June 2020 Newsletter
Healing the earth, one yard at a time.
Dear Wild Ones Members, Friends and Supporters,

Summer is almost here! In this most unusual of summers, we're still practicing social distancing, and it continues to impact how the Tennessee Valley Chapter of Wild Ones is providing programs and other resources.

Our free public program on June 8th will be accessible via Zoom. Cooper Breeden, Southeastern Grasslands Initiative Conservation Coordinator, will join us to talk about phone and tablet apps that can help you identify plants in your garden and in the wild.

Meanwhile nature continues to thrive, plants are blooming, pollinators are hard at work, and we hope we can provide some new ways of connecting with our amazing natural world and the biodiversity of the Tennessee Valley.

June Programs
What's That App?:
A Discussion about
Plant Identification Apps
Monday, June 8, 2020
6:00pm (Eastern DST)
Online via Zoom
FREE and Open to the Public

Cooper Breeden, Southeastern Grasslands Initiative Conservation Coordinator, will lead off the discussion with an overview of the iNaturalist app, followed by chapter members reviewing other apps like PlantSnap, Tennessee Wildflowers, Google Lens and others. Participants are invited to share other apps they have found useful. 
June CNP Class

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. The CNP offers a blend of classroom instruction, hands-on learning and guided hikes. Participants are required to complete four core classes, eight electives, and 40 hours of volunteering for approved native plant projects. 

Visit  www.TNValleyWildOnes.org/CNP  for more information.  Classes are open to Wild Ones members and non-members, whether or not you are pursuing the certificate.  

Ecology of Wetlands
Saturday, June 13, 2020

We regret that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this class has been cancelled.

We are attempting to make arrangements for remaining CNP classes during 2020. Information will be provided as soon as possible.
Congratulations to the CNP Class of 2020!

Like many other graduates this spring, our Certificate in Native Plants Class of 2020 was not able to walk across the stage in front of their family and friends. Plans for a more formal recognition were put on an indefinite hold when the chapter’s annual Plant Natives 2020! Symposium was canceled back in March. However, we extend a well-deserved congratulations to the following graduates on completion of the Certificate in Native Plants program administered by the Wild Ones, Tennessee Valley Chapter in partnership with Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center and the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Mary Bryan
Gwen Fisher
Pam Rice
Lyn Rutherford
Chris Tanis
Elaine Tate
Ed Warr

These participants completed the four core courses, eight elective courses and a minimum of forty hours of volunteering for approved native plant projects or organizations. They have removed invasive plants at Lula Lake, Reflection Riding, Mill Creek Greenway (Davidson County, TN), and Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary (Brentwood, TN). One participant guided volunteers in planning and planting the Davidson Academy Prayer Garden. Another recent graduate weeded and identified plants in the physician’s garden at Chief Vann House State Park, GA where she also interacts with visitors. A butterfly garden was planted and maintained at the Chattooga County Library, thanks to a CNP volunteer. Our graduates have spent countless hours preparing for native plant sales and assisting customers with their selections. They have spoken at garden club meetings and answered questions related to native plant gardening and pollinators at many public events. They have planned chapter programs and assisted with our annual symposiums and native plant garden tours.

Save These Dates!
Habitat Hero Awards
and Special Speaker Presentation
Friday, September 11, 2020 evening time TBA

Native Plant Garden Tour
Saturday, September 12, 2020

Save the Dates!

More information coming soon.
Where to Buy Native Plants

Many regional nurseries are offering mail order and curbside plant purchases.
Please check their websites and call in advance for details.

Our website provides a list and contact information for
local and regional native plant nurseries.

Interesting Information
Microbiome Rewilding:
Biodiverse Urban Green Spaces Strengthen Human Immune Systems
A research team led by the University of Adelaide has found that revegetation of green spaces within cities can improve soil microbiota diversity towards a more natural, biodiverse state, which has been linked to human health benefits.
Those Confusing Leaves of Three
In the continuing story of ‘paying closer attention to what’s going on at home,’ the subject of identifying poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans ) came up while talking recently. Many of us are concerned with properly identifying it so as to at least avoid it if not actually get rid of it.
Weeds in the Garden
To some, the job is a moving meditation, filled with a calm sense of purpose.

