Friday, January 07, 2005


Charles Darwin’s theory that “only the fittest survive” is a strong foundation for tree recommendations in St. Louis. Native trees have been through the ultimate test of time and should be given strong consideration when selecting the best tree for the right place. When you plant a native species, evolutionary history is your stamp of approval.


Before the sale of trees and shrubs became big business, few exotics (or non-natives) were used in common landscapes. World travelers had the privilege of collections, but most homes relied on the use of natives or near natives.

Unfortanately, it is now sometimes difficult to find a good selections of natives at garden centers and nurseries. Often, it is a combination of factors which make it difficult for nurseries to carry native plants.

Fortunately, most nurseries are taking an active role in education. Species selection and recommendations are taking on a more native tone. Greenscape Gardens carries a larger selection of natives now than 10 years ago.

One reason for the reluctance to carry native trees is their difficulties in transplanting. Many of the natives have a terrible track record in surviving the move from grower, to garden center, to your landscape. During the transplanting process, up to 90% of a tree’s root system may be disturbed or lost.


DOWNY SERVICEBERRY (Amelanchier arborea) A small tree with elegant drooping clusters of white flowers in early spring. Typically flowers two weeks before the dogwood. A reddish-purple berry ripens in June and is a preferred food of many wildlife species. Full shade or partial sun. Good border plant. A great choice for early spring flowers.

HAZEL ALDER (alnus serrulata) A small tree that can gro3w by suckers and colonize an area. Excellent for difficult to plant areas that are wet and boggy. Nice show of yellowish catkins in early spring. The fruit is a very interesting, small wood cone like structure.

BLACKGUM (nyssa sylvatica) A medium to large tree (35-60 feet) with excellent red fall color. When low branches are pruned, the tree is excelent for strees and yards as a shade tree. If the low branches are left intact, the tree becomes a wide spreading specimen that literally glows red in the fall. Found on wet sites and dry rocky hillsides. Free of serious pests.

YELLOWWOOD (Cladrastis lutea) A 30-50 foot tall tree with a rounded outline. White clusters of fragrant flowers bloom in May. The bark is smooth and grayish in color. Nice ornament for medium sized planting space.

RIVER BIRCH (Betula nigra) Found along streams, this tree also does well in urban soils. An excellent alternative to white birches because it is resistant to the bronze birch borer. For those who prefer the whitish bark of the white birches a variety of river birch known as “Heritage” is widely available. It has a very white bark instead of the brownish tinge found in common river birches. The “Heritage” variety is also native to the St. Louis area. Another variety that does well in the St. Louis area is “Duraheat”. River Birch is grown as a single trunk tree or as a multi-stemmed clump.

SWAMP OAK (Quercus bicolor) A large growing shade tree that is easier to transplant than the white oak. It requires acid soil. Grows more rapidly than white oak.

These represent a just a very small sampling of native trees that can be employed in the landscape. Just remember these points: First, natives are a good alternative to what has become the normal choice for most homeowners. Consider using the river birch instead of the European white birch. The serviceberry is a wise decision over the common Bradford Pear, and the list goes on.

Greenscape Gardens carries many Missouri native trees and will continue to stock natives whenever available from the growers.

Check our availability at:
Sorry but the Old Sign Philosopher is taking a week off and going to warmer climates. Time to refresh the old batteries with some R & R. Updates coming in one week, plus pics.





Chief Sheheke, head chief of the Mitutanka, has lunch with Captain Clrk and tells him about the land between Fort Mandan and the Rocky Mountains. He describes the Yellowstone River which flows into the Missouri River. He also describes a series of Great Waterfalls that are so large that it takes an entire day to portage around them.



Miss Beasley asked little Jill if she knows his numbers.

"Yes," she said. "My father taught me."

"Good. What comes after three?"

"Four," answers little Jill.

"What comes after six?"


"Very good," says the teacher. "Your dad did a good job. What comes after ten?"

Little Jill smiles and says, "A Jack."

Footnote: Little Jill is now 20 and earning her teachers degree and her favorite card game is TEXAS HOLD'EM.

Thursday, January 06, 2005


Water is a very precious resource on this planet. The quality of our water is becoming more questionable. Contaminants from agricultural, industrial and community sources makes many of our waters unsuitable for swimming, drinking or for aquatic life. Water quality is another environmental issue that trees can improve the planet. By trapping contaminants and slowing runoff, trees can alleviate many of the potential problems before they enter a body of water.

