Thursday, August 7, 2014

Ohio Sustainable Landscapes Symposium

Swamp Milkweed, Asclepias incarnata, a beacon for pollinating insects and a big producer of Monarch butterflies.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 13. That's the date of the annual Ohio Sustainable Landscapes Conference, hosted by Dawes Arboretum in partnership with the Licking County Master Gardeners. All of the details and registration information ARE HERE.

Dawes Arboretum, for those of you who have not been, is an 1,800 acre paradise. Located just south of Newark, it is easy to reach from everywhere, and once on the grounds there is plenty to do. The arboretum strikes an excellent balance between formal gardens and wild natural areas, and as a result teems with biodiversity.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail caterpillars, Papilio glaucus, require native trees as host plants, including ash and tuliptree.

The symposium features a fine lineup of speakers (present company possibly excluded), including horticulturist Solomon Gamboa. He'll be talking about his efforts to work with the citizenry of Cincinnati to come together to forest the Queen City.

Megan Palomo is coming all the way from the fabulous Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh. She'll be discussing the creation of backyard ecosystems, and how that benefits not only the homeowner but the world beyond.

If all goes well for the aforementioned swallowtail caterpillar, it'll morph into one of these beauties. Tiger Swallowtails are addicted to Joe-pye-weed, and if you've got it in your garden, you're sure to attract any local tigers.

Dawes also managed to wrangle Bill Dawson, of Columbus's own Franklin Park Conservatory. Bill will present a program on community gardens, their exponential growth in Ohio's capital city, and the good that they do.

Scaly Blazing-star, Liatris squarrosa, is botanical candy for butterflies and moths. Any blazing-star will greatly enrich a yardscape.

Finally, your narrator will be on hand and prepared to wax eloquent (to the extent possible) about the wonderful world of moths and butterflies. One could reasonably state that no group of insects has the impact of this bunch. Their caterpillars are intimately tied to vegetation, and with a bit of knowledge a person can essential garden for a crop of favored butterflies - or moths.

Possessed of an almost otherworldly appearance, this freshly emerged Pandorus Sphinx, Eumorpha pandorus, would catch and hold any eye. Its host plants? Good old wild grapes, and Virginia Creeper. Grapes and their kin are super natives that produce an extraordinary array of moths. Grape specialists will factor into my story, in which I will explore the amazing world of moths and butterflies, their enormous ecological roles, often breathtaking beauty, mind-blowing adaptations, and how we can help them out.

I think you'll really enjoy this conference, and the opportunity to spend time at Dawes Arboretum. Space is most definitely limited, so you'll probably want to sign on soon. Again, all symposium details are RIGHT HERE.


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