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Autumn at the Arboretum

According to the calendar it is officially Autumn, though this year’s continuing heat shows Mother Nature is not willing to leave Summer just quite yet. From the Wallis Arboretum’s beginning in the 1850s, trees were selected for their uniqueness and their year-round beauty, so as we progress into true autumn, there will be a continuation of color throughout.

Maples, harbingers of autumn, normally are the first to show their true colors in the fall. The Arboretum maples include Black, Paperbark, Red, and Sugar; and Japanese maple “Bloodgood” and “Burgundy Lace”. The new foliage of the last is a deep red that changes color during the year and returns to deep red-purple in the fall.

Among the unique are gingkos, whose leaf imprints have been found in fossils that are 270 million years old. The lemon-yellow leaves hang on until all have turned and then drop within two to three days, leaving a bare tree surrounded by a yellow skirt on the ground.

Redbud displays a darker yellow, with the exception of “Forest Pansy” and “Oklahoma” whose leaves are deep purple.

Washington Hawthorn turns orange, scarlet, and purple each fall. Along with the  Serviceberry, which has red to orange foliage, these two native trees produces purple-black edible berries and retains through the winter for the birds to eat.

The oaks, whose botanical name “Quercus’ means ‘beautiful tree’, are  among the last to change color. The Pin Oak and the Northern Red Oak change to scarlet and ruby-red.

This is not a complete list of the Arboretum’s fall color collection of trees. Visit the Arboretum often to see the daily change of fall color. Visit on your own or for a group tour of the Arboretum: call 859-987-6158 and leave a message.

President’s Project – Appalachian Wildlife Center

In Bell County in the Mountain Laurel District of The Garden Club of Kentucky there is a 12,000-acre tract of land that is being developed for an elk preserve by The Appalachian Wildlife Foundation. This preserve, which will be developed on abandoned coal strip mine property, will have a visitor’s center, small lake, restaurant, petting zoo and elk viewing tours as well as historical displays of the area’s mining on this land. These acres of old strip mine property that surround the visitor’s center will be reclaimed and planted to create the prairie necessary for the elk. This area is isolated and free from pesticide overspray. Several rare migratory birds have been sighted in the preserve that depend on feeding from our native seeds and berries along their journey. There are bear, fox, bobcats and other small mammals living on the property.

For my special project, our garden club members will collaborate with The Appalachian Wildlife Center to develop several acres of native habitat near the visitor’s center. We would provide seed and help develop plans for fields of native wildflowers and grasses that would provide food and shelter for many birds, small mammals, insects and other creatures.

This area and its surrounds would need to include a covered outdoor classroom and walking trails for students and other visitors to the preserve.

I feel that my project would be an educational tool that would help all visitors learn how important native plants are to the protection and continuation of all native life around us.

President’s Project: KY Highway Right-of-Ways

Native Plants on Highway Right-of-Ways and Public Space in KY

There have been some efforts made in Kentucky to plant small plots of native plants for our pollinators in Monarch Way Stations, in our state parks and on our highway right-of-way.

The Kentucky Transportation cabinet has approximately 200,000 acres of right-of-way. Of that, it maintains about 100,000 acres with mowing, spraying, re-seeding, etc. In addition, our counties maintain other roads that contain additional acreage that are maintained.

Our members are asked to work with local government agencies to develop areas that are planted with native plants. This will increase the native plants on our highway properties and help eliminate invasive species that threaten the native plants.

See President’s Award #2

Garden Tips for September

  • Deep water plants in preparation for winter. Despite what it seems, plants continue to grow their roots even during the coldest winter.
  • 15 Minute gardening – Write out a weekly plan of what needs to be done and divide into daily chores. Make a list of tools and supplies, adding what is needed to the shopping list. Having all supplies at hand, saves time and frustration.
  • Garden – While the soil is soft, pull weeds before they go to seed. Grab them at soil level and roll you hand away from the weed. It is easier and more root comes out than pulling straight up.
    • Pull dried daylily stems.
    • Pot up spring bulbs in soil to force for holiday bloom.
    • Layer daffodil, tulip and top with crocus and muscari.
    • Sow hardy annuals and transplant tender biennials.
  • Lawn – Remove thatch. Seed areas that need repair before mid- to late month. Check lawnmower blades for sharpness. The more turgid the leaf blades, the duller they will make the mower blades.
  • Trees – Select locations for fall tree planting in October. Consider power lines location.
    • Plant shrubs (mature size up to 10 feet) 10 feet from the power line. Magnolia soulangeana “Ann” is a small shrub that has bloomed all summer.
    •  Small trees(mature size under 30 feet) plant at least 15 feet from power lines.
    • Medium trees (30-50 feet) plant 35 feet away
    • tall trees, at least 45 feet.
  • Prune crape myrtle whose flowers have gone to seed and cut suckers from the base of the tree. Wait to trim trees that have sent out new growth thinking it is mid-summer, until they go dormant. Pick of fallen fruit to avoiding tripping or creating projectiles when mowing.
  • Vegetable – Work organic matter into vacant spaces: compost, aged manure, rotted straw or chopped leaves. Work 10-10-10 granular fertilizer into the soil and plant leaf lettuce, radish, spinach and turnip greens until mid-month. Reduce growth of perennial herbs by not fertilizing, so that fertilizer forced new-growth is not killed by frost.

