by Lois RoseWatching the seasons unfold this year after the unusual spring weather has been exciting and puzzling.Going back four winters, I am reminded that 2013-14 and 2014-15 were very difficult in terms of extreme and sustained cold. Many plants that had survived in my garden for decades were damaged severely by the first of these winters. The second dealt a glancing blow but it did not do as much damage.As an example my fig trees which had been in the ground for twenty years and had produced five hundred figs in the summer of 2013, were knocked to the ground. They produced new branches but no figs in 2014. Last year, 2016, I had a few dozen figs and this year my considerably larger trees are covered with baby figs, much earlier than usual, on their way to ripening in the fall. Everything in the yard seems to have come in two to three weeks early.
My hardy orange trees, Poncirus trifoliata have a lot of fruit now…small so far, fuzzy green oranges, the first since 2013. There were flowers last year but no fruit. Again, they flowered a few weeks earlier than usual.
Looking at my other fruit crops, black and red currants started ripening in mid June,weeks ahead. Raspberries were similarly ahead.
I have been doing some research online and asking friends from OSU to find some explanations for the patterns which reflect the weather conditions in this part of Ohio this spring. The mild winter, second in a row, is the foundation of the story..very warm temperatures in January and again in February started the ball rolling. Plants that had completed their chill hours…needed to set them up for their normal spring routines…were thrust into advancing buds which formed last summer and fall early. Maple trees started to open their signature red flowers a month earlier than usual. Soil temperatures rose early (get a soil thermometer if you want to be on top of this) and crab grass was ready to germinate in early to mid March (time for pre germination treatment) earlier than usual. Growing degree days (http://www.oardc.ohio-state.e
du/gdd/moved ahead quickly by March. Then some cool and cold weather slowed things down. May have produced some very cold weather (not unusual) which damaged various plants, especially those that had started to open buds or were in flower. The damaging cold was defined by temperatures at or below freezing for many hours. Michigan as well as Ohio received a cold spell on May 8 and 9. But depending on the specific place, its altitude, proximity to water, etc.,the results were varied.
Depending on your garden niche, proximity to the cold lake, how far to the east or west and how high above the lake, snow cover…all of these things contributed to the damage or lack thereof to our plant material.Friends have observed a good crop on their berries, and also on hibiscus, roses, and many other flowers and shrubs and trees.I am speculating that the two mild winters, generous amount of rain this spring compared with the three month drought last year…plus the recovery of many plants after two damaging winters..has resulted in this year’s bounty.
In my yard, I see very little damage after the cold spells in March and May which included freezing and snow after many plants had been exposed to the warm air and warm ground earlier than usual. Magnolia stellata had buds covered in frost. Daylilies were bent to the ground as were helleboresand many other perennials. Yet my magnolia blossomed well, and the hellebores were very floriferous.
On the whole it seems that the outcome has been favorable despite the gyrations and surprises of the spring. Cannot wait to see what is going to happen next year!
by Elsa Johnson, Ann McCulloh and Catherine Feldman
This edition of Gardenopolis Cleveland marks our third summer on the beat. One of our first stories was about GardenWalk Cleveland …and here we are again! Last year there was no garden walk, but they were back up last weekend and even added an additional territory, North Collinwood. Your intrepid editors Catherine Feldman, and moi, Elsa Johnson, drove up to what felt to us like another country. …. perhaps somewhere on the Baltic? We got out of our car on a road where the houses all look out over a private park over looking our inland sea…breezes we’re blowing. It was a small place of summer heaven. A treasure! Why don’t more people know this is here? ! Enjoy,…
13th Annual Gracious Gardens of Shaker Heights Weekend!
Presented by The Shaker Historical Society
The Shaker Historical Society is hosting its 13th Annual Gracious Gardens of Shaker Heights weekend June 16-18, 2017. This highly popular Father’s Day weekend event attracts more than 1,000 people from across the region.
The Friday evening Cocktails in the Garden Party is held at a private home with superb historic architecture and gardens. This garden has twice been a highlight of the Gracious Gardens of Shaker Heights tour and was featured in Fine Garden Gardening magazine for its “Curve Appeal.”