Land use is one cause of water problems. Development, agriculture and forestry have permanently altered many areas of vegetation. The vegetation used to perform the function of slowing runoff and filtering out pollutants. With the loss of vegetation near watersheds, water flows more rapidly, moving along greater amounts of pollutants and contributing to stream bank erosion. When vegetation is present, the water flow is slowed and soil particles and nutrients can be contained within a plant’s roots. Trees serve as the best filter, as they have a large amount of biomass to process and store pollutants.

Trees can be reincorporated into the altered environment in many ways. Windbreaks, shelterbelts and riparian buffer zones all serve to protect watersheds. By trapping airborne pollutants in foliage, windbreaks can prevent large amounts of dust and debris from ever reaching streams or lakes. Due to their location, riparian buffer zones often benefit watershed the most. They are the final line of defense before water enters the system. Here, the roots of trees and other vegetation absorb excess nutrients and pollutants as they also slow down incoming run off. Trees then store needed nutrients in their wood and release excess filtered water through their foliage into the atmosphere.

In agricultural land, other agro forestry techniques can also be utilized to protect water quality. Use of alley cropping includes rows of crops between rows of trees. Trees trap airborne dust, prevent soil erosion and absorb excess fertilizers and/or contaminants from animal waste. This technique is called silvopasture and can also create a secondary income from tree products.

Along community or urban roadways and parking areas, planting islands of vegetation can significantly absorb and slow down storm water runoff. These islands can be incorporated into large areas of paved space to create permeable surfaces where water can drain.

On a larger scale, acres of trees can create natural wastewater treatment and storm water management without the large price tag of building facilities. By absorbing excess runoff and transpiring it into the atmosphere, trees reduce the amount of water that needs to be managed. Any water intake is filtered through the tree’s system before it is released, reducing water pollution. Large and growing trees can contribute significantly to these municipal projects as they uptake excess nutrients and pollutants rapidly.

As man continues to pave his way to the future, man also needs to adapt in order to protect and improve his environment. Incorporating plantings of trees in any new development will increase water and air quality and help better manage the land of which we are stewards.


For additional information concerning the care and maintenance of trees and shrubs check out:






Captain Clark continues working on his maps on this cold winter day. Captain Lewis notes a brilliant halo around the sun caused by ice crystals in the air.



Plants have long served humanity. The habitats they help create feed both our souls and our bellies. They shelter wildlife and produce the air that we breathe.

Now plants are being asked to take on a new role.....that of helping clean up pollution on our planet. Thousands of acres of forests, wetlands, and prairies have been lost to civilization over the years and until recently that loss have not been realized. This loss has been compounded with the impact of increased pollution. Plants will have their work cut out for them.

Uran areas have been a site of increased studies to see what impact loss of tree cover has on the quality of life and the environment. An American Forest study revealed that urban areas have 21% less tree cover than just 10 years ago. This equates to more air pollution, drinking water, pollution, storm water management, and higher temperatures in what are deemed "urban heat islands". Increasing tree cover will save tax payers billions of dollars nationally and greatly improve everyone's quality of life.

The ability of plant life to clean up the air, water and soil of our planet has a profound economic and environmental impact. One example that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) cites is a study that shows one swamp in South Carolina eliminating the need for a $5 million waste water treatment plant. Using trees to sequester carbon is perhaps one of the newest and most controversialuses of plant life.

Global warning has become a more internationally accepted phenomenon, and carbon credit trading has become an accepted industry. Planting trees to sequester carbon has gained a large amount of economic interest. Large polluters are paying others to plant and maintain trees to offset their emission levels. This has opened up a whole new customer base to the nursery industry.

Trees and other vegetation have long served these environmental cleaning tasks. Humans now are learning to harvest this potential to directly mitigate environmental problems. The next decades will bring to light many more economic and environmental benefits to planting trees.



Globally, our dependency on fossil fuels has gotten us into a bind. It is now considered certain theat the question is not "WILL" our oil supplies run out, but "WHEN".

Currently, the world consumes 80 million barrels of oil per day. By the year 2025, many predict that the number will increase to 120 million barrels per day. Some Saudi Arabia oil insiders say that estimates for available petroleum reserves made by the United States are simply too high and that Saudi oil fields will reach peak oil production much sooner than thought. According to the EIA (Energy information Administration), the U.S. currently relies on imports of 9.7 million barrels per day of crude oil and domestic production of 5.7 million barrels per day.

