by Mark Gilson

One day the leaves are gone.
And the wind makes dying sounds
within the humbled branches.
It is time.
The slow earth yields its precious heat.

In a cold hush before the sun
our garden perishes within the arms
of a stranger.  Vain, inexorable, patient,
He chalks his victims
in a pale and savage dust.

Marigolds and sweet alyssum
wither uncherished beneath the brittle weeds
that overtook our nobler intentions
in warmer months, when we were young
and soon distracted.

Rain, snow, frozen soil, the way
the blackbirds undulate across drab
sheets of grey sky in curving
arrows toward the recent past…
so many things go unremembered.

The Great Lakes Cycle

by Elsa Johnson

On Tuesday I spent an hour (not really enough time, but I had a meter running) at Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art, free on election day (great idea there, MOCA). I wanted to see the current exhibit, The Great Lakes Cycle, by artist 9054416718, who aligns environmental activism with art in a most satisfying way. The exhibit introduces itself through a collection of some of Rockman’s field ‘sketches’ – which are actually not sketches but black and white watercolor renderings with a delicious, ephemeral watery look –

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Following that, in the first exhibit hall, is a collection of large scale equally watery, equally delicious watercolor paintings that allow one to appreciate Rockman’s loose yet explicitly detail-suggestive handling/execution of this challenging medium.


Leading to the largest room, in which hang the five great paintings for which the exhibit is named. These fill-the-wall scale paintings are visually rich, emotionally affecting, and intellectually exhilarating, educating, and depressing. Don’t let that last keep you away. This is a must see exhibit.

These five paintings are visual studies through a vast extended timeline of man’s interaction with and effect on the Great Lakes. One ‘reads’ the paintings from left to right, with the left side representing the original pristine natural environment.

 In all the pictures the left side is the oldest in the timeline, and the timeline changes progressively through time toward the right side, which is the historically most recent and most ecologically disturbed, abused, and debased. That juxtaposition on one canvas, of those effects of which we are not unaware but often not thoughtful about, brings the alteration profoundly home. It is a slice through time and physical reality that shows us, both above and below the water, the changes wrought as it enumerates the natural, the unnatural, and in one painting the imaginary, denizens of the lake and shore. The paintings are a little overwhelming and deserve more study than a ticking meter allows.  

A little Great Lakes history here, cribbed from an accompanying book of the same title (available in the gift store): The Great Lakes were carved by glaciers over vast millenia of geologic time, and were equally slowly revealed as the glaciers receded. Better described as inland seas, they reached their current form roughly 5,000 years ago. They carry 18 to 20% of the surface freshwater on the planet. If combined into one, that sea would span the combined landmass of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The Great Lakes hold 6 quadrillion gallons of water – enough to cover the continental United States with a layer of water 10 feet deep. The northernmost lake, Superior, is the world’s largest lake by volume of water, while Lake Erie, our canary-in-the-mine lake (my description, not the book’s) is the southernmost and shallowest. Lake Erie has the most productive fishery, and is the most quickly flushed (my choice of words, not the book’s – and believe me, fast flushing is a good thing). Surrounding the Great Lakes is a rich diversity of ecosystems. 

There are 5 paintings. It is not really clear to me that each painting represents a specific lake. Rather, each painting addresses a common issue all the lakes have.  The painting titled Pioneers, focuses on aquatic life, and the in-migration of aquatic life since the end of the last ice age, from the sturgeon that fed the first Native Americans to today’s aquatic invaders, shown as a stream of small creatures ejected from an anchored ships ballast water.   

The painting titled Cascade is a study of man’s continuing impact on nature, a mix of human and natural history, from the elk swimming across the water on the left to the blighted industrial landscape pictured on the right, set off by buoys.

