Category Archives: Misc

Treated Wood for Vegetable Beds

If you take advice from  Rodale’s Organic Life, you won’t use any sort of treated lumber for your garden beds.

On the other hand, Gateway Greening uses a type of treated pine call Lifewood in all their gardens. Here is a great article on their decision.
They get their lumber from Fehlig Lumber.

Chromated copper arsenate (CCA) is a type of treated lumber that is not allowed for residential use since Dec. 31, 2003.

There are many other choices that the industry uses. Here are some articles about these choices and their possible health issues.

Wood Prices- 2″ x 12″ x 8′ three pieces

$27- Prime Kiln-Dried Southern Yellow Pine

$45 – Cedar-Tone Pressure-Treated Lumber –


This Old House Video – Cedar,,20263013,00.html


Pine – 4 x 4 Raised Bed



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America in Bloom – Charlie Hall

Charlie-Hall-AIB-500Charlie Hall, president of America in Bloom, gave a great presentation in Washington, Missouri extolling the benefits of becoming a member of the America in Bloom organization.

One of the quotes he used is from Ed McMahon who says, “Communities that can’t differentiate themselves, have no competitive advantage.” It seems like it might apply to many communities. Here is the video – it’s worth watching.

Here are some notes from that meeting.

  • Fundraising – Talk to Optimist, Kiwanis, Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, etc. and ask for funds.
  • Talk to Scouts about possible Eagle Scout projects.
  • Volunteers – Master Gardeners in our area need to have so many hours of community service.
  • Plants – Ask residents if they would donate some of their plants that need thinning.
  • Signage in front of city hall.

door-hanger-400Here is a door hanger that the Washington, Missouri group uses.

I found some more videos of last years symposium in Holland Michigan – here is one.

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America in Bloom Program

america-in-bloomPRESENTED BY: Dr. Charlie Hall, President, America in Bloom

WHEN/WHERE: Thursday, December 10, 2015, 10:00a.m. – 12:00 noon.

WHERE: Washington City Auditorium, Lower Level, 211 High St, Washington, MO 63090.

AUDIENCE: All citizen champions and civic organizations of the region interested to make a difference in their community by realizing landscape and environmental enhancements.

COST: NO admission cost; free and open to all interested citizens of the region.

HOSTED By: Washington (Missouri) in Bloom in collaboration with Kirkwood in BLOOM.

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Butterfly Feeder


I decided to experiment and create a new butterfly feeder using a hummingbird feeder without the top. As you can see from the pictures, the Monarchs like the arrangement.

I tried two different mixes – one from Monarch Watch and another which was just Gatorade. I later added bee pollen to the Gatorade, but it doesn’t seem to be absolutely necessary.

The trick is to hang the feeder up high. I also put it over some milkweed that was in a pot to further encourage them to feed in this location. I noticed that one smaller feeder with the same mixture was ignored when it was placed down low on a table.



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2015 Fall Plant Sales

Shaw Nature Reserve
Sept. 11th – 4 to 7:30 p.m.
Whitmire Wildflower Garden

Shop for locally produced native plants, food and crafts. Also, experts will answer your native gardening questions.

Adults $5
Seniors $3
MBG/SNR Members Free


Missouri Wildflowers

Kirkwood Farmers Market – Sept. 5, 12, 19 


Sept. 26 – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Native Plant Expo

Schlafly Bottleworks, 7260 Southwest Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63143.

There will be vendors and well as Bring Conservation Home habitat advisers to help people and answer questions.

Thanks to Sue L for this sale!


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Brightside St. Louis


I went to a series of workshops done by Brightside St. Louis and was impressed by their staff and what they are accomplishing for the city of St. Louis. Here are a few notes from the seminars.

Free Grants

Brightside offers grants up to $1500.00 for city neighborhood groups who want to improve some public property or schools. Last year Brightside approved thirty-two grants. They have a list of approved plants. Roses have been taken off the list because of the Rose rosette disease. Applications are due by August 14th.
Here’s a picture I took of some roses which have either died or are doing poorly.



