September 2020 eNews

RIWPS News of Note
First Virtual Plant Sale a Success
RIWPS's first online plant sale is over, plants have been picked up and we hope are settling into gardens throughout our region. Thank you to all who supported our sale and brought 1600 plants into our communities.  
This has been an unusual year for us all and we have had to adjust to working differently and that includes our seed starter groups. We have worked all year in small groups, wearing masks and social distancing to put together a nice selection of plants.
Special thank you to Sally Johnson and Melissa Hughes who made it possible to purchase our inventory online; Mary Lou Upham, who printed orders for us, and to those who donated plants to the sale. Several members volunteered significant effort to help load cars, direct traffic, and set up tents and tables. 
Thank you to a community of volunteers who have worked together to continue our mission to acknowledge the importance of native plants and make them available for our home gardens and communities. Learn more
Walks Updates
Ell Pond
Our highest priority is the health of our members, volunteers and those who attend our events. Thus, we have suspended our planned programs and events, including our walks
• Our Walks & Workshops Committee is looking to channel encounters, observations and comments related to native plants to the RIWPS blog. Members are encouraged to submit short pieces. All blog details
• Interested in seeing labeled images of some of the plants taken most recently in a variety of locations?
See Walk Leader Doug McGrady’s flickr account. You do not need to belong to flickr to view these images.

Self-guided Walks
Did you know the RIWPS website allows you to enjoy descriptions of a few of the wonderful places to walk in Rhode Island with a focus on the plant habitat? Come visit and then immerse yourself in some of these places. 
On the Trail is a feature series in our semiannual publication, WildfloraRI. Interested in writing such a description of an area you know? Contact office@riwps.org for more information.
In hunting seasons, starting in September, wear bright fluorescent colors in the woods. On state lands, you must wear 200 square inches (baseball cap) or 500 square inches (vest) of fluorescent orange depending on time of year. Other lands may also allow hunting. Check before you go. Additionally protect yourself from the elements and things that bite.

In Memoriam
With sadness we are sharing with you the news of the death of Jeffrey Marino. Jeff along with his wife Patricia have been sponsors and family members of RIWPS for many years. For more information
Other Native Plant News and Resources
seaside golden rod
The Late-Summer Lure of Asters and Goldenrods
They’re not just pretty — they also offer sustenance to the creatures that live in your garden, which is crucial as the seasons (and the climate) change. Read more of this NY Times article
Creating a Pollinator Garden for Native Specialist Bees of New York and the Northeast
This guide provides rich resources for the specialist bees of the northeastern US, particularly New York. Included are the native plants of New York crucial for supporting native specialist bees; the region or habitat the plant occurs naturally, date of bloom, color of bloom, plant structure, how to obtain seeds and transplants, and general propagation methods for each species. Download the guide
A Local Virtual Garden Tour - with Natives!
RIWPS's Mary O'Connor is also on the Board of the Cross’ Mills Library in Charlestown, where their biennial garden tour fundraiser went virtual.
While being physically present in a garden comes with the more sensory nuances than a virtual experience, the magic of a virtual tour was hearing the gardeners tell their stories as one meanders with them in their space.
Several native gardens, including those of RIWPS members were included. For more information and to take the tour
Lessons Learned on A Native Plant Journey
Cathy Weston, a home gardener, tells the story of a long-term project to restore her Cape Cod property to an eco-friendly habitat. She sought to help the environment in three ways: by accelerating the property’s reversion to a woodland, re-landscaping using native plants, and supporting the needs of local wildlife.
Opportunities
URI Learn At Home Series
There is something for everyone this fall, as URI's Cooperative Extension continues its shift from in-person to online programs. Every Tuesday evening at 7 from September through December, URI faculty, staff, and volunteers will share their expertise about a number of locally relevant and timely topics, followed by a Q&A. All sessions are free; registration is required. For a list of sessions, more information and to register
Deer-Resistant Native Groundcovers
Webinar | September 14

Discover the many native groundcovers that are easy to grow, shunned by deer, and offer year-round interest. Create a living mulch that provides seasonal beauty, is beneficial to wildlife, and moderates soil temperature and moisture. Registration required. For more information and to register
Evenings with Experts: Native Bees: Our Pollination Powerhouses
Webinar | September 23

Native bees are the most important and effective pollinators for our flowering plants. Although they play a crucial role in sustaining biodiversity, they are poorly understood and under threat from human activity. Registration required. For more information and to register
Propagation – Native Seeds
Whately, MA | October 17

In this interactive workshop, learn how to grow native plants from seed and why the skill is relevant in a horticultural context. Registration and fee required. For more information and to register
Monthly Mystery Flower
Among Rhode Island Wildflowers
The mystery plant for September, 2020 is believed rare in RI, but was observed years ago in East Greenwich, though can no longer be found there.More recently noted in Cranston/Johnston.
Stems are erect and 24-30 inches tall. Small trifoliate leaves, hairy on upper and lower sides with the upper side being more hairy than lower.
Flowers are purple and numerous and grow in tight racemes. Blooms from mid-August to late September. More images and access the site
Francis Underwood photo
About that new look...
Seeking reader feedback
Sometimes life surprises us in ways large and small. One of the small but unwelcome surprises your editor encountered this month was our content management service deprecating the template we have used for eNews over the past few years. Putting this issue together was a bit of a scramble to provide a timely and somewhat recognizable outcome. Since we have to build a new template anyway, there is a good opportunity to poll our readers to improve the eNews.
While the optimal reading experience is a subjective decision, we would like to see whether there is strong interest to refine or make outright changes to our format and content to ensure engaged and informed readers. Please send your comments to communications@riwps.org