The painting titled Spheres of Influence explores how the interaction of the global ecosystem (weather, birds, insects, bats, and air-borne micro-contaminants) has shaped the current condition of the lakes

The painting Watershed illuminates the shift that happens as pristine streams and rivers are contaminated by modern agriculture and urban development. It’s pretty disturbing…

And finally, the picture Forces of Change illustrates these – both the past, and the potential future – complete with an imaginary e-coli kraken – if we continue on our current polluting ways.


A day following my trip to MOCA to see this exhibit I attended an evening panel symposium at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, discussing the state of our lake. What good timing I thought! I  thought I could include a synopsis of that panel discussion here at the end of this article, but I have come to see that it is a separate article of its own. So I will end here with a synopsis of each lake’s problems as taken from the book:

Lake Superior is the fastest warming large lake on the planet. Warmer waters threaten this lake’s cold water fishery. Lakes Michigan and Huron are essentially one lake; they have been invaded by zebra mussels, which filter immense quantities of plankton through their bodies. This gives the water clarity, but that clarity is indication of meager fish. Lake Erie suffers from toxic algae blooms, which are likely to double as the climate changes. And Lake Ontario suffers from being used as a toxic dumping ground, which are now locked into the lake’s bottom sediments. What follows is a map from the book showing cumulative stresses on the lake. It does not differ significantly from one projected on the screen at the museum talk, so I include it here:

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I hope you will go see this exhibit and spend some time with it. Take the kids.


by Elsa Johnson

Parks play an important role in greening a metropolitan area—including the parks that are not actually within the city itself. Cleveland is lucky to have an especially rich park system close in.  But Cleveland area people often miss some cool parks that are a little further out —  close by but not real close by – and a bit harder to get to. From the eastside. It’s easy to get to Holden Arboretum; the Lake County parks that are close by Holden are hard to miss and draw a lot of visitors – like Penitentiary Glen. But way out on the farthest fringes of Lake County there are a collection of not so easy to find parks with some unique features. As a long-practicing landscape designer I have often gone to Klyn Nursery. It was easy to get to Klyn’s via Route 90 and Vrooman Road. When I would get to the bottom of the hill on Vrooman, before it passed over the bridge crossing the Grand River, I would notice a gravel and dirt road that turned right and wandered off ….somewhere.  The road less traveled.  It always intimidated me a little bit, looking  isolated and rough, as it did, and I was on my ‘getting plants’ mission anyway. So I’d pass it by. Then they (the ubiquitous ‘they’) closed the Vrooman Road bridge. So I found myself looking for other ways to get to Klyn’s, and began exploring the back roads, and In doing so I discovered a trio of interesting parks.

I’ve written before, I believe, about Indian Point Park, which is where you find yourself if you if you take that road less traveled. Paine Creek, a small tributary stream to the Grand River, enters that larger flow at Indian Point. Yes, there’s a real legitimate reason it is called Indian Point, and you can discover it via the Lake county Parks website. You can climb up to the top of the point for a view out over the Grand, an Ohio Wild and Scenic River. In the springtime the forest floor here is covered in Virginia bluebells; and in a few weeks there will be glorious fall color. Then, were you a duck you could swim or waddle up Paine Creek, pass under the I-90 freeway, and, not too much further on, arrive at Paine Falls Park. But if you are human, you will have to use your phone navigator or an old fashioned map and zig here and then zag there. The duck will arrive first.

From Paine Falls Park, if you are a duck, having flown to the top of the falls, you will continue up the Paine Creek stream and soon arrive at Hell Hollow Wilderness Area. But if you are human, you’ll get in your car and zig and zag again, and eventually, with luck, find yourself at the same place, but at the top rim of the hollow rather than down in the bottom with the duck.

The charm of the Paine Creek parks and the Hell Hollow Wilderness Area is not to be found in a long hike – there are no long trails – rather, the charm lies in the intimate exploration of Paine Creek (even though you’re not a duck, you get to play in the water). But at Hell Hollow, before you do that, you have to walk down two hundred and sixty three steps (remembering that what goes down must come back up again).


There are great views from the rim trail out over the hollow to the creek below.