As new alternative energy sources are sought out, current methods to reduce dependency on foreign soil supplies will also include a greater reliance on conservation. Conserving energy means decidedly consuming less energy.

Besides actions like driving less or turning doun the thermostat, planting trees is a proven way to reduce energy consumption. Trees can naturally reduce heating and Cooling costs by blocking cold winds, shading from the hot sun or by evaporating cooling water from their leaves.

A well planned landscape can reduce home energy consumption by 30% and reduce surrounding air temperatures by as much as 25F. This can equate to a single family household annual energy savings of $100 to $250.



A man walks into a bar and sees an older couple who looks very
happy. He asks the bartender why they are so happy, and he says he doesn't know.

The bartender asked the couple if they want anything to drink and they said yes. Then the bartender asks, "Why are you so happy?"

The older couple says, "We just finished a puzzle. It took us 3

"3 years!!!" the bartender said, "It doesn't take that long to do a

"Oh yes it does" said the couple, "It said on the box..... 2 to 3

Wednesday, January 05, 2005





Captain Clark works on his maps. For the past three nights the Mandans have held their annual ceremony that draws the bison close to the villages. The blacksmiths have been repairing the Mandans' tools.


2006 Perennial Plant Association Plant of the Year

The PPA has just announced the 2006 Perennial Plant of the Year:
Dianthus gratianopolitanus 'Firewitch' ('Feuerhexe')


This species of Cheddar Pinks, native to Cheddar Gorge, England, is highly praised for its spicy clove-scented flowers which face upward for maximum color impact. 'Firewitch' sports shocking magenta pink blossoms. They are produced prolifically above the silvery blue, 7-8 inch tall mats of evergreen foliage. Though they bloom heaviest in early summer, this cultivar often reblooms in early fall. It is hardy in zones 3-9.

Landscape Uses

Due to its relatively short stature, dianthus is an excellent plant for the front of the flower border. It can even be used as edging or in containers. Be sure to clip a few blooms for bouquets--they make excellent cut and dried flowers. Butterflies love to drink their delicious nectar, but thankfully, deer generally don't share this same fondness for dianthus.


Dianthus grows best in loose, well-drained, neutral to slightly alkaline soils. Lime can be added to the soil if it is naturally acidic to raise the pH. Dianthus can be grown in full sun or part shade, but the foliage will not be as lush and fewer flowers will be produced if it is grown in hot, dry areas. Regular watering during prolonged dry spells will be necessary. However, they are tolerant of short periods of dryness. Do a thorough clean-up in the fall to prevent pest and disease problems, and add a layer of mulch to protect the evergreen foliage. As soon as the weather begins to warm up, remove all of this mulch to prevent crown rot. Dianthus can be propagated by division every few years in early spring, just as the new growth begins to appear. This is recommended because Dianthus tends to be a short-lived perennial otherwise.


Dianthus g. 'Firewitch' is available in one gallon containers at Greenscape Gardens.

We also proudly offer other candidates for the 2006 Perennial Plant of the Year but were not selected for the top prize.

Amsonia hubrichtii--Arkansas Blue Star
A southern native with very narrow, needle-like leaves that line the stems like bottlebrushes. 2-3 inch wide clusters of small, light blue, star-like flowers are produced in late spring and early summer. Perhaps its most prized attribute, however, is the brilliant golden yellow fall color of its billowy foliage. It forms the perfect backdrop for fall-flowering perennials such as dendranthemas, asters, and sedums. Height: 3 feet. Hardy in zones 4-9. This item will not be available until spring of 2006.

Nepeta faassenii 'Walker's Low'--Catmint
Gray-green, aromatic foliage gives way to a plethora of soft lavender-blue flowers which are produced over a long period in summer. Although the stems are 2-3 feet long, the plant's arching habit brings the height down to 18 to 24 inches if it is not staked. When Nepeta's stems are broken, they release an aroma into the air that tends to attract cats, thus its common name, Catmint. Hardy in zones 3-8.