On Sunday, visit eight beautiful gardens that are sure to inspire you to create your own outdoor oasis like the designs you’ll see within the city of Shaker Heights.
As part of the Gracious Gardens Sunday tour, there will be an admission-free open house with lawn games on the grounds of the museum at 16740 South Park Boulevard, where people wishing to go on the Garden Tour can purchase their tickets, visit the museum and art gallery, and enjoy light refreshments.
The Gracious Gardens of Shaker Heights weekend is a major fundraiser that supports the Shaker Historical Society’s commitment to historic preservation, education, and community engagement. This event is also produced in partnership with Cuyahoga Arts & Culture and the Ohio History Connection.
Ticket and event information:
Cocktails in the Garden Party
Friday, June 16, 2017
6pm – 9pm
Tickets: $75.00 each
Private historic home in Shaker Heights
Sponsorships are available.
Includes cocktails, hors d’oeuvres,
and live music
Gracious Garden Tour and Museum
Sunday, June 18, 2017
12pm – 5pm.
Rain or Shine!
Advance tickets for Garden Tour: $20.00 each
Sunday admission to the Museum will be FREE. Tour the museum and art gallery, purchase your Garden Tour tickets and enjoy light refreshments!
Go to shakerhistoricalsociety.org or call 216-921-1201 for ticket information.
Ticket Sale locations: Bremec on the Heights, Gali’s Florist & Garden Center, J. Pistone Market, Juma Gallery, Shaker Hardware, and the Shaker Historical Society
by Elsa Johnson
I will speak now in other voices : whippoorwill legend saver of lost souls
haunting the wood’s edge in springtime calling the dusk moths home
I will speak now in the voice of chipmunk quicksilver placer of sunflowers
seed-side-down offerings made for one more day’s safe grace
I will speak in the hawk’s voice : sharp-shinned huntress shrieker
gifter of quick death she of the ice-cold heart the silent swift-moving shadow
and in the vulture’s voice : gleaner wing-rider wind-soarer whose presence is the priesthood of death
I will speak now in other voices : hummingbird chitter high in the tops of
linear locust trees : small writhen ring-necked snakes alarmed
loosened from sheltering stone : Yellow-jackets that sting and chase
to sting again and night-time horses — bolting — lightening
flares — thunder-claps and I will speak for the un-wild deer
quiet-eyed at the yard’s edge browsing the bushes without fear
I would speak for what does not speak : the cruel devouring mantis the delicate
damselfly she sometimes hunts — for bumblebees butterflies drunk
in the milkweed the goldenrod — all that multitude of tiny insects
buzzing flowers : in red crocosmia sprawling purple pungent
oregano yellow-eyed blue buddleia crystal-crusted daylilies
star-burst filaments of cimicifuga and bee-glad phlox
I too will stand to speak for the wood drake and for the still water on which he
rests in beauty For the great heron the night heron the ‘fisher’ flashing
low over the water — for the geese drifting among the reeds the lily
pads and for the strong-jawed turtle waiting lurking below
I will learn and speak the language of lichen of grey-green filigree
coating stone hiding time — the language of the aging oaks
riddled by borer riven with wilt — I will learn the codes of worms
of microscopic mycorrhizal fungi leaf mulch and leaf mold decay —
the language of the mysterious complexity of dirt duff ruffled rhubarb
and all that driven erotic unfurling of spring new risen
out of the driven luminous dying of fall I will speak for them
and this voice too : ocean : least knowable greatest of all her words
of hush and sibilance of susurration that mystic speech that echoes down
our own chambered seas words of the wet world that tell us we live
not as we think on our own terms but helplessly : Hear that
internal roar Feel the great wave’s pull the irresistible draw of its wash
its tremble tumble its untranslatable speech made up of songs of all
the large and lesser creatures of Sea I will speak for them : sharp tooth
and finned tail tentacle and gill I will speak for what cannot speak — even
for that vastest whale wrecked broken on the broad beach by plastic
I will speak in other voices to bear witness
As part of its summer long Centennial Celebration, the City of South Euclid will host GardenWalk South Euclid on Saturday, July 22nd, and Sunday, July 23rd, from 12 noon to 4:00 pm. It will serve as an annual legacy to the Centennial Celebration. The GardenWalk was co-founded by Northern Ohio Perennial Society members, Donna M. Zachary and Sue Gold, and the planning was started in the fall of 2015. Over 35 private gardens, three pocket parks (a Meditation Garden, a Tranquility garden and a Perennial Reflection Garden), a 21 acre nature preserve (hourly tours), 7 mile wetlands and over nine unique community gardens are on the GardenWalk. One community garden contains a bio-retention water basin and two are located in park settings. All can be explored during this “free, self-guided”, two day event. The city’s theme, “Come Together and Thrive,” can be seen in the many shops and restaurants along the garden route. After July 1st, the maps can be downloaded at www.cityofsoutheuclid.com or www.facebook/southeuclid.com. Maps will also be available at the South Euclid Community Center and the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Library after July 1st. During the GardenWalk, on July 22nd and 23rd, the maps, rest rooms, water and parking will be available at the Community Center at 1370 Victory Drive, South Euclid 44121 from 12 noon until 4:00 PM.