The creek bed is shale, not mud, and on a warm summer or early fall day, with the water low, wearing water sneakers, we walked both along and in the water, feeling like explorers, noticing the creek side vegetation (knotweed even here!) and the tiny darters dashing from one sheltering stone to another. Nowhere was the water higher than my ankles.  A young naturalist we came across in the stream showed us a crayfish he held in his fingers, a sign of the unpolluted quality of the water.


I should note that in higher and colder water this watery exploration probably would not be a good or safe idea.

These three destinations put together would make a nice day trip for a city dweller, or someone looking for a little adventure, although I find myself wishing that somehow these three parks, so well connected by nature, were better connected by and for people, so that one could explore them as a continuous hike.

Perhaps someday.

Get Ready for a Little Breaking and Entering

by Joe Boggs
Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County
OSU Department of Entomology

(520) 364-7245

Our drop in temperatures throughout Ohio will no doubt convince fall home invading insects that it’s time to seek winter quarters.  These unwelcomed guests typically include Boxelder Bugs (Boisea trivittatus); Western Conifer Seed Bugs (Leptoglossus occidentalis); Magnolia Seed Bugs (Leptoglossus fulvicornis); Multicolored Asian Lady Beetles (MALB) (Harmonia axyridis); and the most notorious of all, Brown Marmorated Stink Bugs (BMSB) (Halyomorpha halys).




These home invaders have several things in common.  First, their populations may vary considerably even across relatively short distances.  Some homes may be inundated while those located just a few miles away remain free of insect marauders.

Even more challenging, late season outdoor populations are not always a reliable predictor of indoor excursions.  Just because you didn’t see them in September doesn’t mean you won’t see them sitting next to you on your sofa in November.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

The second thing these home invaders have in common is their “cold-blooded” physiology meaning the speed of their metabolism is mostly governed by ambient temperature; the higher the temperature, the faster their metabolism, and the faster they “burn” fat.  Yes, insects have fat, but it’s confined by their hard exoskeletons so they don’t suffer ever-expanding waistlines.

These insects feed voraciously in late summer to accumulate fat.  They then seek sheltered locations in the fall where cool temperatures slow their metabolism during the winter so they will not exhaust their stored fat reserves.  This survival strategy keeps them alive since there is nothing for them to eat throughout the winter.

The insects are attracted to the solar heat radiating from southern or western facing roofs and outside walls as well as the warmth radiating from within.  This can lead them into attics, outside wall voids, and spaces around door jams and window frames that make perfect overwintering sites.  They stand a good chance of surviving the winter as long as they remain in these cool, protected sites.


However, sometimes they make a terrible error; for both the insect and a homeowner.  Instead of staying put, they continue to follow the heat gradient into homes.  This is accidental and disastrous for the insects because the high indoor temperatures cause them to burn through their fat reserves and starve to death.  And, they do not go gentle into that good night!  Starving brown marmorated stink bugs and multicolored Asian lady beetles commonly take flight to buzz-bomb astonished homeowners and terrified pets.


The Best Defense is a Good Offense

The best defense against home invaders buzzing or lumbering around inside a home is to prevent them from entering in the first place.  Although there are effective indoor BMSB traps, they shouldn’t be used in place of sealing openings that allow the bugs to enter the home.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of bugs. 

Large openings created by the loss of old caulking around window frames or door jams provide easy access into homes.  Such openings should be sealed using a good quality flexible caulk or insulating foam sealant for large openings.


Poorly attached home siding and rips in window screens also provide an open invitation.  The same is true of worn-out exterior door sweeps including doors leading into attached garages; they may as well have an “enter here” sign hanging on them.  Venture into the attic to look for unprotected vents, such as bathroom and kitchen vents, or unscreened attic vents.  While in the attic, look for openings around soffits.  Both lady beetles and stink bugs commonly crawl upwards when they land on outside walls; gaps created by loose-fitting soffits are gateways into home attics. 