Agastache 'Blue Fortune'--Anise Hyssop
One of the finest new perennials to hit the market in years. This hybrid is a cross between A. rugosa and A. foeniculum. It was bred and selected by Gert Fortgens of the Arboretum Trompenberg in Rotterdam, Netherlands. A very long bloomer, 'Blue Fortune' starts to produce lavender blue, bottlebrush-like flowers on strong, upright stems in midsummer and continues blooming until early fall. Use this perennial to provide color in the garden late in the season when many other plants are finished. Its foliage smells distinctly like black licorice when crushed, thus its common name, Anise Hyssop. Height: 2-3 feet. Hardy in zones 5-9.



'KARL FOERSTER' Calamagrostis acutiflora

If you're thinking of adding ornamental grasses to your garden, then Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Karl Foerster,' is definitely worth considering. This feather reed grass was chosen 2001 Perennial Plant of Year by the Perennial Plant Association.

'Karl Foerster' is a good starting point for people unfamiliar with ornamental grasses. Ornamental grasses prefer a growing medium pH between 6-6.5. and prefer a slow-release fertilizer (i.e., 18-6-12 formulation) for sustained growth.

'Karl Foerster' has dark-green foliage and forms a purple inflorescence during May, holding its color for six weeks. The inflorescence begins to turn a straw color at the end of June. This color remains for the rest of the season.

No specific insect attacks 'Karl Foerster.' Rust can be a problem on foliage in the spring under cold, wet conditions, rarely causing defoliation under severe infestations. Once temperatures increase and excess moisture is eliminated, plants usually outgrow the disease. Rust can be controlled by cutting back the foliage.

'Karl Foerster' is one of the few grasses that can be used in nearly any landscape site . It is a very adaptable plant, tolerating nearly any soil type and moisture level. The plant reaches 4-7 feet in the landscape, but averages 5 feet in most locations.

'Karl Foerster' can be used by itself as a specimen plant, in groups of three to five plants or in mass as a screening plant. It can also be combined with perennials or conifers. The plant gives about 10 months of seasonal interest in the display gardens at Greenscape.



A lawyer walks into a bar and sits down next to a drunk who is closely examining something held in his fingers.

The lawyer watches the drunk for a while till he finally gets curious
enough to ask what it is.

"Well," said the drunk, "it looks like plastic and feels like rubber."

"Let me have it," said the lawyer. Taking it, he began to roll it
between his thumb and forefinger, examining it closely.

"Yes," he finally said, "it does look like plastic and feel like
rubber, but I don't know what it is. Where did you get it?"

"From my nose," the drunk replied.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005





Good news....bad news: Its 28 F but its snowing. Little Crow, the second chief of Mitutanka, comes to visit the Corps at Camp Mandan and is pleased with the gifts of a handerchief and two files.



Cold winter days and hot summer days can be hard on ornamental landscape plants and increase the demands on gardeners. To reduce the chance of damage and cut down on your own work and frustration later, it is important for plants to prepared for the season’s worst.

Ample moisture, which is essential for good plant production, becomes critically important. Because continual water is often costly and time consuming, it pays to conserve the moisture. And with trees, shrubs and flowers, the best way to do this is by mulching. A good mulch not only will retain precious moisture, but it will also provide several other benefits.

Mulch insulates the soil and protects it from the drying and hard baking effects of the hot sun and winds. Mulched soils are cooler than unmulched soils and generally show less fluctuation in soil temperature. Cooler, more even temperatures and less moisture evaporation from the soil surface allows plants to grow at a more constant rate.

Mulches also break the force of rain and irrigation water and tend to prevent erosion, soil compaction and crusting. Mulch helps the soil absorb water more readily and helps prevent rain or overhead irrigation from splashing soil.

The mulch covering also prevents germination of many weed seeds. Fewer weeds provide less competition from available moisture and nutrients. Using mulches to control weeds is much safer than using chemical weed controls or risking damage to tender, newly formed roots by cultivation.

Mulches are usually applied two to three inches deep. In general, the coarser the material, the deeper the mulch should be. For example, a 2 inch layer of grass clippings will have the same mulching effect as 6 inches of bark chunks.

There are inorganic mulches such as gravel or crushed rock. Many find this attractive in the landscape it does little in preventing the soil from drying out and since it reflects the sun, it will actually dry the plant out quicker.

By far, the more common and better mulches are the organic types. There are many of these and the selection is usually based on appearance desired and availability at the garden center.

