"The Chestnut Project" on May 9th
Healing the earth, one yard at a time

May 2016 Newsletter

Catawba Rhododendron

In this edition:

Restoration of the American Chestnut - Monday, May 9
Landscapes in Progress - Saturday, May 14
May Prairie and AEDC Meadow Walk - Saturday, May 28
Member Picnic - Saturday, June 25
Alabama Natural Sites & Private Gardens Weekend Trip - July 8-10








Restoration of the American Chestnut
with Dr. Hill Craddock

Monday, May 9, 2016 --  6:00 pm
green|spaces, 63 E. Main St., Chattanooga TN
FREE and open to the public

The American chestnut (Castanea dentata) is a large, monoecious deciduous tree of the beech family native to eastern North America. Before the species was devastated by the chestnut blight, a fungal disease, it was one of the most important forest trees throughout its range in the eastern U.S., and was considered the finest chestnut tree in the world. It is estimated that between 3 and 4 billion American chestnut trees were destroyed in the first half of the 20th century by blight after its initial discovery in 1904. Very few mature specimens of the tree exist within its historical range, although many small shoots of the former live trees remain. 

On May 9, Dr. J. Hill Craddock will share information about his current research that is focused on the restoration of the American chestnut to the Appalachian hardwood forest ecosystem and the establishment of a commercial chestnut industry in Tennes see. 

Dr. Craddock is the UC Foundation Davenport Professor in Biology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Department of Biology, Geology and Environmental Science.  He teaches courses in general biology, economic botany, dendrology and mycology. 

For more program information, click HERE.

May Prairie and AEDC Meadow Walk
with Dennis Horn

Saturday, May 28, 2016 

May Prairie and the AEDC (Arnold Engineering Development Complex) Meadow boast one of Tennessee's most diverse plant communities, with more than 300 species, 25 of which are rare in Tennessee. Adjoining the Hickory Flat Wood Wildlife Management Area (WMA), May Prairie is the only Tennessee location for both the snowy orchid and coastal false-asphodel. It also includes many species common to the Midwest tall grass prairie.

May Prairie is a 250-acre natural area in Coffee County near Manchester. An impressive open grassland community, consisting of little bluestem and tall grass prairie communities, protrudes into the nearby oak forest. A swamp forest forms the headwaters of what once was the "prairie tributary."

The walk will be led by Dennis Horn, co-author of "Wildflowers of Tennessee."  

FREE for Wild Ones Members only
Limited number of spaces available

Saturday, May 14, 2016 --  9:00 am - 2:00 pm
The Spring Landscapes in Progress tour is on Saturday May 14, 2016.  Three members of the Tennessee Valley Wild Ones will open their home gardens to a small group of members.
Mark your calendars now for the Summer Landscapes in Progress tour on Saturday, July 23, and for the Fall Landscapes in Progress tour on Saturday, September 17, 2016.  Registration for these programs will be available soon.

Members' Summer Picnic
at Reflection Riding

Saturday, June 25, 2016 --  10:30am - 1:30pm
Wild Ones and family members ONLY
Join other Wild Ones members for a fun day together.   We'll gather at the picnic tables near the Butterfly Garden, at the back of the Visitor Center.  The day will start with a short, guided walk on the property, followed by a casual picnic lunch together.

Mark your calendar.  More details will be coming soon.   And plan to bring your family!

So that we can anticipate how many people we'll have, please click the button below to register.

Alabama Natural Sites and Private Gardens 
Weekend Trip for Wild Ones Members
with Leon Bates

Friday, July 8 - Sunday, July 10 
Join other Wild Ones members for a memorable weekend trip to northwes tern Alabama to visit a very special nature preserve and two unique private gardens in the F lorence, AL area.  Our trip will be led by Leon and Pat Bates.  We will have access to areas not normally open to the public, and we will have the opportunity to meet the people who created and/or preserved these special sites.

We will visit the magnificent Cane Creek Canyon Nature Preserve
a 713-acre privately protected scenic area in the Little Mountains region of Colbert County, Alabama. We will also see the amazing moss garden of Maria Wall, and visit another memorable private garden, accessible only for our group.

The group will depart Chattanooga in the morning of July 8th and return on the afternoon of July 10th.  The trip is free, but registrants are responsible for their own hotel reservations (2 nights), meals and transportation.  Hotel information, detailed schedule and carpooling options will be provided upon registration.