Rain Gardening

The program was led by Perry Eckhardt from the Missouri Dept. of Conservation. He said that most rain garden literature is wrong. To find the right plants to put in, he recommends the MoBot Plant Finder.  I did a search and got a long list, but I notice they put Asclepias tuberosa on the list – something that likes dryish soils. They have a nice rain garden area at the Brightside home on Shenandoah and Kingshighway although they had to fill-in part of it with rock because of bridge safety requirements. He recommends not adding sand to the soil. Also don’t dig out an area if you are going to be disturbing tree roots. Trees take up a lot more water than any rain garden.

Note – here’s some more information from Perry – “Many rain gardens have had soil amendments or soil replacements that include a sand component.  Additionally, most rain gardens are actually very dry, especially if they are engineered to drain quickly.  In those instances, almost any prairie plant will work as they can withstand brief periods of inundation. I do think that butterfly milkweed is tolerant of relatively wet conditions too; I noticed them as a prominent part of the plant palette at Grasshopper Hollow Natural Area, which is a fen complex in the Ozarks. Personally, I wouldn’t stick in the boggy parts of a rain garden, but I would definitely consider it around the margins.


Home Depot Pesticide Plants

Ed Spevak mentioned that some plants at Home Depot have a a Neconid pesticide warning, but it is hard to find. It may be behind the main plant tag.

Urban Soils – Nathan Brandt

  • The speaker recommends getting a Lead test for any city soils. It costs $45.00. The example he used had a score of 461 which is a bit high and limits what you can grow in your garden. He recommends a raised twelve inch bed with fabric below it keep out the soil below.
  • A standard soil test, available from Brightside, costs $22.00.
  • Don’t add sand to clay soil – use organic matter and plants to break up the clay.
  • If you soil is really poor, he does recommend amending it with organic matter, tilling etc. After that, use plants and cover crops to improve the soil.
  • Native plants don’t need added fertilizer.

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Classes and Tours – June 2015


There are a number of great classes and tours available in June in the St. Louis area that you may want to try out. Some are free and the most expensive is only $20.00.

June 4, 2015
1 p.m. – Sunset Hills community center, 3939 S. Lindbergh, Sunset Hills, MO 63127

Landscaping with Native Trees and Shrubs
Betty Struckhoff is giving a presentation on Landscaping with Native Trees and Shrubs at Free and open to the public.


June 6, 2015
at Brightside St. Louis’ Demonstration Garden
Check in at 8:30, then classes held from 9:00 until 12:00 noon
Only $10 for 4 workshops – one every 40 minutes!
Workshop classes offered:
Neighbors Naturescaping (for public spaces)
Native Annuals and Perennials
Gardening for Birds
Native Shrubs
Dealing with Urban Soils
Native Grasses
Gardening for Butterflies
Native Small Trees
Rain Gardening
Gardening for Pollinators
Care & maintenance for Woody Plants
Naturescaping for Your Home
Pruning Woody Plants


June 20, 2015
St. Louis Native Plant Garden Tour
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
A self-guided tour of 10 residential native plant gardens in central St. Louis County. Various locations in Brentwood, Clayton, Glendale, Kirkwood, Webster Groves and more.
Sun, shade, butterflies, birds, dry sites and wet
Traditional and natural designs
Take pictures and ask questions
Cost: $20 per person.

June 20
10 a.m. to noon.
Forest ReLeaf is offering monthly tours of their nursery, CommuniTree Gardens, located in Creve Coeur Park.

Registration is preferred and the tour runs from 10:00-12:00.  Please or call 314-533-LEAF to register or for more information

June 27-28 (Metro Area)
15th annual Pond-O-Rama, pond and garden tour, open to the public.


You can find more events on the Gateway Gardner website.

Note – the picture is common milkweed grown by Weldon, right behind Ronnie’s Cine. He’s got at least fifty various milkweed plants growing along with a lot of new zinnia plants. It should be spectacular later in the summer.


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