A few of the more widely used organic mulches include: hardwood bark (coarse or Ozark black), grass clippings, leaf mold, wood chips and compost. Your choice should be weed free, clean, and long lasting. Organic mulches improve the soil structure when they break down and decompose in the soil, providing better aeration, drainage and water hold ability.

Even though peat moss can be an excellent conditioner when worked into the soil, it often makes a poor much because it draws up moisture and tends to pack and crust over the upper soil. Wood chips and sawdust will often rob the soil of available nitrogen, which is essential for plant growth. If you do use wood chips or sawdust it is advisable to replenish the nitrogen source.

Proper mulching is a wise investment choice for the vitality of your trees, shrubs, flowers and general landscape. As well as protecting the tree from injuries from lawn mowers and nylon weed eaters. The bottom line is simple, mulch your landscape to create healthy plants.


Northwestern University and Chicago Botanical Gardens Join Forces to Train Botanists.

At a time when native plant species are increasingly endangered around the world, so, it seems, is the plant scientist. Not enough botanists or plant conservationists are being trained to address the growing national and international threats to biodiversity and impending global mass extinctions.

In response to this critical shortage, Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden are joining forces to offer the nation's first Master of Science degree in plant biology and conservation -- a unique interdisciplinary program designed to educate the next generation of plant scientists. This is the first major collaboration between the two institutions.

For additional information:



TULSA, Okla. -- The 19th annual Chili Bowl, taking place from January 5th through the 8th in Tulsa, OK, is boasting an entry field of 255 midgets. No less than 13 of those entries are coming from the ranks of the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC).

One could call it a "Mega-Miller" assault by ARDC, as championship winning Mega Motorsports and the Miller Racing Team will make up nine of the 13 ARDC entries for what has become one of the premier auto racing events in North America. Joining those two teams will be the versatile Frank Polimeda, Fort Lee, NJ, two-time ARDC champion Bryan Kobylarz from Birdsboro, PA, Donnie Trent of Honeybrook, PA, and Chris Morway of Hebron, CT. Trent, who captured his second career ARDC victory during 2004's final race at Trailway, and Kobylarz will be teammates for Starrett Racing of Virginia as they attempt to battle their way into the A-main at the Chili Bowl.

Mike Miller, Birdsboro, PA, is fielding a six-car team in his second visit to the Bowl. Miller, his daughters Tracy and Michele, and the Royersford Rocket, Steve Buckwalter, will be teamed up with 1990 Chili Bowl winner Johnny Heydenreich of Indianapolis, IN, and Brownsburg, Indiana's Marc Dailey. In 2004, Miller Racing trailered four cars to Oklahoma, with only Buckwalter managing to qualify for Saturday night's A-main. Optimism rides high for this year, though, because Miller feels they will be more prepared for the star-studded event.

"Last year was our first attempt, even though Steve competed at the Chili Bowl in 2002. And we learned so much from last year's experience," explained Miller. "But you have to keep things in perspective, too. They've got, what, 255 entries for this year? And you see the best of the best at the Chili Bowl," continued the runner-up in last season's ARDC point standings. "All those drivers and all those champions are racing for just 24 starting spots in Saturday's big race. There's a lot of luck involved, but it's so much fun just being there and being part of such a great event."

Jeff "Milt" Aquilini, who is co-owner of Mega Motorsports along with Larry Gauker, agreed with Miller's assessment on the difficulty of simply qualifying for the Chili Bowl. "Ray (Bull, who has won the ARDC championship for the past five consecutive seasons) made the A-main last year, and we are very proud of that. There were 34 drivers at the Bowl last year who were either track champions or the champions of major racing sanctioning bodies. And only 24 cars get to run the A-main on Saturday. So you know that many of those champions go home early."

For the 2005 edition of the prestigious event, Mega is towing three cars to Tulsa. In addition to Bull, the Bloomsburg, PA veteran, Dave Shirk and Carey Becker will also tackle the quarter-mile dirt oval in hopes of transferring to the 50-lap A-main on Saturday. Shirk was ARDC's 2004 Rookie of the Year, narrowly beating out his teammate, Becker, for the honor.

"Carey will have a brand new Stealth Chassis for the Bowl," noted Aquilini, whose team is based in Reading, PA. We hung the old body on it, because the cars do tend to get beat up out there. The other two cars are last year's models, and they will be replaced after the Chili Bowl."