by Lois Rose
Notes on the United States Botanic Garden
Thought of by George Washington, the garden was established in 1820 and now is administered through the Architect of the Capitol. Its mission is to promote botanical knowledge through cultivation of a collection of plants, to present displays, exhibits and programs to Congress and the public, and to foster sustainability and plant conservation.
The garden is a short distance from the Capitol building. It is not very large, but contains a wide variety of interesting and unusual specimen plants, especially in alternative colors and shapes and sizes. In early spring—April—there was just the beginning of the display but phlox for example was in abundance. People who work in the neighborhood gather there at their lunch time, sit and read. Water features, clever companion planting, garden rooms—for its size it packs a punch.
The United States National Arboretum
The extensive grounds of the Arboretum deserve at least half a day. The Azalea Collection was in full bloom in April, with thousands of plants covering the sides of Mount Hamilton with paths going up and around. Many of the shrubs come from the breeding program of former director Benjamin Morrison, hybridizing large flowered tender azaleas in the Indica group with Hardy northern species between 1929 and 1954. The Glenn Dale Hillside contains thousands of hybrids. Late blooming azaleas can be seen into May and early June, although April was spectacular and not to be missed, on winding trails, some difficult for strollers and the hike challenged.
National Herb Garden
The garden was in its early stages in April, and is adjacent to several other areas of interest. It is an extensive and diverse display of herbs from all over the world, for all purposes. Imagine the Cleveland Botanical Garden exploded to the entire Wade Oval and beyond. Roses come on in May—summer and fall must be equally impressive. The paths in this area are wide and easy to navigate.
The National Bonsai and Penjing Museum
These are close to the other gardens, contains one of the largest collections of these trees in North America. Penjing refers to the Chinese precursor to the Japanese art of bonsai. Three pavilions hold about 150 plants and there is also a section of stones and ikebana, a style of Japanese flower arranging. The large variety and spectacular execution of this huge collection will require a sufficient time for study and appreciation.
Next to the Supreme Court building is a lovely small garden with much to see. In April there were many early flowering perennials, well arranged, beautifully tended. Be sure to take the short stroll to enjoy this surprising gem.
Ann McCulloh, contributing editor
The orchids have landed! Or rather, they are hovering, given the theme of this season’s Orchidmania at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. “Hanging Gardens” are beautifully realized in a number of inventive assemblages that feature this stunningly colorful and varied family of flowers. The current exhibit reveals a sophisticated design sense in nearly every detail. And lovely details abound!
I visited this year’s version of the Garden’s annual orchid extravaganza on a recent sunny weekday afternoon. This year the show runs from January 29th through March 5. http://www.cbgarden.org/orchid-mania.aspx. The best times for leisurely, less-crowded visiting are weekdays after the school buses depart, around 1pm. Greeted in the lobby by a remarkably realistic oversized sculpture of the familiar Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis species), I walked under a dense arch of yellow Cymbidiums into the darkened Atrium. There, vertical towers of Moth Orchids, ferns and Spanish moss rise from fountains pouring into a dramatically purple-lit pool.