In the Arboretum: Champion Acorns

In his poem, “Trees”, Joyce Kilmer said, “Only God can create a tree…” For one of the finest old tree collections in Central Kentucky, visit the Wallis Arboretum. Many are over 100 years, including the recently declared Kentucky Champion Northern Red Oak. It is over 96 feet tall, its circumference 180 feet, measured at 4.5 feet from the ground and one of the old trees that dominate the front yard. It is one of 11 National Register of Big Trees in Kentucky.

Mrs. Wallis was known for wise choices in selection of only the best trees to plant, including the Northern Red Oak. It is the most popular of the oaks for the home landscape for its beautiful shape and spring foliage of greenish-red foliage that turns a dark red in the fall. It is also known for its rapid growth, strong wood, and resistance to fungi and insects as it contains tannic acid. It tolerates urban pollution and drought due to its deep tap root.

Oaks have been a part of our culture for centuries. Linnaeus listed red oak as only one of five of the 600 species. Oaks have been a source of ship and structure lumber, furniture, and barrels for whiskey and other spirits. Even the galls are ground for a type of manuscript ink.

This fall, Oakland Farms and The Garden Club of Kentucky are collecting the Red Oak’s acorns to propagate seedlings of the champion. Unlike many tree seeds, Red Oak’s acorns take two years to mature. It is hoped that seedlings of the champion will be available in the future.

The Nannine Clay Wallis Arboretum, 616 Pleasant Street, Paris, is open to the public year-round without charge.

Garden Tips for August

  • Compost – Composting container size depends on the space you have available. It can be as small as a sweater plastic box to a series of bins similar to those at the Arboretum. For more information request UK Extension Service pamphlet HO-75 or google Home Composting: A Guide to Managing Yard Waste to download it.  Cornell University: cwmi.css.cornell.edu, go to Composting(bottom of the page), Home Composting.
  • Garden – Continue to spray roses for black spot and powdery mildew. Bag black spot foliage on the plant and soil and destroy. Powdery mildew on lilacs not harm but looks bad. Control it with rose fungicide. Cut Liatris, to enjoy now and later as dried material for fall wreaths. Remove most of the foliage and place in a container without water. Order lilies and plant as soon as they arrive.
  • Pour left-over coffee(without cream, milk, or sugar, and unflavored) around acidic plants to add nitrogen to the plants. Dilute it if using it to water acid-loving houseplants to prevent build-up of acid. Do not water more than once a week.
  • Lawn – Dig dried patches for grubs. If more than ten per square foot are found, treat with a fast- acting insecticide. If your leaf blower needs replacing, purchase one that also vacuums and mulches the leaves.
  • Trees and shrubs – Prune out or hand pick bagworms. By now insecticides are not effective.
  • Plant evergreens. Before planting trees and shrubs, fill the hole with water, and saturate the plant’s root ball. Once the hole has drained, plant so that the root ball is level with the ground. If your automatic irrigation system or the soil is slow to drain, plant slightly higher than the ground level. Mulch, but no more than three inches and three inches from the trunk.
  • Vegetables – Compost or till under spent vegetable plants. For larger gourds, but no more, pinch the growing tips when fruit is set. Continue planting seed directly in the ground for a fall harvest. Dry onions for two weeks before storing.

Compost in the Arboretum

The Arboretum hosted the third annual free Kids Day in the Arboretum. What a delight to see so many children searching for clue to the scavenger hunt, helping to make compost, and having the change to wear a beekeeper’s outfit.

The Arboretum has so much to offer as well as a beautiful setting. It continues the tradition of its first owner to plant the latest introductions. As a result, it is considered the ‘finest old-tree collection in Central Kentucky’. It is also a demonstration garden of the newest introductions; providing the public with the best plants to add to their gardens having tested what is more apt to survive than not.