Aquilini also pointed out that Polimeda, who is driving Lou Zrinski's Kozak Precision Products no. 25, will be an "unofficial teammate" to the Mega Motorsports forces. "They are travelling out with us and will pit next to us, so we can help each other," stated Aquilini.

Qualifying takes place on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, with the top four finishers from each preliminary feature going directly to Saturday's A-main. The ARDC contingent has been divided into the three qualifying events as follows: on Wednesday evening, Shirk, Tracy Miller, Buckwalter, and Polimeda will compete.

On Thursday night, Bull, Michele Miller, Dailey, and Trent will try to race their way into the A-main. Friday night's action will find Mike Miller, Heydenreich, Morway, Becker, and Kobylarz wheeling their midgets on the tight, banked oval.

Adding to the excitement, a "Ladies of the Chili Bowl Dash for Cash" has been added to the Thursday night lineup this year. Sponsored by Pro Lube of Mustang, OK, the four females who entered the 19th annual Chili Bowl will compete in a $1,000, winner-take-all event after the heat races have been completed. The Miller sisters, Tracy and Michele, will take on Oklahoma's own Michelle Decker and Shannon McQueen from Bakersfield, CA.

With 255 entries representing 25 states, Australia, and New Zealand, it's no wonder a Chili Bowl championship is so special to drivers such as Tony Stewart and Cory Kruseman. The American Racing Drivers Club extends best wishes to all of its members for a safe and successful Chili Bowl.




Several men are sitting around the locker room of a private
club after exercising. Suddenly a cell phone on one of the benches
rings. One of the men picks it up, and the following conversation ensues:


"Honey, it's me. Are you at the club?"


"Great! I am at the mall two blocks from where you are. I just saw a beautiful mink coat. It's absolutely gorgeous!! Can I buy it?"

"What's the price?"

"Only $1,500.00."

"Well, OK, go ahead and get it, if you like it that much ... "

"Ahhh, and I also stopped by the Mercedes dealership and saw the new models. I saw one I really liked. I spoke with the salesman, and he gave me a really good price ... and since we need to exchange the BMW that we bought last year ... "

"What price did he quote you?"

"Only $60,000 ... "

"OK, but for that price I want it with all the options."

"Great! But before we hang up, something else ... "


"It might look like a lot, but I was reconciling your bank account and
... I stopped by the real estate agent this morning and saw the house we had looked at last year. It's on sale!! Remember? The one with a pool, English Garden, acre of park area, beachfront property ... "

"How much are they asking?"

"Only $450,000 - a magnificent price ... and I see that we have that much in the bank to cover it... "

"Well, then go ahead and buy it, but just bid $420,000. OK?"

"OK, sweetie ... Thanks! I'll see you later!! I love you!!!"

"Bye ... I do too ... "

The man hangs up, closes the phone's flap, and raises his hand while holding the phone and asks to all those present:

"Does anyone know who this phone belongs to?"

Monday, January 03, 2005





The story of Captain Clark's stopping a woman's murder by her husband has spread amoung the Indians because a Hidatsa woman has come for protection. Her husband arrives later to retrieve her.



USDA enacts tougher SOD rules. As of Jan. 10, USDA restricts
the interstate movement of nursery stock from California, Oregon and Washington. The order is designed to help stop the spread of
Phytophthora ramorum, the sudden oak death pathogen. Nurseries in these states shipping host and associated plants across state lines must be tested by state officials. Nurseries shipping non-host or associated plants must undergo a visual inspection to ensure those plants are not exhibiting P. ramorum symptoms before interstate shipment. The USDA does not believe there
is P. ramorum all over these 3 states, but there have been some unexplained occurrences, said Craig Regelbrugge, ANLA sr. dir. of govt. relations.

So the USDA wants to get their arms around the nursery pathway.
Greenscape Gardens receives nursery stock from several West Coast nurseries over the years and all stock is inspected and is SOD FREE.

For additional information concerning SOD



Healthy, dense lawns absorb rainfall six times more effectively than a wheat field and four times better than a hayfield. Sodded lawns can absorb 10 to 12 times more water than seeded lawns, even after two years of growth, thus preventing runoff and erosion.


Design a winter garden

Stop for a moment and watch the many animals preparing for winter. Keep them safe during the harsh winter. Or watch the many wild animals that are preparing for winter. You might see a thrush growing fat on spicebush berries or a tiger swallowtail caterpillar forming a chrysalis on a branch. Gray squirrels may be scampering back and forth, storing acorns or walnuts in the trunk of a hollow tree. In winter, animals and insects walk a tightrope of survival.

