Spring is in Full Swing!  Check Out All the Plant Sales and Programs!
Healing the earth, one yard at a time

April 2018 Newsletter
In this edition:

Urban Trees with Erica Lewis
Pollinator Palooza
Landscapes in Progress
Sunflowers and Relatives with Dr. Ed Schilling
New Member Orientation & Welcome Party
Roundtable Discussion - Books about Native Plants


Application Now Available

May & June 2018 Classes






Photo above: Collinsia verna, commonly called blue-eyed Mary, is a showy bi-colored (blue and white) woodland wildflower that blooms in spring (April - May) on weak slender stems clad with opposite medium green leaves. In the wild, it is often found blooming in large sprawling drifts, sometimes covering an acre or more. It is typically found in rich woods, slopes, valleys and floodplains of small streams in the eastern United States.


Volunteer to Help!

100% of the programs, events and activities of the Tennessee Valley Chapter are planned, organized and coordinated by volunteers.  We have no paid staff, so we truly count on the generosity of our members and community volunteers.  

With all of the community events in April, we need volunteers to help us out.  You don't need any experience to volunteer, and your support will help get the word out about the benefits of landscaping with native plants.  It's also a great way to meet other like-minded people, and if you're participating in the Certificate in Native Plants Program, you can count your time toward the volunteer requirements.

We also need volunteers to staff our Wild Ones information tables at the following community events: Reflection Riding Spring Plant Sale, Master Gardeners of Bradley County S pring Forward, and the Bee City USA Pollinator Festival.

Please click the button below and be generous with your time for one or more events.  We thank you for your valuable time!

Seeds for Education Grants
Is your school located in the Chattanooga metropolitan area and would you like to:
  • Attract butterflies, bees and other pollinators to your schoolyard with wildflowers and native grasses.
  • Add opportunities for hands-on science in biology, ecology and earth science.
  • Expose students to healthy, outdoor physical activity.
  • Reduce energy consumption and improve storm water management; enhance sustainability and green-school certification.
Teachers and students across the United States are expanding learning opportunities by  enhancing their schoolyards with butterfly gardens and other pollinator habitats. 

CHAPP and Wild Ones offer assistance for all aspects of such projects.  Cash grants of up to $500 are available for plants and seeds , and in-kind donations from Nursery Partners  can help stretch these dollars. We can help you locate experts and information in the Chattanooga area.  

Go to our  SFE Criteria page  to read how we will evaluation an application

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.

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

Class registration for early 2018 classes is currently open for:

Spring Wildflower Hike
Instructor: Jon Evans, PhD
Saturday, April 14, 2018
9:00am - 12:00pm CDT
University of the South Campus, Sewanee TN
Only 2 spaces available

Introduction to Botanical Drawing
Instructor - Mary Priestley
Saturday, May 12, 2018
9:00am - 12:00pm
Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center

Native Plant Communities
Instructor - Jon Evans, PhD
Saturday, June 9, 2018
9:00am - 4:00pm CDT
University of the South, Sewanee TN


April 5-8, 2018

April 7, 2018
Georgia Native Plant Society Spring Native Plant Sale
10am - 2pm, McFarlane Park, Marietta GA

April 12-15, 2018

Birmingham AL

April 12-15, 2018
Huntsville AL
Native azaleas and wildflowers available

April 14, 2018
Plantapalooza Plant Sales
Three locations in Athens GA

April 19-21, 2018
Reflection Riding Spring Plant Sale
Chattanooga, TN

April 27-28, 2018
Native Plant Sale , hosted by Obed Watershed Community Association
Cumberland County Community Complex, 1398 Livingston Rd., Crossville TN

May 5, 2018
Night Song Nursery Open House
1095 Epperson Rd, Canton, GA 30115

Note: Some of the dates listed above are for members only of the respective organization.  Please confirm details before you plan travel.

April 3, 2018
Planting in a Post-Wild World - Lecture by Thomas Rainer
Birmingham Botanical Gardens

April 7, 2018
Connor Toll House, 4212 Anderson Pike, Signal Mountain, TN
INFO and register

April 14-15, 2018
Garden Expo, presented by the Hamilton County Master Gardeners
Camp Jordan - Chattanooga, TN

April 14-15, 2018
Presented by the friends of the South Cumberland State Park
Monteagle, TN

April 21, 2018
Spring Forward presented by Bradley County Master Gardeners
Museum of 5ive Centers, Cleveland TN
Seminars, featuring Wild Ones members

Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
featuring professionally-guided walks to explore the region's rich natural and cultural resources.
Gatlinburg, TN

May 8-12, 2018
Wilderness Wildlife Week
FREE at the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge TN
Visit Booth 46 for the Native Plant Sales Boutique

May 19, 2018
Native Plant Symposium at Southern Highlands Reserve
Lake Toxaway, NC

May 20, 2018, 1-4pm
Bee City USA Pollinator Festival
Lookout Mountain Elementary School, 321 N. Bragg Ave., Lookout Mountain TN

Note: Some of the dates listed above are for members only of the respective organization.  Please confirm details before you plan travel.

