FREE "Sunflowers & Relatives" program on September 11th!
Healing the earth, one yard at a time

September 2017 Newsletter

In this edition:

Middle Ocoee Raft Trip to See Rare Asters - September 10
Sunflowers & Relatives - September 11
Fall "Landscapes in Progress" - September 30
Book Club - Coming Soon!


Plant Form & Function  Part 1 - September 9
Native Plant Communities - September 16 (SOLD OUT)
Plant Form & Function, Part 2 - October 14
Landscape Design - November 11



The Monarchs are Here!



Photo above is Euonymus americanus (Hearts a Bustin').


Sunday, September 10
Middle Ocoee River
Wild Ones Members Only

Join Lisa Lemza, Tennessee Valley Wild Ones President, 
for a memorable raft trip on the Middle Ocoee River 
to see Ruth's Golden Aster (P tyopsis ruthii ), 
one of the world's rarest native plants.

Monday, September 11, 2017
6:00 pm, green|spaces
63 E. Main St., Chattanooga
FREE and open to the public

  • Even in a small yard, you can create different garden "rooms."
  • Watch out:  Indigo (Baptisia) can get HUGE!
  • Mountain diervilla or Mountain bush-honeysuckle (Diervilla rivularis) can be a suitable alternative to forsythia.  Make sure you use native honeysuckle!
  • Benign neglect can be an effective strategy!
  • Give everything 3 years before trying something else.
  • If your dog fennel (Eupatorium capillifolium) is out of control, keep mowing it and it will eventually die.
  • You can order great plant labels on-line from Kincaid Plant Markers.  The Kincaid Signature Series "M" and "P" style makers are the most durable and aesthetically attractive labels available.  Try the "M" style marker and Brother TZeS (the S-type has extra strength adhesive for long-term outdoor use) label tape. The labels will last many years in full-sun conditions, and the actual markers should last a lifetime.

Monday, October 9
63 E. Main St.
FREE and open to the public

In fall 2014, Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta embarked on an ambition task of restoring a 65 acre old-growth forest. The forest had become host to 50 different non-native, invasive plant species that were choking out native plants and decreasing forest biodiversity. Since that time over 30 acres have been at least partially restored. This presentation will cover means, methods, successes and challenges of this restoration project and include advice on how you can tackle these ever-present invasives in your local forest or home landscape. Target species include English ivy, Chinese wisteria, thorny olive, leatherleaf mahonia, and various species of monkey grass.

Eli Dickerson is the Ecologist and chief "tree hugger" at Fernbank Museum of Natural History where he manages the 65 acre, old-growth Fernbank Forest.  Eli has B.S. in Biology from Winthrop University and an MBA in nonprofit management from Georgia State University.


We Need Your Help in September & October !

The Tennessee Valley Chapter of Wild Ones is run 100% by volunteers!  Want to be involved?  We'd love to have you!

Currently we we are looking for volunteers to help staff our information tables at the following events:
  • Crabtree Farms Plant Sale (September 15-16) 
  • Hamilton County Fair (September 22-24)
  • Reflection Riding Fall Native Plant Sale (October 5-7) 

No experience is necessary.  Check out these opportunities by clicking below:

Certificate in Native Plants Classes

The Certificate in Native Plants program is designed to expand students' knowledge of botany, ecology, conservation, and uses of native flora in the southeastern United States. Students will get both classroom education and hands-on application to increase knowledge and skills that can be applied at home, in the community, and at work. The course setting will provide a common ground for native plant enthusiasts to meet and connect with others who share their interests. 

The CNP is designed to benefit both home gardeners and landscaping professionals alike.  You do NOT need to be working toward the Certificate in order to register for classes.

If you are interested in working toward YOUR Certificate, please note that the Plant Form & Function classes are CORE classes required for the Certificate.  Now is a good time to get those classes in!

CNP classes are limited to 25 participants.  They fill up quickly, so register now to ensure your place.  

Click the buttons below for program details and registration.

Plant Form & Function - Part 1
Instructors: Richard Clements & Mary Priestley
Saturday, September 9, 2017
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Reflection Riding Arboretum &  Nature Center
CORE Class (6 credits)

Plant Form & Function - Part 2
Instructors: Richard Clements & Mary Priestley
Saturday, October 14, 2017
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m 
Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center
CORE Class (6 credits)

Landscape Design
Instructor: Daniel Talley
Saturday, November 11, 2017
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m 
Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center
ELECTIVE Class (4 credits)


Fall is a great time to plant!!

September 15-16  

September 20
Birmingham Botanical Gardens Fall Plant Presale
You may pre-order plants from BBG by completing  an order form and emailing it to the address provided on the form.  If sending an email pre-order, provide your  name, email, phone#, pick up time, botanical name, size, quantity, and a total of order as noted in the order form.    There is a   $200.00 minimum order   size for pre-sale orders, so its perfectly okay to round up a few friends to place an order.  Due to limited quantities of some varieties, orders will be processed in the order received at the email address provided on the order form.  C ompleted order forms must be received by end of day, September 15. Plant pickup is at BBG on September 20.  Exact cash or check are accepted at pickup time; no debit/credit cards.

October 5-7 
Reflection Riding Fall Native Plant Sale

October 21-22 


Bee City USA Update

Candace Chasen (District III Tennessee Federation of Garden Clubs Director Candace) and Ann Brown (Wild Ones Member and Pollinator Presenter Extraordinaire) will be proposing the Bee City USA model to the Lookout Mountain City Council on Tuesday, September 12 at 5:00pm.  