You can increase their chances of survival by creating a winter wildlife garden. It will be a place that will welcome and sustain a large selection of living plants during the coldest time of the year.
In the spring you will be rewarded by seeing beautiful butterflies or luna moths emerge from a cocoon that has been hidden beneath a pile of leaves, or a toad re-entering the world from a snug home under a pile of rocks to devour worms in your compost heap.

Every animal prefers a certain type of habitat whether it’s deep in a patch of raspberry brambles or high in a tree canopy. If you provide a variety of landscape homes – different species and heights – you will attract a wide variety of animal life to your yard.
As the trees begin to shed their leave and your shrubs take off their leafy gowns to display their winter silhouettes, take a long hard look at your yard from the point of view of an animal seeking food and shelter. You should have a mix of deciduous plants and evergreens that will provide cones, seeds, berries and safe hiding spots. There should also be areas where vegetation is dense from the ground all the way up to the tree canopies.

In order to provide animals with sufficient food and shelter, you need to have a layered landscape. If your neighbor’s yard has a number of canopy trees, you need to fill in with herbaceous plants and shrubs. If your yard has trees surrounded by open lawn, you need to eliminate some of the lawn to provide the other layers.
Plant serviceberries, shrubs and smaller trees beneath existing trees and create a small grove. If there is a small wood or group of trees nearby, extend your plantings to create a safe route for small animals. These travel aisles are important in winter when birds of prey glide on wind currents watching the open ground below.
If you find winter a bleak and unattractive time of year for your garden, the form and color of a variety of plants that attract wildlife will delight you. Plant a mix of regional native plants that are suited to your yard and your garden will attract a wide variety of animal species.

Many shrubs and native trees have succulent berries. Sassafras has berries so delicious that migrating birds will strip them clean before winter arrives. For your winter garden, choose trees that produce berries that are less favored such as hackberries, cranberries, sumac, winterberries, chokeberries and snowberries. The fruit of these plants become less tart during the harsh winter months and become more supple. They are high in carbohydrates and can save the lives of a variety of species when there is nothing else to eat.

Ornamental grasses will look fantastic in your winter garden while they shelter a variety of animals. The seeds of switchgrass, Indian grass and bluestem provide seeds that are eagerly consumed by sparrows and blackbirds. Butterflies feed on bluestem and switchgrass and will winter in leaf nests on these plants.

Junipers, firs, cedars, spruce and pines give color as well as structure to a winter garden. They provide nesting and roosting sites for birds and shelter small animals under low-hanging branches. The berries and cones of evergreens feed animals and small birds eat their seeds.

Provide early nectar plants such as crabapple, hawthorn and willow for flies and bees that appear in late winter and early spring.
If you have a large yard, set aside a corner in which to plant thicket forming dogwood, sprawling rose, willow or red-osier. Another alternative is to create a living fence of thorny bushes, shrubs and vines. These provide food; nesting sites, shelter and safe travel routes all in one area. Include currants, roses, hawthorn, elderberries, huckleberries and blackberries as well as native honeysuckle and junipers, spruce, cedar or pines.

The size of your yard as well as the size of your bank account will determine whatever plants you choose to grow. Use a very light hand during your fall clean up. This attracts more species of wildlife and means less work for you. Do not cut thistles, milkweed, coneflowers or other spent perennials. These plants are useful to insects and birds. Remove only enough seeds for replanting in the spring; leave the rest for the birds. The downy fluff of milkweed will not be eaten, but makes great nesting material. Larvae winter on stalks and leaves of mulleins and lupines while waiting for the fresh growth of spring.

Never cut spent goldenrod stems. The bumps on the stems, known as galls, attract a menagerie of insects. Birds perch on the stems in winter and tear open the galls to feast on the insects.

If you have a vegetable garden, allow fennel, parsley, broccoli and carrots to provide seeds for chickadees and finches. Leave cornstalks to shelter foraging field mice and birds.

Leave a section of grass unmowed to serve as a protective corridor for mice, insects, snakes and frogs. Birds will search for insects in long grass such as the hibernating larvae of satyr butterflies.
Leaf litter under trees shelter insects and spiders as well as enrich the soil as they break down. The insects attract sparrows and juncos. Mulch flowerbeds with pine boughs and leaves after the first frost when plants are dormant.

