan to accommodate climatic changes.
Concurrent Session III 3 to 4:15
Be Woods Wise, Tracey Koenig, Executive Director Heckrodt Wetland Reserve
Learn how to evaluate woodland properties and establish targets for habitat management. Look at your wooded yard or lot with a new eye. What do you add to make your woods attractive to wildlife? What do you get rid of? How do you deal with impending management issues such as the Emerald Ash Borer?
Invasive Plants and Those Earthworms Underneath, Bernie Williams Invasive Species Specialist - Forest Health, Wisconsin DNR Invasive plants are on the move. Learn how to identify and understand them, and why earthworms are giving them an extra boost!
Prairies: Continuing the Legacy of a Wisconsin Ecosystem, Amanda Zopp Larsen Legacy Senior Naturalist, Riveredge Nature Center
Amanda will discuss best management practices for managing prairie habitats. Her talk will include discussion on what the future of prairie management might look like and what we might be managing for in the years to come.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

2015 garden trends predicted by others

“Two fundamental issues will drive gardening trends in 2015—erratic weather patterns and a growing concern for the environment,” according to Tom Tiddens, supervisor of plant health care at the Chicago Botanic Garden.  He has predicted increasing focus on:

  • Cumulative Stress: Several years of erratic weather (drought followed by prolonged, record-breaking cold) have had a cumulative stress effect on many plants, especially evergreens. Stress causes a lack of plant vigor, increasing plants’ susceptibility to pests and diseases.  
  • Rainwater Management: Rain gardens temporarily hold rainwater, relying on specialized native plants to wick up to 30% more water into the soil than a typical lawn, minimizing the pollutants that flow into storm drains. The native plants used in rain gardens also provide  habitat for birds, bees and beneficial insects. 
  • Corresponding Color Schemes: Gardeners will move toward more monochromatic displays, such as using shades of red alone, or shades of purples and blues together in the same design. Increased use of leaf interest will provide texture and shades of green. Pollak also predicts home gardeners will use their outdoor spaces more and more for relaxing and entertaining, increasing the demand for outdoor decor.
  • Less is More: New compact hybrid perennials will be making their way into the U.S. market next year. New breeding efforts have produced dwarf versions of Japanese anemones (Anemone x hybrida) that are perfect for containers or the front of the border. New compact cultivars of little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) will become more widely available in 2015. 
  • Birds, Bees and Butterflies: The increased availability of equipment and support, both online, and at better garden centers, and botanical gardens will help boost the number of backyard beekeepers. There wukk be a continued rise in bird- and pollinator-friendly gardens filled with nectar-rich and native host plants, fueling a continuing upward trend in the demand for organic, pesticide-free and non-GMO plants and products.

Garden Media Group released its annual garden trends report for 2015. “Unearthing the Best Life” identifies nine consumer trends that will shape the garden and outdoor living industry and resonate in the coming year.

  • The New Consumers: The millennial generation (18-35), making up 25 percent of the population in the United States, is bigger than the baby boomer generation and continues to grow. Young men are spending $100 more per year on plants and garden products than the average consumer. Hispanics, the fastest growing segment of the U.S., have a cultural tradition of growing food for their family and sharing with friends.
  • Wellbeing: Consumers want to make the world a better place with products that are environmentally friendly and safe for pets and children.
  • Garden-tainment: People are estimated to spend $7 billion on outdoor d├ęcor in 2015. They will use their outdoor spaces as an extension of their homes to entertain. 
  • Bite-Sized Decadence: Small container gardens will pack a lot of punch in 2015. 
  • Rebel-hoods: Neighborhood residents are rebelling against and campaigning for the reversal of ordinances. They will work to transform the neighborhood to the agri-hood – complete with urban chickensbee keepers and lawn-less landscapes.
  • Color Pops: This year, use trending color palettes – ranging from vintage to muted rustic to teal – to show off personality outdoors.
  • Portable Gardening: The rise of “NOwners” who prize freedom over homeownership is fueling modular flexibility that allows for unique design and personalization. They are renting, sharing and bartering and want their gardens to travel with them.
  • Bed Head Style: Purposefully un-styled outdoor spaces are the result of intentionally working within the natural landscape. This casual landscape style expresses an effortless personality with an “anything goes” attitude.
  • Smoke Your Garden: With an increasing number of states decriminalizing marijuana, more people will begin growing their own and need seeds, plants and products. 
(Garden Media Group specializes in home, garden, horticulture, outdoor living, lawn and landscape industries, offering innovative PR campaigns designed to secure top media placements and partnerships.)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

2015 Herb of the Year

International Herb Association Herbs of the Year

2015 Savory
2014 Artemisia
2013 Elderberry
2012 Rose
2011 Horseradish
2010 Dill
2009 Bay Laurel
2008 Calendula
2007 Lemon Balm
2006 Scented Geraniums
2005 Oregano & Marjoram
2004 Garlic
2003 Basil
2002 Echinacea
2001 Sage
2000 Rosemary
1999 Lavender
1998 Mint
1997 Thyme
1996 Monarda
1995 Fennel

Summer Savory
Winter Savory
Summer Savory

Family: Lamiaceae 
Genus: Satureja 
Species: hortensis 
Spacing: 9-12 in. (22-30 cm)
Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Shade
Bloom Color: Rose/Mauve, Violet/Lavender, Purple, White/Near White
Bloom Time: Mid Summer
Foliage: Dark/Black, Aromatic
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Soil pH requirements: 6.1-8.5
Propagation Methods: From seed; sow indoors before last frost or direct sow after last frost
Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds and clean prior to storing

Use summer savory, with its more delicate flavor, for vegetables such as tender baby green beans. Try it in tea mixes, butters, egg dishes and fresh grilled vegetables.

