Monday, August 25, 2008

Talking Trash

From Paul

Picking up trash outside is probably the most-hated job here.
Tuesday I spent more than an hour picking up trash. In that time, I filled two garbage bags with:
a lot of food containers from the local fast food restaurant:
straw wrappers,
burger boxes and wrappers,
lids and straws,
chip bags;
cans (not always empty; ALWAYS wear gloves for trash pickup),
one sign,
empty cigarette packs,
an empty perfume spritzer, a hospital i.d. bracelet,
water bottles,
batteries (AA and AAA),
and plastic wrappers from a wide variety of consumer items.

While it would have added considerably to the weight of the bag, I wouldn't have minded seeing discarded copies of works by Ann Coulter or Sean Hannity and their like. As long as they were not wet or physically filthy, they could have at least gone into the ABITIBI dumpster for paper recycling. But no, we have to pick up other, even less useful waste.

It's extremely discouraging to work hard at maintaining a place of beauty when it seems like passersby (admittedly not all of them) care so little that they discard anything they are done with. Is it too hard to dispose of waste properly?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Dog Days of Summer

From Terry

The phrase Dog Days or "the dog days of summer", refers to the hottest, most sultry days of summer. In the northern hemisphere they usually fall between early July and early September whilst in the Southern hemisphere February to March. The actual dates vary greatly from region to region, depending on latitude and climate. Dog Days can also define a time period or event that is very hot or stagnant, or marked by dull lack of progress. - Wikipedia

The first part of the definition is all so true and evident, presently. The later, well, it's not so true for the Civic Garden Center! We are busy with tending the community gardens and our lovely grounds. Our 4th quarter newsletter is being edited now and should be in homes in early September. We have great classes coming up!

Several events are looming in October:

10/07 Architectural Lecture: Making the Case for Green Building

Presented by Gary Jay Saulson, Director of Corporate Real Estate, The PNC Financial Services Group

Presentation will be made at the First Unitarian Church, 536 Linton Street with a reception immediately following at the Civic Garden Center (just a walk through the parking lot, really).

4:30pm Doors open - registration

5:00pm Mr. Saulson's lecture

6:00pm Reception at the Civic Garden Center

$20 advance registration (by 10/03)

$25 day of event

$75 patron level

10/10 Flavors of Neighborhood Gardens

At CGC on the patio


Enjoy food prepared by our community gardeners and staff. This event is free and tasty! The harvest will provide us with ample flavors and tastes of our favorite recipes featuring locally grown produce - there may even be a sweet potato surprise involved!

10/11 Fourth Annual Bulb Day

Attend a full day for $40 or individual sessions

Class: The Charm and Importance of Historic Daffodils

9:30-10:45am $10

Presented by Mary Lou Gripshover, SWODS member and past president of ADS. All of the daffodils on the market today are progeny of daffodils of history. Mary Lou will share her perspective on the value of historic bulbs.

Workshop: Forcing Layers of Bulbs

11:00am - Noon $20

Miggie Jacobs will demonstrate forcing and layering techniques. Take home the pot of bulbs that you plant!

Lunch and Featured Speaker, Bill Lee: Perennials for the Dry Garden: Ideal Daffodil Companion Plants

12:30 - 2:00pm $20

"Mr. Daffodil" will present how his garden grows - after the daffs have bloomed - the "rest" of the season, relying solely on rainfall for moisture.

Avant Garden

10/23 7:00-10pm $60

Paul Brown Stadium, East Room

Iron Florist Competition, food, drinks, silent auction, live auction - all supporting the Civic Garden Center's Green Learning Station project.

For all classes/events please call 513-221-0981 ext. 18 to make your reservations. See you soon!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wildlife Management

From Paul

Wildlife management?

I've been eyeing our 'Westersted' witchhazel for some time now. I'm not sure how long we've had it, but it's rather leggy and tree-like. This might suit some fine, as this would be an unusual alternative to the average patio tree (dogwood, redbud, crabapple, etc.).

But, I want to see more blooms, and the way you get more blooms is to have more stems that can bear them. So, that's why I've been contemplating giving the 'Westerstede' a once-over tip pruning. Doing so would encourage vegetative buds further back on the branches to break and grow.

Today, though, I noticed that some creature (squirrels, I think; possibly chipmunks) have been removing branch tips to get at this season's nearly ripe seed pods.

Normally, this would tick me off and get me thinking of ways to, erm, discourage said creatures (Don't get me wrong, I really do like wildlife, but one can only take so much before going Elmer Fudd), but this may turn out (I hope) to have serendipitously met my pruning goals.

I wonder if I could get the critters to tarp the trimmings and take them to the compost.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Arum italicum

From Paul

Arum italicum

Arum italicum is an odd plant that is, paradoxically, both coming into and passing out of interest right now. The fruit, which consists of green berries which ripen to a showy orange-red, is clustered on what was the spadix (if you imagine the bloom of a Jack-in-the-pulpit, which is in the same family, the spadix would be "Jack", and the hood-like "pulpit" is called the spathe). The spadix, with its clinging berries, is all that remains of the plant now, and the berries are disappearing as they ripen.

On the up-side, it seems that the mockingbirds are the cause of the disappearances. I watched a group of them swooping down around a cluster of berried stalks. The various individuals then tried to hop up and grab a berry (missing, and subsequently looking very awkward, sometimes).

So, while the missing ripe fruit would be of interest in itself, the bird show has made up for it.

Look for the leaves, which typically have a marbled appearace due to near white venation, to reappear either in late Fall or early next Spring, depending on the weather.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Nina Tolley Exhibit

From Terry

We have a beautiful new exhibit at CGC. Nina Tolley has numerous pastels of flowers, still lifes, and nature scenes.