Registration is limited, so sign up early.

Monthly CNP classes will begin again in July.  Another email will be sent later this month, as soon as program details are available and registration is open.


Tennessee Valley Chapter Officers

Family responsibilities have required Cheri Hubbard to step down from the role of President of our chapter.  Marti Owensby has agreed to take on the role of President for the remainder of 2016.  Board member Lisa Lemza has been named as Vice-President.

Beverly Inman-Ebel will continue as Secretary, and Bill Moll remains Treasurer.  At Large Board members are Karna Levitt and Daniel Talley.  An additional At Large Member will be named in the near future.


Seed Collection

Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center is seeking volunteers immediately to assist with collection of native plant and wildflower seeds.  There is no experience necessary. Volunteers will be trained about the specific native plants/flowers from which they will be collecting.  Interested?  Call Corey Hagen at 423-821-1160 ext. 112, or send an email to volunteer@reflectionriding.org.  Flexible scheduling is available, as long as you contact Reflection Riding in advance, so that they can plan ahead for helping to acquaint you with the plants from which seeds will be collected.

Butterfly Garden Work Day - Thursday, May 5

You're invited to join Wild Ones member Ann Brown and other Wild Ones on Thursday, May 5, from 10:00am until 12:00pm to help finish weeding and mulching the Butterfly Garden at Reflection Riding.  For info, email Ann at brownw01@yahoo.com


Founding Gardeners
A Talk by Best-Selling Author Andrea Wulf

You're invited to Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center on Monday, May 2nd at 7:30 p.m. to see best-selling author, Andrea Wulf in a talk about the revolutionary generation from the unique and intimate perspective of their lives as gardeners, plantsmen and farmers. After the discussion, relax and enjoy wine and hors d'oeuvres from 8:30-9:30 p.m.

Advance reservations for this fundraising event will be $35 per individual and $60 per couple with a discount of 20% for Reflection Riding members. Reservations the day of the event will be $45 per individual and $75 per couple with a discount of 20% for members. Seating is limited.

Click HERE for info and registration.
Call the Education Department at 423-821-1160, ext. 112 for more information.


Trailhead Nursery
May Dates

Trailhead Nursery, a project of the Friends of the Cumberland Trail, is located on Walden Ridge in Lone Oak, Tennessee at 54 Miller Cove Road right next to the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail on the Cumberland Plateau.  Trailhead Nursery is a non-profit native plant nursery dedicated to growing plants native to Tennessee and its Cumberland Plateau to use for restoration on state park land as well as provide healthy, environmentally sustainable native plants to private and public landowners.  All efforts are supported by volunteers as well as public and private donations.

Saturday, May 14, 2016, 9 am - 3 pm (EDT) Exhibiting at the Land Trust for Tennessee's Signal Mountain Trail Day at Rainbow Lake, Signal Mountain.  For more information, go here.

Saturday, May 28, 2016, 10 am - 2 pm (EDT) Open Hours at the nursery.

For more info about the Trailhead Nursery, click HERE.


Overhill Gardens
Spring Open House

Friday & Saturday, May 6 & 7, 8:00 am - 4:00pm - Rain or shine.  Join your fellow native plant enthusiasts for a day at Overhill Gardens, exploring a selection of over 800 species native plants and cultivars.

ALL customers will receive a FREE "Cup Plant" with each purchase ($11 value).
The Cup Plant is a butterfly and pollinator magnet, a bold perennial that grows up to 7' high.  (Limit one per customer)

Click HERE for map and directions.  Click HERE for plant info.


Lyreleaf Sage (Salvia lyrata) 
Tennessee Naturescapes writes, "Have you noticed the little blue flowers adorning our roadsides lately?  Consider incorporating this overlooked native into your 'alternative' lawn. It makes a great evergreen groundcover, with ajuga-like foliage and showy light blue flowers in spring. It will reseed easily in loose, sandy soils and forms a solid cover with regular watering. You can  mow it and walk on it. The exposed lower lip of this and other salvias provides an excellent landing platform for bees. When a bee lands, the two stamens are tipped, and the insect is doused with pollen! Hummingbirds like it too. A tough little plant, Lyreleaf Sage can tolerate periodic flooding as well as drought. Native Americans used the root as a salve for sores, and used the whole plant as a tea for colds and coughs."