To others, a monotonous chore filled with intrusive, repetitious thoughts of "There has to be an easier way of doing this.", "Is spraying herbicide really all that bad?", or "Can I set this all on fire?"

No matter which camp you fall into, weeding is like death and taxes - constant. 

We're posting an informative newsletter about weeding from Northcreek Nurseries.
Bumblebees bite plants to make them flower early
Bumblebees aren't just bumbling around our gardens. They’re actively assessing the plants, determining which flowers have the most nectar and pollen, and leaving behind scent marks that tell them which blooms they’ve already visited.

Now, a new study reveals that bumblebees force plants to flower by making tiny incisions in their leaves—a discovery that has stunned bee scientists.
New research illuminates nocturnal pollen transport network
The whole world is worried about bees. And well they should be:  75% of the world’s crops  depend on them, as do innumerable wild fruits and flowers. 

But  as a recent study in Biology Letters points out , pollen transport doesn’t stop when the sun sets. A vital, overlooked group is on the night shift: moths. 
Online Resources
Join a Facebook GROUP!
The Tennessee Valley Chapter of Wild Ones invites you to join our Facebook Group . There, you can see posts by other members and people interested in native plant gardening. It's a great place to get new information and ask questions.

There are also a number of other Facebook groups that may be of interest. These include:

To join a Facebook Group, you must first sign up for a free Facebook account. With most Facebook Groups, an Administrator will approve your admission to the Group. Please note that each group has specific guidelines and practices for posting photos, content and questions.
NEW Lawn to Wildflowers App
The Lawn to Wildflowers mobile application is available now for free for Apple and Android devices. It features a pollinator identification game, wildflower and pollinator guides, step-by-step instructions for converting turf grass to native wildflowers, and more.

You’ve heard about the decline in honey bee populations. But there are also over 5200 species of native bees in North America, many of which are also in peril. By learning about these native species, you will be better able to ensure their conservation. The app includes games to help people learn basic insect and bee identification skills.

There are also easy-to-follow instructions and videos for lawn-to-wildflower restoration techniques and by making it simple to purchase the appropriate native seed mixes. The standard lawn-to-wildflower plot for this project will be 6 x 6 feet. Why? Research shows that this is large enough to attract native pollinators, while still small enough for many people to manage.

Once you have created a lawn-to-wildflower plot, you will then be able to collect scientific data. To make this easy, the mobile app has a built-in tool to collect data on plants and pollinators that will automatically be added to a nation-wide database. With data pouring in from across North America, Lawn to Wildflowers will be able to answer questions about when and where lawn-to-wildflower restorations successfully promote native biodiversity.

If you don't have a smart phone, the website includes the app's key features.
Online Programs of Interest
Conservation of Native Plant Communities Presentation
Did you miss the May 11, 2020 public meeting of the Tennessee Valley Chapter of Wild Ones? No problem, because it was recorded and is now available on YouTube.

The presentation featured Trent Deason, a preservationist focusing on natural resource management in the Chickamauga National Military Park. He spoke about managing plant communities and exotic invasive management strategies.
Webinars for Home Gardeners and Educators
Wild Ones is co-sponsoring a national webinar series in conjunction with New Directions in the American Landscape. There are ten live, interactive webinars featuring a renowned group of instructors including Doug Tallamy, Wild Ones Lifetime Honorary Director, and Larry Weaner, founder of New Directions in American Landscape. 

The instructors will illustrate landscaping techniques that make our little corners of the world more ecologically sound and enjoyable to experience. Whether you choose to learn how pollinators, people, and plant communities interact; how to share concepts of ecoliteracy with your children; or how to collect your own seeds, this series will cover an eclectic variety of topics while generally emphasizing the importance of place-based ecological landscapes.

This is a great opportunity to learn about ecologically sound landscaping right from your own home!