Colorful lighting is another feature of the show.
Orchids “float” throughout the show, suspended in open grapevine spheres, on bamboo towers and levitating in baskets at nose and eye level.
Artful displays in the dark, somewhat dry interior spaces of the building rely on the familiar, incredibly durable Moth Orchid.
I have real affection for this type of orchid, which can actually thrive and rebloom in challenging living spaces, where most orchids wither, yellow and decline.
A delicious diversity of orchid color, texture and form awaits visitors in the glasshouses, where abundant light, warmth and humidity help the flowers flourish. Orchids, ferns and bromeliads (aka “air plants”) play off each other in impressive set pieces.
The key to success with orchids (well, plants of any type) is in reproducing the conditions of their original environment. Many orchids, like this blue Vanda, require very bright, but indirect light, temperatures that range above human comfort, and humidity that would cause the sofa to grow mold.
For anyone who wants to succeed with orchids at home, the American Orchid Society provides a wealth of information tailored to specific types of orchids on their website in the “All About Orchids” section http://www.aos.org/orchids.aspx. The Garden will host an orchid sale with multiple vendors on the weekend of February 18th and 19th.
I fall under the spell of orchids every year in the dreary depths of February. More than any other family of flowers they invite fantastic comparisons. The odd ruses they employ to trick insects into pollinating them, the fleshy substance of their petals, and even the characteristic “nose” in the center of each blossom give them a sort of animal presence. I mean, don’t these Pansy Orchids (Miltonia sp.)
( Miltonia) make you think of the Seven Dwarves? And this Slipper Orchid (Paphiopedilum)
(Villain) seems positively villainous, while these two are frankly sensual?
This natural extravagance of shape, color and pattern brings out an answering creative impulse in artists of all sorts. Orchids are like candy to photographers, of course, and photo contest entries are on display, but that is just the beginning.
(Candy) There’s more orchid themed art in the Café, with tasty paintings on silk by Gunther Schwegler,
and even a pretty table setting with a lush petal-covered table cloth. A silk painting workshop is offered in March, too, more info on the Garden’s web site. A very fun feature of Orchidmania is the dozen or so orchid-inspired dresses by students in the fashion design program of Kent state University, on display in Clarke Hall.
If this season has you feeling uninspired or pessimistic, the orchid show may provide much-needed uplift! Bring your camera, and give yourself time to saunter slowly and stop often. Get lost in some fabulous detailed flower.
(Foxtail) It’s an invitation to take some deep, slow breaths and feel yourself float a little.
by Elsa Johnson
In an interview for Yale Environment 360, German forester Peter Wohlleben answers “Certainly”. And no, he doesn’t look like an Ent. Wohlleben argues that trees are wonderful beings with innate adaptability, intelligence, and the capacity to communicate with, and heal, other trees. How did he come to this Enti-ish belief?
As a forester, he says, he was trained to look at trees as economic commodities (I cannot resist an aside here: to wit — our culture does not value things unless they are commodities), but after joining an agency for a community beech forest in Hummel, Germany, he became disillusioned. He began to see the use of traditional commodity forestry – clear cutting, and chemical use, for example – as putting short term profits ahead of sustainability. Now he manages the forest completely differently. Distressed by these traditional forest management practices, he re-thought his position because he was someone who wanted to protect nature, and he was being asked to destroy it.
Gradually he learned that the individuals of a species actually work together and cooperate with one another. In his book The Secret Life of Trees, Wohlleben writes about how trees are sophisticated organisms that live in families. He uses the term “mother tree” to describe a tree that is at the center of an interconnected web of roots, that can distinguish whether the root it encounters is its own root, the root of another species, or the roots of its own species (this is crudely verified on our local level by our experience with the same species trees in Forest Hill Park succumbing to disease while different species trees close by survive it ). Wohlleben describes how trees pass electrical signals through the bark and into the roots, and from there into the fungi networks in the soil, and thus alert nearby trees to dangers such as insects, or disease. Trees can also learn he says, citing the example of trees that in the year after a drought took up less water in the spring so that more remained available in the soil later in the season.