Mapleleaf Viburnum (Viburnum acerfolium)
Native to eastern North America, Mapleleaf Viburnum is a relatively small, rounded, suckering, deciduous, woodland shrub that typically grows to 3-6' tall and 2-4' wide. Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. This shrub is generally more shade tolerant than many of the other species of Viburnum.  It produces green maple-like leaves (2-5" long) which are opposite, ovate to rounded, coarsely toothed and three-lobed.  Tiny white flowers in long-stalked, flat-topped cymes (to 3" across) bloom in mid to late spring. Flowers give way to pea-sized fruit that ripen to bluish-black in late summer. Leaves produce excellent reddish-purple to magenta fall color.  Many species of songbirds eat the fruits of Mapleleaf Viburnum. The relatively low-growing plants provide good nesting and escape cover for birds and small mammals. 

Sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa)
Sundrops are a tough and reliable perennial, well-suited to hot dry sites. The stems of  are thin, hairy, and reddish with similar leaves. The buds begin as red but open into beautiful bright yellow flowers beginning in May in the Tennessee Valley. It is an easy, dependable, a strong grower that can spread a bit, particularly in sandy soils. 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.

False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum racemosum)
False Solomon's Seal  is a great woodland native plant. Unlike the spring ephemerals whose displays are fleeting, this plant  has an interesting transition lasting three seasons.  In early spring, arching stems with large leaves are eye-catching. During May in our area, each plant produces a plume of snow-white flowers which are subsequently replaced by green berries. The berries swell through the season, each developing a unique pattern of red mottling that contrasts beautifully against the green leaves. By late August the berries achieve a mango coloration and the green leaves fade to the rich shade of wheat.   The mildly fragrant flowers are pollinated by a great variety of small bees and flies and a very diverse array of small beetles (including seed beetles, long-horned beetles, click beetles, blister beetles, tumbling flower beetles, flower scarab beetles, and pedilid beetles).  The fruit of the false Solomon's seal are consumed by a wide variety of birds and a small number of rodents. The passage of the seeds through the intestinal tracts of these species stimulates germination.   Confused about how to tell False Solomon's Seal from true Solomon's Seal?  Check out this webpage .


for Better Photos
by Wild Ones member, Mike O'Brien


Photo Thoughts - May 2016

This month I would like you to think about the perspective of how your camera is seeing your subject, not how your mind's eye is seeing the subject. The mind plays tricks on us with our photos, making appear them appear as we would like to see them instead of how the camera's sensor actually records them. 

How many photos have we all seen of children, pets, flowers etc taken from the adult photographer's upright position (2-6 ft. above the subject's level)?  This often distorts the perspective of the subject, making a child's or pet's head appear much larger relative to the rest of their body... or the flower larger than the rest of the plant. 

Lowering or raising your camera's position to be at the same level as the subject creates a more natural viewing angle and is a good habit to develop. Bending the knees, squatting, lying on the ground, climbing a rock, and using a ladder are all fair game for accomplishing this more "natural" view. The camera type you use makes no difference -- the same principle applies. 

The two photos above of Ragwort are are taken with the same camera, same settings, same camera-to-subject distance, exact same feet position, etc. The only difference in the two is that I squatted to take the photo on the right, and it is more pleasing to the eye.  Simply by squatting, the camera's sensor was at the flower's level. Try this easy perspective tip and I hope you will be very pleased with the results.

Photos from the Field
by Wild Ones member, Mike O'Brien

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) seed pod
from Shakerag Hollow Hike, 4/2/16.
Note the fleshy white eliasomes attached to the brown seeds. The elaiosome is rich in  lipids  and  proteins  that attract  ants , which take the seed to their nest and feed the elaiosome to their  larvae . After the larvae have consumed the elaiosome, the ants take the seed to their waste disposal area, which is rich in nutrients from the ant excrement  and dead bodies, where the seeds  germinate .

Old grape vines - from Shakerag Hollow Hike, 4/2/16

Long Spurred Violet (Viola rostrata)
from Shakerag Hollow Hike, 4/2/16

Dutchman's Breeches ( Dicentra cucullaria)
 from Shakerag Hollow Hike, 4/2/16

Male carpenter bees pollinating Red Buckeye ( Aesculus pavia)


Become a Wild Ones Member!
Join the Tennessee Valley Chapter

See what's happening on our social media sites:

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