Winter Savory
Height: 6-12 in. (15-30 cm)
Spacing: 9-12 in. (22-30 cm)
Hardiness: USDA Zone 5a-8b
Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Shade
Bloom Color: Pink
Bloom Time: Late Summer/Early Fall
Foliage: Aromatic
Water: Average Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Soil pH requirements: 6.6 to 7.5 
Propagation Methods: By dividing the rootball, From softwood cuttings, By simple layering
Seed Collecting: Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds: clean before storing

Use winter savory to enhance the taste of dried beans and lentils. Its robust flavor holds up very well in dishes that are slow cooked, like stews, soups and roasts. Winter savory has a stronger flavor than summer savory, pairing well with wild game meats and beef and roast dinners.

Herbes of Provence 

2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried marjoram
2 tablespoons dried savory
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers

Combine all ingredients in a blender process on a low to medium setting for about 10 seconds or until the lavender has been broken down into very small pieces. Store in an airtight container.

Notable Native Herb of the Year

2015 Dittany (Cunila origanoide)
2014 Redwing milkweed (Asclepias variegata)
2013 Wild bregamot (Monarda fistulosa)
2012 Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)

2015 Notable Native Herb

Family: Lamiaceae
Latin Name: Cunila origanoides (L.) Britton
Common Names: Common dittany, Maryland dittany, Frost flowers, Fairy skirts, Stonemint
Growth: Perennial subshrub to 18 inches
Height: 6-12 in. (15-30 cm)
Spacing: 6-9 in. (15-22 cm)
Hardiness: USDA Zones 7b-11
Sun Exposure: Full Sun, Sun to Partial Shade
Bloom Color: Pale Pink, Pink, Rose/Mauve
Bloom Time: Mid Summer, Late Summer/Early Fall
Foliage: Grown for foliage, Evergreen, Silver/Gray, Aromatic, Velvet/Fuzzy-Textured
Soil: Dry, rocky, shallow
Soil pH: 6.6-7.8
Water: Moderately dry, Drought-tolerant once established, Suitable for xeriscaping
Water regularly, Do not overwater
Use: Traditional medicinal and beverage plant; ornamental
Propagation: Seed, division, spring and summer stem cuttings
Seed Collecting: Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 All-America Selections

All-America Selections promotes new garden seed varieties with superior garden performance judged in impartial trials in North America.

Basil Dolce Fresca 2015 AAS National Vegetable Award Winner

Pepper Emerald Fire F1 2015 AAS National Vegetable Award Winner (2,500 Scoville units)

Pepper Flaming Flare F1 2015 AAS National Vegetable Award Winner

Pepper Pretty N Sweet F1 2015 AAS Regional Vegetable Award Winner

Pepper Hot Sunset F1 2015 AAS Great Lakes Regional Vegetable Award Winner 
(650 Scoville units)

Lettuce Sandy 2015 AAS National Vegetable Award Winner

Pak Choi Bopak F1 2015 AAS Great Lakes Regional Flower Award Winner

Radish Roxanne F1 2015 AAS National Vegetable Award Winner

Squash Bossa Nova F1 2015 AAS National Vegetable Award Winner

Squash Butterscotch F1 2015 AAS Naitonal Vegetable Award Winner

Tomato Chef's Choice Pink F1 2015 AAS Great Lakes Regional Vegetable Award Winner

Impatiens Bounce™ Pink Flame PPAF 'Balboufink' 2015 AAS National Flower Award Winner

Impatiens SunPatiens® Spreading Shell Pink 2015 AAS National Flower Award Winner

Petunia Trilogy Red F1 2015 AAS National Bedding Plant Award Winner

Salvia Summer Jewel White 2015 AAS National Bedding Plant Award Winner

(Selections I might try planting in 2015)

National Garden Bureau:

Every year they pick an annual, perennial and edible to feature in a publicity campaign. Feel free to use the fact sheets and photos provided for each crop.

2015: Year of the Coleus
2015: Year of the Gaillardia

2015: Year of the Sweet Pepper

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2015 Tree of the year

Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea)
City foresters, municipal arborists, landscape architects, and landscapers nominate the trees that they have found to be the most worthy for urban use in their areas for Society of Municipal Arborists' Tree of the Year.