Sometimes accused of anthropomorphizing trees, Wohlleben says “We humans are emotional animals. We feel things. We don’t just know the world intellectually. So I use words of emotion to connect with people’s experience.” And: “We have been viewing nature like a machine. This is a pity because trees are badly misunderstood.” And: “Nobody thinks about the inner life of trees, the feelings of these wonderful living beings.” And: “Plants process information just as animals do, but for the most part they do this much more slowly. Is life in the slow lane worth less than life on the fast track?”
Wohlleben offers the evidence that trees growing in undisturbed natural forest can beneficially affect climate change by reducing temperatures and helping the soil retain moisture under their vast canopy. Conversely, climate change adversely affects trees less densely planted, as in common practice in tree plantations. The extra CO2 in the air today is making young trees grow about 30% faster than they did decades ago. The faster growth exhausts trees and makes them less healthy. Trees growing in undisturbed natural forest fare better, says Peter Wohlleben. They grow more closely together, causing humidity to rise, cooling the forest and helping soil retain moisture.
Ah, he loves his trees so much — maybe he is an Ent after all.
If you would like to read more of the interview with Peter Wohlleben, go to YALE ENVIRONMENT 360. The issue is 16 November, 2016. Yale 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting, and debate on global environmental issues, written by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, and policy makers (etc.). It is published by the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. The view and opinions expressed are those of the authors and not the school.
Ann McCulloh, contributing editor
In the heart of a Cleveland summer, hundreds of people stroll the city’s neighborhoods, invited to soak up the special character of each one, meeting residents and admiring their unique and welcoming gardens. GardenWalk Cleveland, a free, self-guided and volunteer-organized tour has been the vehicle for this special invitation since 2011.
Last year (2016) Gardenwalk Cleveland took a one-year break, for a bunch of reasons that included an already crowded public event calendar (RNC, a national community gardening conference, to name two) some changes in funding sources, and the need to establish independent non-profit status. In hindsight, the break may have been an especially good idea, given the punishing drought we gardeners suffered all season long!
GardenWalk is back for 2017, and I for one am thrilled. Two neighborhoods have been chosen as definite hosts for the July 8 & 9 tour: Detroit-Shoreway and Collinwood. As many as two more will be added as planning for the event continues. A special focus on gardens that use native plants is planned for next year, too.
GardenWalk 2017 has mounted a crowdfunding campaign to cover the cost of producing maps, updating the website and other expenses associated with putting on the event. Contributions are already underway through November 18th at https://www.ioby.org/project/gardenwalk-cleveland-2017
Inspired by a similar event in Buffalo, New York, GardenWalk Cleveland’s mission is “to build community, beautify neighborhoods, and encourage civic pride.” As a transplant to Cleveland (pun intended) I have been delighted to discover the neighborhoods of Cleveland (Old Brooklyn Hough, Larchmere, Tremont and more) and meet the truly charming and individual gardeners who live and garden there.
The two times I put my own garden on the tour I met a steady parade of wonderful fellow gardeners, and had many inspiring conversations. One visitor even came back a day or two later with a gift of special plants from her own garden! You can learn more about GardenWalk, and get involved! at http://www.gardenwalkcleveland.org/
by Elsa Johnson
Small rose rosette
rosetta of greening on grey stone
celadon jade acid
green apple greening
frost fuzzed felt adorned
white furred greening
Rose Of The Seed World
little sunflower seed side
down green side up
aglow on grey stone.
Not centered but placed
precisely inside a circle
paler than the grey stone
on which it lies
signified thus :
Cornucopia of Seed Heaven
Who prays to you
Rosetta of Mice
and in what language?
Who offered you
Sacred Object of Chipmunks
Prayer Wheel of Squirrels
and in what manner?
Harvest of Birds
who caws you? Green Lotus
Celadon jade acid
green apple greening
on grey stone —
Who worships you ?
little sunflower little rose
little green lotus seed side
down green side up