Native Plants Make a Difference!
So what is the big deal about native plants? Why should we have to look harder to find these darn native plants when the nurseries and the big box stores have oxygen-making, flowering, and fruiting plants for our yards?   READ MORE.

Electricity of Life.  
Bees "see" differently than we do.  This short video desc ribes why bees are attracted to certain flowers and how "electricity" helps be es collect pollen.   VIEW.

Sex, Lies and Butterflies.  
This vibrant new PBS Nature special explores the astonishing survival techniques of butterflies, including their 360° vision, deceptive camouflage, chemical weaponry, and fantastic flight across continents. Through sophisticated macro-filming, viewers get a rare glimpse beyond the butterflies' bright colors and fragile beauty as they follow them on one of the greatest migrations on Earth. Narrated by Paul Giamatti.  Premiering on PBS on April 4th.  INFO.

These Popular Pesticides Are Really Bad for the Birds and the Bees. 
As spring approaches, US farmers are gearing up to plant about  180 million acres in corn and soybeans -a combined land mass nearly twice the size of California, mostly in the Midwest. The  great  majority  of the seeds they sow will be coated with neonicotinoid pesticides: synthetic chemicals thought to be harmless to humans but that attack bugs' central nervous systems - and, as new research shows, hinder birds' navigation abilities. READ MORE.


Spring is here!
Enjoy a few photos of what's been happening outdoors.

Cladonia (cup lichen) is a  genus of  moss-like  lichens in the family Cladoniaceae.  This lichen, spotted on a rock in a shaded ditch, 
is most likely C. christatella, also known as British Soldier Lichen. 
The red structure at the top is an apothecium, an open ascocarp (fruiting body) that bears the ascospores in asci (sacs).  
Photo by Mike O'Brien.

Sassafras tree blossom photographed by Mike O'Brien.
Mike reports that this tree has berries each year in the late summer and fall. All of these flowers are female as evidenced by the central pistil (confirmed with 10X hand lens).  Since Mike did not find any male flowers on this tree, so he believes it is one of the two dioecious species, most likely is Sassafras albidum, the most common one in the Eastern U.S. The Sassafras tree flowers before it leafs out.  Each flower is about 1/4" diameter, and they occur in dainty clusters.

Adult Northern Cricket frog (1.25" long).
Cricket frogs are recognized by the well defined dark triangle between their eyes. There are Northern and Southern species Cricket frogs. They are separated by subtle features such as amount of hindfoot webbing, prominence of dorsal rear leg stripes, rounded or pointed nose,  etc. This one is believed to be a Northern Cricket frog based on interpretation of those features in this individual.

These tiny frogs are usually found well hidden under rocks or in crevices. Mating occurs February through October. Coloration can be very variable. 
Photo by Mike O'Brien.

Pollination in process on a dandelion (genus Taraxacum).
In part due to their abundance along with being a generalist species, dandelions are an early spring nectar sources for a wide host of pollinators.
Heather Holm says in an article "Saving Our Bees: Myths and Misunderstandings"  in Best of 2017 Wild Ones Journal that dandelions were introduced from Europe and are an attractive source of nectar for bees, but have a low 15 percent protein content and are an inadequate source of protein for bee larvae. 
She suggests better sources of early spring pollen to have in our gardens are native pussy willows (Salix discolor) and red maple (Acer rubrum),
as well as early flowering woodland wildflowers.

Photo by Mike O'Brien.

Mike O'Brien came upon these two Southern Black Widow spiders (Latrodectus mactans) when he overturned a big stepping stone in his field. It is very rare to see the male and female Black Widow Spiders at the same time. This female shows the classic red hourglass on the underside of her abdomen, but is all black on her dorsal (top) side. The male shows its characteristic dorsal red and white markings on its abdomen. The female Black Widow rarely bites unless disturbed, but they are the most venomous spider in North America. They are slow moving and the male Black Widow is harmless. The female's web glistens in sunlight and it extremely strong with a characteristic springiness to it when touched. While not orb weavers, they can still build a sizable web under logs, large rocks etc. 
Photo by Mike O'Brien.

 Viola sororia (common blue violet). 
The caterpillars of fritillary butterflies feed on these plants.
The plants also serve as food for wild turkeys, rabbits, deer, livestock, the mourning dove, the bobwhite, and the white-footed mouse.
Photo by Nora Bernhardt.

Viola hastata (Halberd Leaf Yellow Violet) is a native wildflower
with yellow flowers and hastate (meaning arrowhead-shaped) leaves.
The leaves are halberd-shaped and may be veined with bronze. 
A halberd is an axe like weapon used in the 15th and 16th centuries. 
Photo by Lisa Lemza, taken along Big Soddy Gulf Trail.


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Join the Tennessee Valley Chapter

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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 www.wildones.org.
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 tnvalleywildones@gmail.com