Handle with Care

Insects that find their way into a home should be dealt with carefully. Swatting or otherwise smashing these insects can cause more damage than leaving them alone since fluids inside their bodies can leave permanent stains on furniture, carpets, and walls.  Also, mashing multicolored Asian lady beetles and brown marmorated stink bugs can release a lingering eau de bug; lady beetles have stinky blood and stink bugs are called stink bugs for a reason!

Vacuum cleaners present their own sets of risks.  A “direct-fan” type of vacuum cleaner should never be used.  Passing the refuse through an impeller will create a horrifying bug-blender!  Even a “fan-bypass” type (e.g. Shop-Vac) with the refuse bypassing the impeller can develop a distinctive scent if used on stink bugs because the bugs will release their defense odor in response to swirling around inside the vacuum tank.

However, fragrant misadventures with vacuum cleaners can be minimized with a slight modification involving using a nylon ankle sock as pictured below.  The method is clearly described in the OSU Factsheet titled, Multicolored Asian Lady Beetle (see “More Information” below).

(814) 778-0020

Small numbers of home invaders can be scooped-up and discarded by constructing a simple but effective “bug collector” using a plastic pint water bottle as pictured below.  Large numbers of insects can be quickly dispatched by placing a small amount of soapy water in the bottom of the bug collector.







by Lois Rose

These images are from Heights area gardens in September this year.

Anemone.  Needs full sun to partial shade, rich well drained soil.

(613) 864-6024

Aster needs full sun.  They will self-seed around your garden if you fail to deadhead. Can be lanky so cutting back early in the season, by early June, can create a shorter and later flowering plant. Aster tataricus is blooming right now—very late, with lavender-blue tall stems.


Hardy begonia. Partial or full shade, bloom for months, prefers moist rich soil, come in late.

(806) 240-6344

Belamcanda, or Blackberry lily likes full sun, sometimes reseeds. Needs good drainage. Seed pods are great for arrangements.


Plumbago—cerratostigma plumbaginoides. Blue flowers late in season, full sun to partial shade. Good drainage is important, slowly spreading ground cover.


Chelone—pink turtlehead, full sun or partial shade. Seedheads are nice. Plants can be pinched back in spring to reduce height.


Heuchera likes full sun to partial shade.  Don’t prune in winter.  Mulch instead.

Kirengeshoma palmata likes partial shade, suffers in drought. Prefers slightly acid soil.

Liriope, creeping lilyturf. Full sun or shade, do not deadhead for interesting fruit. Clean up in spring.

(770) 384-9769

Perovskia or Russian sage in full sun. Long flowering, tendency to flop. Pinch by one-half when a foot tall for fuller plants.

(205) 651-4276

Phlox in full sun. Seedlings are not true to type. Thin by a third early to reduce mildew, or choose wisely. Pinching produces shorter plants and delays flowering.

Physostegia, obedient plant. Full sun or partial shade, deadhead to improve appearance and possibly lengthen bloom time.

Sedum likes full sun or partial shade—Autumn Joy is a four-season plant, so it is cut back after winter has taken its toll but only then. Can flop in shade but can be pinched or cut back to a few inches when 8 inches tall in June for shorter and later blooming.

Solidago is full sun.  Can be cut back by a half in early June for shorter more compact habit and delay of flowering.

(330) 483-3452

Trycyrtis, hairy toad lily likes partial shade. Can be cut back by one half in early June. Needs rich soil.


Heptacodium miconioides, Seven-son Flower. Grown as a shrub or tree, outstanding calyx display in pink after flowering is done in late fall. Needs moist, well drained, rich soil, partial shade, exfoliating bark.

If you want more information about the perennials or shrubs or trees, there are two very useful books that will help. One is “alangin” by Tracy DiSabato-Aust.  This is the kind of book you keep by your bedside so that you can read up on what you have to do tomorrow in the garden. The other book is Michael Dirr’s “Manual of Woody Landscape Plants.” Again, the go-to source for all kinds of information, from beginners to advanced. There are no color illustrations, but he has produced another book to fill that gap. It has less detailed information, but the pictures are worth—well, you know.