SMA Tree of the Year Winners:

2015 Yellowwood (Cladrastis kentukea)
2014 'Vanessa' Parrotia persica
2013 Live Oak
2012 Accolade Elm
2011 Goldenraintree
2010 Redbud
2009 Chinkapin oak
2008 Nyssa sylvatica
2007 Baldcypress
2006 Kentucky Coffeetree
2005 'Chanticleer' Pear
2004 'Autumn Blaze' Maple
2003 'Allee' Lacebark Elm
2002 'Heritage' River Birch
2001 Bur Oak
2000 'Redmond' Linden
1999 'Skyline' Honeylocust'
1998 Swamp White Oak
1997 'Ivory Silk' Lilac
1996 'Princeton Sentry' Ginkgo

Monday, January 5, 2015

The 2015 Perennial Plant of the Year™

Each year, members of the Perennial Plant Association from all across North America vote on their choice for Perennial Plant of the Year™.  PPA members vote for the Perennial Plant of the Year™ each summer. In addition to the vote, each member may also nominate up to two plants for future consideration. The Perennial Plant of the Year™ committee reviews the nominated perennials (more than 400 different perennials are often nominated each year), selecting 3 or 4 perennials to be placed on the ballot. Nominations generally need to satisfy the following criteria:
  • Suitability for a wide range of climatic conditions
  • Low-maintenance requirements
  • Relative pest- and disease-resistance
  • Ready availability in the year of promotion
  • Multiple seasons of ornamental interest
Their choices:

2015 – Dwarf Cranesbill (Geranium cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’)
2014 – Tall Switch Grass (Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’)
2013 – Japanese Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’)
2012 – Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’)
2011 – Arkansas Blue Star (Amsonia hubrichtii)
2010 – Blue False Indigo (Baptisia australis)
2009 – Japanese Forest Grass (Hakonechloa macro ‘Aureola’)
2008 – Cranesbill Geranium (Geranium ‘Rozanne’)
2007 – Blue Catmint (Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’)
2006 – Border Pink (Dianthus Firewitch)
2005 – Lenten Rose (Helleborus x hybridus mixture)
2004 – Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum var. pictum)
2003 – Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Becky’)
2002 – Summer Phlox (Phlox paniculata ‘David’)
2001 – Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’)
2000 – Dwarf Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’)
1999 – Golsturm Coneflower (Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’)
1998 – Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’)
1997 – Perennial Salvia (Salvia x sylvestris May Night)
1996 – Beard-tongue (Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’)
1995 – Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
1994 – Dwarf Astilbe (Astilbe simplicifolia ‘Sprite’)
1993 – Hybrid Speedwell (Veronica ‘Sunny Border Blue’)
1992 – Threadleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’)
1991 – Palace Purple Coral Bells (Heuchera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’)
1990 – Creeping Woodland Phlox (Phlox stolonifera)

(planted in my garden beds)

Geranium cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo’ is a low-growing hybrid, found originally in the mountains of Eastern Europe. Plants form a low, spreading mat of fragrant dark green leaves, bearing clusters of white flowers, with a tinge of soft pink. The very long flowering period makes it especially useful as a low groundcover or edging plant and in tubs or mixed containers. Fairly drought tolerant, once established. Easily divided in spring or early fall. Evergreen.

Sun Exposure
  Full Sun or
  Partial Shade

Soil Type
  Normal or
  Sandy or

Soil pH
  Neutral or
  Alkaline or

Soil Moisture
  Dry or

Care Level
Flower Colour
  Light Pink

Blooming Time
  Early Summer
  Mid Summer
  Late Summer
  Late Spring

Foliage Color
  Deep Green

Plant Uses & Characteristics
  Accent: Good Texture/Form
  Alpine & Rock
  Deer Resistant
  Drought Tolerant
  Rabbit Resistant
  Ground Cover

Flower Head Size

   15-20 cm
   6-8 inches

   30-45 cm
   12-18 inches

Foot Traffic

Growth Rate

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The first sunset of 2015

 A lone ice surfer sails into the first sunset of the new year on Lake Winnebago.

2015 Garden Resolutions

  • Allow time during the cold winter months to spend poring over seed catalogs
  • Consider the structure of the garden during the winter when limbs are bare prior to embarking on updated designs for garden beds
  • Determine pruning necessary and best times of year do it
  • Start seeds to save money, add varieties of crops
  • Extend growing season by utilizing cold frames, row shelters, greenhouses
  • Plant more edible crops to enjoy more fresh, healthy produce throughout the growing season
  • Research new recipes and cooking methods to use to add variety and spice up meals
  • Preserve more vegetables, fruits and herbs to enjoy through the long winter season
  • Harvest more flowers to enjoy in arrangements in the house
  • Share more and share with neighbors and food pantries
  • Compost food waste, garden waste and paper to amend soil
  • Refrain from using potentially harmful chemicals in yard
  • Conserve water by diverting water with rain barrels and rain gardens
  • Continue to reduce lawn area and recycle clippings on lawn rather than bagging for removal
  • Keep on top of weeding
  • Plant more native plants to welcome pollinators to the landscape
  • Consider needs of wildlife to when making landscaping choices
  • Plan for seasonsal color and blooms 
  • Add fragrant plant to the garden
  • Take time to "smell the roses"

  • “We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, 
    drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. 
    Maybe this year, to balance the list, 
    we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives...
    not looking for flaws, but for potential.” 
    ~ Ellen Goodman