The Arboretum’s demonstrations are not limited to the beauty of the Rain, Butterfly, Hosta, and Monarch Waystation gardens, they play and important part in the environment.  Also, environmentally important, and some would say as beautiful as the above gardens, is the Composting Project near the Carriage House. The large three-bin compost complex was built to break down the plant material from the four-acre Arboretum. Composting leaves, small branches, herbaceous plant material and grass clippings reduces the amount of material that goes into the land-fill and provides Arboretum cost-free material that is used to improve the quality of the soil and nourish herbaceous plants in the above beds.

The Compost Bins passive demonstration project is accessible by the Carriage House entrance at the end of 7th Street or through the Arboretum.

The Nannine Clay Wallis Arboretum, 616 Pleasant Street, Paris, is open to the public year-round without charge. For more information go to:gardenclubky.org, Arboretum

Kids Day 2019

The Kids Day at the Arboretum on Monday, July 19, was a huge success according to Joanna Kirby, Chair of the third annual event. Kirby said, ‘Without support of so many, it would not have been the most successful to date. Support came from the Library and Kentucky Bank; Kentucky Department of Forestry; and Paris residents. In addition, the Bourbon County Council of Garden Clubs, Painted Hills Garden Club(Morehead), and many The Garden Club of Kentucky members from all over the state.”

The theme for the day was “The Environment.” It began at the Paris-Bourbon County Library, where Deb Horn coordinated the visit of Smoky Bear and Ranger Phillip Horsely, who showed “A Day in the Forest with Smoky” in celebration of the bear’s 75th birthday. Horn and assistants joined in the activities at the Nannine Clay Wallis Arboretum, where they sponsored stenciling leaves on a tree-decorated T-shirts.

At the Nannine Clay Wallis Arboretum, Kara Sayles, who is the Bluegrass Greensource, Environmental Educator and Rain Garden Project Coordinator, explained the importance of water through selected planting and collecting rain water for our plants. The children joined in watering plants from the rain barrel.

Dee Larking, Bluegrass Greensource Environmental Educator, delighted the children who held red crawler worms while she told the children how worms helped break down plant waste and improve the soil.

Kentucky State Apiarist-Department of Agriculture, Tammy Horn Potter, brought a demonstration hive with active bees, suits for the children to try on, honey, and other bee-related items.

Hydroponics were demonstrated by Dee Biebighauser as the children identified water critters and were shown how to grow their own plants in water. Biebighauser also chaired the day’s activities and coordinated Painted Hills Garden Club members who were in charge of each of the ten activities.

Once again, this year the Kentucky Bank supplied the much-needed water bottles for all at the Arboretum. The Bourbon Council of Garden Clubs members provided a free lunch for all of the nearly 140 children, also supervisors and activities workers.

Things to Do in Your Garden – July

Garden – Continue to deadhead flowers. Snap daylily spent blooms late afternoon or evening so that you will wake up to a neat garden. Recycle spent bloom into the compost. Herbicide sprays drift even on calm days. Apply weed killer by using a painter’s trim roller. Porous plant containers dry faster than plastic and may need watering more than once a day.

Hummingbirds – Change feeder sugar water every three days during the summer, using white cane sugar (Domino or C&H), only. Hummers do not like beet sugar. The Hummingbird Society states, “Do not use any other sugar – not turinado(golden-colored raw sugar), raw, powdered(it contains starch) brown, or organic – and never use honey or artificial sweeteners. Spring water is preferred, but most tap water is acceptable.” Honey produces a fungus that clogs their throats resulting in death.

Monarchs – Whether you raise Monarchs in container to release, or observe them in your garden inspect their caterpillars for the tachinid fly eggs. The yellowish mass on their backs will eventually kill them. To destroy the eggs, Monarch Butterfly Garden recommends rinsing the caterpillars and then gently rubbing off the eggs. It will not harm the caterpillars.

Trees – Inspect trees for breakage, splitting and cracks from high winds and rains. Cut damaged into the healthy, solid wood, or back to the tree collar. The collar is a series of rings found where limbs grow from the trunk. The collar cells will scab over the cut. Do not cut into it or flush with the trunk. Painting or other artificial treatment will seal in insects and disease.

Trees that have lost half of their limbs should be removed.

Check for tree borers that appear in spring and summer. Insecticide treatment timing is critical as larvae enter the tree, 10-14 days after hatching treatment is ineffectual. Indications are frass(sawdust), round holes in the bark, and tree limbs dying from the base upwards.