If you haven’t seen enough plants, here are more images, offered without commentary.







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by Tom Gibson

That’s right.  A Gardeners’ Market, not a farmers’ market.  August 2019 will see the launch of what its founders believe will be the region’s first market in which only home and community gardeners, and cooks (and no professional farmers) can sell extra produce and flowers, as well as certain “cottage” products like baked goods that pass muster by the Ohio Dept. of Agriculture.

The Noble Gardeners’ Market, as it has been named, is tentatively scheduled to run for 8 to 10 weeks into early fall and take place on a mini-park at the corner of Roanoke and Noble Roads in the Noble neighborhood of Cleveland Heights. (See for continuing updates.)

The inspiration for the market came to Brenda May, a leader of the Noble Neighbors community group from a small market she encountered in Wilmore, Kentucky, just south of Lexington, the state capital. “This market had only about 8 sellers,” she says, “but people came and stayed for hours.”

Some people came with just 20 tomatoes to sell from backyard gardens and one woman sold herb cuttings for a dime a piece. Some of the sellers wanted to make a few extra dollars, but others simply wanted to connect with the community.


Recalls May: “It was clear that the herb seller might not earn three dollars that day. So why was she there? It was about connecting with people, exchanging information, checking up on each other. That’s where I had the “aha” moment about community building and about not needing to have box loads of produce to make a successful market.”

To test the idea, May and a half dozen other members of Noble Neighbors tested the idea in late summer on three successive Saturdays from 10 AM to noon.  The response was strong. Said Jill Tatum, one of the Noble Neighbors participants: “We learned that there was tremendous interest among buyers, that people loved to stay and chat with each other, and that our two-hour market time is perfect for both buyers and sellers.”

Although the Wilmore example started initial thinking, May and her Noble Neighbors colleagues are actually aiming higher. They are looking not only for participants whose highest priority is community connection, but also for home producers who want to use their skills to make extra money.

They are also looking for participants across the region, not just Cleveland Heights.  So far, growers in South Euclid and Cleveland’s Hough Neighborhood have indicated interest.

“We need sellers,” says May. “The more sellers we have, the more customers we’ll be able to attract.”

Sellers will need to bring their own tables or ground cloth and must be able to make change for their customers.  

“Right now,” she says, “we want potential sellers to start thinking.  Since we know that gardeners start planning their gardens during the dark, snowy days of winter, we hope they will be thinking about the Noble Gardeners’ Market. How much they plant next spring will determine how much extra they will have to sell in late summer.”

The gardeners’ market has the enthusiastic support of the City of Cleveland Heights.  Mayor Carol Roe says, “This idea for a community market is just the latest in a series of creative ideas from Noble Neighborhood that bring people together by ‘thinking green.’  We have high hopes that this market will become a landmark for the region.”  


by Elsa Johnson

A Simple Poem about Whether


How I love      a growling sky                                            after the grey

cloud dragons have slipped in                     stealthy                on their

thick     padded      feet     —      so many of them                  crowding

together                                They are alchemists                   conjuring

weather                           muttering guttural spells                   arguing                          

over whether                                             to send down sheets of rain

  /       walls of sleet        /                                      or merely a damping

dribble           Who should start the wind machine?                 Should

it stroke cheeks    /    or crack stone?                 caress trees    /     or

crush them?            harrow birds ?      oh yes !     —   and harry them             

How much     and where          —        all      the whethers of weather                                   

I love             the gravel                of their                    muffled ire      —                   

their mounded shapes                         But see    —    they can’t agree          

They’re              stealing away                                 down sky corridors         

(315) 619-7982


by Elsa Johnson

One of the things I find interesting about the Natural History Museum’s annual late summer symposium is who goes to it. You expect naturalists, conservationists, ecologists – and also teachers, students, volunteers, and birders — but there are a large number of others who attend simply because they are interested in a diversity of nature related subjects. This on a work day…. In an auditorium known for hovering only a few degrees above arctic (Note: ALWAYS bring a hoodie).