The Bee City USA program endorses a set of commitments, defined in a resolution, for creating  sustainable habitats for pollinators , which are vital to feeding the planet.  

Letters of support have been provided by many individuals and by various organizations, including Wild Ones, the Tennessee Aquarium, Lookout Mountain Conservancy, Garden Clubs, etc. Supporters from garden clubs, as well as priests and church members from Good Shepherd, will attend the meeting to show support. Please join the group of supporters!

As reported in our last newsletter, the twelve garden clubs in TFGC District III will each establish native plant Pollinator Gardens and Monarch Waystations.  
 All the plant material will be pesticide free and no pesticides will be used in or around the gardens.  


The Monarchs are Here!
They have been coming through our area since the first week in August...and that should continue through October.  If you're interested in  current research information on the Monarchs, these sites have lectures by the top researchers in this area, including Lincoln Bower and Chip Taylor:

The Monarch Genome Project
After sequencing 101 butterfly genomes, researchers found that just one gene appears to makes a huge difference in the ability of butterflies to migrate long distances - and that finding suggests monarch butterflies came to fly so far because they evolved more efficient muscles.   The study of monarch genes also suggests that the butterflies began their evolutionary history as a migratory species that spread worldwide before a few groups settled down and eventually became separate homebody species.  Read more.

Tennessee State Parks' Arboreta Showcase Tennessee's Tree Diversity
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word "arboretum" from the Latin "arbor," meaning "tree," as "a place where trees and plants are grown in order to be studied or seen by the public." Similar definitions read: "a place where many kinds of trees and shrubs are grown for exhibition or study."   Tennessee arboreta are literally located from one corner of the state to the other, from the Tri-Cities in upper East Tennessee to the heart of the Central Basin to the Mississippi River Valley just south of downtown Memphis.  Read more.

Befriending Our Native Bees
Bees are our most important group of pollinators. Bees pollinate about 75 percent of our fruits, nuts and vegetables and about 80 percent of other flowering plants. Bees provide one out of every four bites of the food we eat. Without bees, our diets would be severely impoverished.  Read this excellent article about how to support our native bees.

Phlox paniculata 'Jeana' is a pink, small-flowered cultivar which is more recently becoming widely available.  This selection of Phlox paniculata was discovered by Jeana Prewitt along the Harpeth River in Nashville, Tennessee so it is native to the hot and humid South. 
 This was not a bred hybrid and, by all indications, is a naturally occurring selection of the species. It also has good mildew resistance which is a generally a concern for cultivars of this species.  Read more.

Leave the Leaves for Now.
August is one of the peak caterpillar months...  Unfortunately, not noticing them means that many get destroyed in "clean up" efforts... Like butterflies? Think you're seeing fewer than before? Leave the weeds for now. Let the creatures have their time. Read more.

Found by Mike O'Brien in a field -- several large colonies of these lovely plants with pink-lavender flowers of Maryland Meadowbeauty (Rhexia mariana). 
  According to Wildflowers of Tennessee by Horn and Cathcart, this is a perennial herb and grows in low clusters up to 18-24" high. The leaves are hairy and the flower has 4 petals and 8 stamens as does the Evening Primrose flower, however, the Evening Primrose has cross-shaped stigma at the tip of the pistil. The flowers are approximately 3/4" in diameter and the leaves are lanceolate and opposite.  Photo by Mike O'Brien.

 Male Black Swallowtail Butterfly.  
Many plants in the Parsley Family are host to its caterpillars.  Note the yellow color of the two, parallel spot bands on the wings. There is an isolated yellow spot near each forewing tip inside the inner yellow spot band, and there are two adjacent centered hindwing "eyespots" of yellow, orange and central black behind the tip of the abdomen.   Photo by Mike O'Brien.

Flowering Spurge (Euphorbia corollata) flowers. Photo by Mike O'Brien.

Mating pair of Silvery Checkerspots butterflies.
Note the spread turkey tail-like appearance to the wing pattern. These Silvery Checkerspots are similar in appearance to the Pearl Crescent butterfly which is smaller and has a simple pale-below-pattern to its wings among other subtle differences. Both butterflies are common in AL and TN.  Photo by Mike O'Brien.

Nursery Web spider (Pisaurina Mira) hunting on a flower of a Bur Marigold (Bidens aristosa) aka Beggar Ticks.  Photo by Mike O'Brien.

Cloudless Sulphur butterfly's mature caterpillar on host plant,
Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata),
aka Dwarf Cassia, Locust Weed
Photo by Mike O'Brien.

Northern Walking Stick Insect.  
  This is a very common Walking Stick.   Its head is pointing to the 11 o'clock position with its two front legs on either side of it to disguise it as a stick. It is 3" long. They are vegetarians and are disguised as twigs or stems. Interestingly, they have the capacity to regrow a lost leg which is an uncommon occurrence in most insects. They are wingless (except for one species in South Florida) and move very slowly. There are 33 species in North America. Young nymphs resemble adults.  Photo by Mike O'Brien.

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Wild Ones: Native Plants. Natural Landscapes is a national non-profit organization with over 50 chapters in 13 states that promotes environmentally sound landscaping practices to preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities. Please read more information about Wild Ones at
The Tennessee Valley Chapter presents guest speakers, field trips and other special events throughout the year, as well as an annual native plant and natural landscaping symposium in early spring. 
To contact our chapter, email us at