Save the Monarch – Butterfly Gardening


Tom Terrific will present the “Ten Commandments of Butterfly Gardening” program at the Crestwood Community Center, 9245 Whitecliff Park Ln, Crestwood, MO 63126.

The date is Saturday – May 23rd and the program will begin at 10 A.M.and will last until 11:30 A.M.

The program is free and is geared mainly toward adults, but interested children are welcome. This would be an excellent program for Boy and Girl Scouts interested in setting up a butterfly garden.

Tom will show you how to attract and keep butterflies in your yard, patio or apartment balcony. He will talk about site selection, preparation, host and nectar plants, native plants, sun/shade and lots more.

Tom will also talk about what people can do to help the Monarch butterfly whose population is at historic lows.

After the program you are invited to tour Tom’s butterfly gardens in Crestwood to see the 100 butterfly plant species that he grows.

Tom uses pictures, video and hands-on exhibits to teach participants everything they need to know to create a butterfly paradise.

His website is a good place to checkout ahead of time.

He personally guarantees that you will find the program – Terrific!

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Monarch Article – Spring 2015


I found this Fish and Wildlife Spring 2015 magazine which talks about “Saving the Monarch” butterfly.

Here’s the link to download.

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Botanical Garden at Sue’s House

I just visited Sue Leahy’s house in Brentwood, MO and immediately knew I was at the right place when I noticed that there was no front lawn.


She has quite a variety of plants in the front that just gets mid-day sun, but the plants are thriving. She uses a combination of Black Gold compost and shredded hardwood mulch to feed the plants and keep down the weeds.

As you go around the back, you notice all of her accreditations – she said she still had a couple more to put up.


In the back she has a couple of rain gardens, a beautiful pond and stream setup and even five turtles that need to be rounded up before the lawn is mowed.

One tip she mentioned was that she got a local grant to put in the rain gardens – check with your local Sewer District and send them a proposal if you have an area that gets a lot of runoff.

I also noticed that her Swamp Milkweed, Asclepias incarnata, seems to be quite happy in the pond. I’m going to put a plant in my pond this year as an experiment. She mentioned that she thought the larvae might drop off into the water which would be a problem. I’ll probably collect the larvae and move them to a different location.

I admired her professional labels and she mentioned that her husband Andy had access to a professional laser engraving machine. I guess I’ll have to stick with my label maker.


Andy, with the help of a friend, has moved as much rock and stone as one of the Egyptian pyramids – just a slight exaggeration.


Thanks to Sue and her husband for such a lovely morning visiting her fantastic gardens.



Filed under Gardening, Lawn

Gardening on the Balcony


Even if you are in an apartment or condo, if you have some sort of balcony you can use, then you can create your own little mini-park. Below is an article I found that you can download which will give you many ideas on how to create a nature preserve on your balcony.

I found this to be true with my Aunt Betty. She had a second story apartment in the city of St. Louis. I gave her some milkweed for her balcony and later that summer we found some Monarch larvae happily munching on it. Butterflies don’t care where the host plant is – as long as it’s outside and they can get to it.

My only tip would to be sure you put a plastic tray under your plants so that when you water them it won’t drip on your neighbor below.

Click here for the article.


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Pro Mix plus Osmocote – the Winner!

I was so impressed with this test, here are the results.

I transplanted some small tropical milkweed seedlings on March 14th. I was testing using Miracle Gro versus Pro Mix BX and also testing putting Osmocote in the soil versus putting it on top of the soil. Here’s what the plants looked like on March 14th.


Below are what the plants look like on April 20th.


The plants on the left are the Pro Mix + 1/4 tsp Osmocote. It doesn’t seem to make much difference if the Osmocote is in the soil or on top of the soil – in the soil may be slightly better.

Pro Mix BX is hard to find, but I did find some at a local Home Depot.

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Local Plant Sales 2015

April 18, 25, May 2 – Kirkwood Farmers Market – Missouri Wildflowers – note – you can call them ahead of time and pickup on Friday from 4 to 6 p.m.

April 23/24 – Meramec Community College – 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

April 24 -25  –  8 a.m. -6 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m.-Noon Saturday—Webster Groves Garden Club Spring Plant Sale.  Webster Groves Recreational Center, 33 E. Glendale Rd., Webster Groves.

April 25 at 8:30 am – Webster Groves Herb Society is having their annual herb sale on Saturday, First Congregational Church of Webster Groves, corner of Lockwood and Elm.

May 2nd-3rd – 9 a.m. -3 p.m.— St. Louis Master Gardener Plant Sale. The greenhouse on South Technical High School campus, 12721 West Watson Rd. Sunset Hills, 63127.

May 9Shaw Nature Reserve – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pre-sale to members on Friday – 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Note – if you know of any other plant sales, let me know and I’ll add them to the list.

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#2 Sharpened Pencil – a Gardening Tool?

While most people think of hoes and clippers and spades as normal gardening tools, the one I am using most often right now is a regular #2 sharpened pencil. If you look at the picture below you will see ten plants and roots all mixed together in on smallish cell. Most people start ripping everything apart, but a new technique I learned recently was to tease the roots apart with a pencil. This makes it much easier to separate the plants for re-potting.




The second way I’m using a pencil is to make a hole in some wet potting soil for any new cuttings that I am trying to root.



The final way I use a #2 pencil is for making labels. Forget the permanent markers, a #2 soft lead pencil will create a nice label that will not wash off and will last all season. I cut up old plastic Venetian blinds and use them for plant markers.


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