If you have a pond, remove all leaves from the water. Their decomposition upsets the oxygen balance in the water. Also clean up and dispose of any diseased leaves in your yard. Then sit back, relax and as winter sets in, enjoy your winter wildlife garden. Invite friends and neighbors over to share in your delightful garden. You will all have a wonderful time enjoying the wonder of nature.


Greenscape Gardens Joke of the Day!

A man is giving a speech at his lodge meeting.

He gets a bit carried away and talks for two hours.

Finally, he realizes what he is doing and says, "I'm sorry I talked so
long. I left my watch at home."

A voice from the back of the room says, "There's a calendar behind

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Whitefish Point Lighthouse. If you enjoy lighthouses check out Jimmy Buffett's new novel "A SALTY PIECE OF LAND". I couldn't put the book down. Buffett's book will once again be #1 on the New York Times list. That's a guarantee by the new book critic. The Old Sign Philosopher.

Greenscape Gardens




Because the corps had such a great time at the Mitutranka camp yesterday, they are invited to perform at Chief Black Cat's Lodge at Ruptare. This time Captain Lewis also visits. Snow falls and so does the temperature to -8 F at 4 P.M.



Playing fields covered with dense turf have proven safer, as demonstrated by a simple egg drop test. When a dozen raw eggs were dropped from a height of 11 feet onto a two inch thick dense stand of turf, none broke. Two thirds of them broke on thin turf from the same height. And from just 18 inches up, all broke on an all weather track. So remember, a thick stand of turf on an athletic field is one of the best means of a safer playing field.


Managing Shady Areas

Growing turfgrass in the presence of shade trees can be a difficult task. The obvious question is "Why is it so difficult to grow grass under trees?" The answer is that trees and grass compete for the same light, water, and nutrients. In fact, research indicates that leafless deciduous hardwoods (such as maples, oaks, and beeches) can block out 50 % of sunlight in winter.

These same trees can block out up to 95% of sunlight in summer. Grass can't successfully grow if an area gets less than 50% sunlight or less than 4 hrs a day.

In some situations, you can make modifications to the site to improve grass performance. Trees can be thinned or removed to let more sunlight in. Tree limbs should be pruned to a height of 6 feet in order to allow light penetration.

Another alternative is to try a different kind of grass. Bermudagrass and zoysia perform very poorly in shaded areas. Keep in mind that all grasses grow better in full sun and you need at least 4 hours of full sun even for shade tolerant varieties.

If you have planted grass seed over and over again without success, give up on the grass. Its now time to concede defeat with the grass and plan other avenues to landscape the areas.

Consider creating a low maintenance, natural area by applying 2-4 inches of mulch such as shredded hardwood bark. Also consider shade loving ground covers such as English ivy, pachysandra, ajuga, or liriope. These alternatives are much better than a thin, dead lawn.

Do you have moss in your shaded area? Mosses are common in cool, moist, shady locations such as under trees. Other conditions that favor mosses are low fertility, poorly drained soils, soil acidity, soil compaction, or a combination of these. If moss is growing under trees it is best to mulch the area and possibly plant ground covers instead of trying to grow grass.

When trees shade out grass take the opportunity to redesign your landscape. Create new planting bed lines that follow the margin between healthy, thick grass and thin, weak grass. Mulch that shaded area. Go to local garden centers and check out their selection of shade loving plants. Shade perennials include such favorites: hostas, astilbes, huechera & ligularia. Many new varieties are being released annually. The options for gardening in the shade are only limited by your imagination. Don't get discouraged by shade, be encouraged by the cooling benefits provided by trees during our long hot summers. Take advantage of the shade. Make a garden retreat complete with a hammock and an ice cold drink.



Walter,an elderly gentleman is resting peacefully on the front porch
of a nursing home in the country, when he sees a cloud of dust up the road.He watches a farmer approaching, with a wagon.

"Good afternoon!" hollers out Walter.

"Afternoon." says the farmer.

"Where you headed?" asks Walter.

"Town." says the farmer.

"What do you have in the wagon?" Walter continued.


"Manure, eh? What do you do with it?"

"I spread it
over my strawberries," the farmer says matter-of-factly.

"Well," says Walter, "you should come over here for lunch someday. We use whipped cream."