30-minute webinars - FREE
60-minute webinars - $ 25.00
A Walk in the Garden:
Webinar Series
The Ecological Landscape Alliance is offering a webinar series,  A Walk in the Garden . Upcoming Wednesday webinars include:
  • Landscaping with a Purpose: What's Diversity Got to Do with It?
  • Spring to Summer: Native Plants That Bridge the Seasonal Divide
  • Specialist Bees
Raising Monarch Butterflies
The following series of photos, taken recently by Lena Hall and Erin Thurman, show the tiny monarch butterfly caterpillar and egg sac on a Milkweed leaf, the growth of caterpillars, the chrysalis, the butterfly release, and the blossom on Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). Lena has several years of experience removing caterpillars and leaves from Milkweed plants, and then safely nurturing them until they pupate, turn into chrysalises and emerge as Monarch butterflies. She releases the adult butterflies, adding to the healthy population in the wild.

Are you interested in raising caterpillars?
Here are couple links that Lena recommends:

We do NOT recommend using tropical milkweed and/or resorting to ordering mail order eggs to raise butterflies.
Photos from the Field
Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica)
as nectar source for Eastern Carpenter Bee

Itea virginica, commonly called Virginia sweetspire, is an erect, rounded, broad-spreading, deciduous shrub with arching branches. Typically grows 3-4' (less frequently to 5') tall with a similar spread. Features fragrant, tiny white flowers borne in cylindrical, drooping racemes (3-6" long) which cover the shrub with bloom in late spring to early summer. Oval, dark green leaves (1-4" long) turn varying shades of red, orange and gold in autumn. Long period of fall color, with leaves often persisting on the plants until early winter.

Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Adaptable to shade. Prefers moist, humusy soils, but tolerates a wide range of soil conditions. Can form dense colonies by root suckering if left unchecked. The long tassels of white flowers and red fall foliage make this an attractive ornamental. Most effective in massed plantings, as single plants tend to be scraggly. Deer tend to avoid this plant. It attracts birds and nectaring insects. Photo by Nora Bernhardt.

Sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa)

Oenothera fruticosa, commonly called sundrops or southern sundrop, is an erect, day-flowering member of the evening primrose family. The blooms close at night and in cloudy weather. This native typically grows 15-30” tall and produces terminal clusters of bright yellow four-petaled flowers on stems clad with lanceolate green leaves. Flowers are followed by distinctive club-shaped seed capsules. Each flower is short-lived, but flowers bloom in succession over a fairly long period of two months. The beauty of this plant continues with its evergreen reddish color in winter.

Sundrops are easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. They prefer heat and dryish soils. They will tolerate poor soils, light shade and some drought. Sundrops will grow in partial shade, but flowers best in the more sunny spots. Once a popular pass-along in old fashioned gardens, sundrops are enjoying a renaissance with the growing popularity of native plants and wildflowers.

Moths pollinate the flowers, particularly Sphinx moths. Other occasional visitors include the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, honeybees and bumblebees. The insects seek nectar, although some of the bees collect pollen. 

Photo by Mike O'Brien.

Hoptree or Wafer Ash (Ptelea trifoliata)

Hoptree is a large shrub or small deciduous tree native across a wide swath of North America from Canada to northern Mexico and including all of the eastern and southwestern states. The shrub belongs to the citrus family and represents the most cold-hardy member of the family. It is a handsome, shiny-leafed shrub that grows equally well in full sun or shade and is tolerant of a wide array of soil types. Once established, Ptelea has considerable drought tolerance. 

The common name refers to a reported use in earlier days of the bitter  fruit  as a substitute for hops in brewing beer. Hoptree produces nectar that is attractive to many butterflies and pollinators, especially the Giant Tiger Swallowtail.

Photo by Mike O'Brien.

Buck Moth Caterpillar ( Hemileuca maia)

The Buck Moth Caterpillar can sting, so be careful if you spot one. Mature larvae enter the soil to pupate in late June and emerge between October and November as moths to mate and lay eggs. The Buck Moth is a common insect found in oak forests. Photo by Mike O'Brien.

Join Wild Ones!
Joining or Renewing
Your Wild Ones Membership?
Join a community of native plant enthusiasts – novices to experts – making a difference by establishing and preserving communities of native plants in home landscapes, schools, businesses, and communities.

AND receive benefits, including discounted admission for our annual Symposium and Certificate in Native Plants classes. As a member, you'll also be invited to members-only hikes, garden visits and social events.
Stay Connected

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