This year’s symposium presented a pleasing breadth of topics, and most of them were rooted in Ohio — but not all. The morning keynote speaker, Jennifer Collins, who is Manager of Ocean Education at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History spoke on the educational uses of the biocube. A biocube is an open cube made of — its space defined by — peripheral tubes linked together to measure a cubic foot. Organisms can freely pass through the cube, which is then located on a chosen research site and intensely studied over the course of a day. Everything that passes through it, under it, over it, or past it, is examined and recorded before being released. They make up the cube’s biomass; generally, the more complex the environment being studied, the greater number and diversity of organisms that will be recovered. The tool used for identification is the app called: (226) 316-7597, available to anyone as a download. The model used is 5076397557, also available online, through the Smithsonian site…designed to “bring the museum’s collections, scientists, and research out from behind the scenes and within your reach. The biocube, and iNaturalist and Q?rius are great educational tools to engage students at every stage in the study of nature.

Another morning talk was called: The State of Dragons. Presented by 7372334707, this was an update on dragonflies, of which, we were told, there are 170 (ish) species in Ohio.  Lest we think dragonflies too fragile looking and benign, we were reminded that these magical looking creatures of the gossamer wings are predators at every step, through every stage, of their transformative lives. We learned that it is the males that frequent water, while the females, which prefer to spend their adult lives farther afield, come to water lay their eggs. Kinda of like the girls of a Friday night visiting the neighborhood pub.  iNaturalist, again, can help with ID.

A more depressing morning session was plant health specialist David Lentz’s talk on the invasive insects  and pathogens that have killed, are killing, and are going to kill so many of our Ohio trees. This was his list: Dutch elm disease; the Japanese beetle (crops); the brown marmorated stink bug; the emerald ash borer; the hemlock wooly adelgid; the Asian long horned beetle (maples); the velvet long horned beetle (everything – its indiscriminate); thousand canker disease (walnut); the spotted lantern fly (pines, stone fruits); beech leaf disease; beech scale insects; laurel wilt disease ; the redbay ambrosia beetle (spicebush and sassafras – oh no). I would add oak wilt and two lined chestnut borer. There goes the mixed hardwood forests of northern Ohio. Isn’t that depressing….

What trees does Lentz recommend? — bald cypress; cucumber magnolia; Kentucky coffee tree; black gum; black maple; northern catalpa; big toothed aspen; and tulip poplar. Good luck with all that. And remember: avoid monocultures.

Lunch was followed by the afternoon keynote speaker, dermatopathic, the David Burpee Chair in plant genetics and research as well as Director of the Manning Herbarium, Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, who spoke on using good communication skills to get your narrative across: #1 – own your narrative;  #2 – produce good work; #3 – choose your story; #4 – write and share; #5 –do the legwork. And then when all that has been done, your article or presentation should be multi-layered, possess some attention getting and keeping novelty, and have good visuals. Of course he provided examples, which don’t translate well to this review… but one example (of several) that he provided was his 470-242-6916 video series, also found on Uzay Sezen’s Nature Documentaries site.   

This was followed by the afternoon sessions.

The first of these was Scott Butterworth’s talk on the history and management of white-tailed deer in Ohio. I can remember, as a child growing up in a still-very-rural (at that time) east side of Twinsburg (now the location of Liberty Park), the thrill of seeing a small herd of deer running through a neighbors field and effortlessly leaping a fence row as if no serious barrier existed. So I was interested to learn that there was a time in Ohio when both the hardwood forests and the deer had both been largely extirpated by logging/habitat removal (there’s an example of adding a little novelty to your presentation), and that between 1998 and 2008 the deer herd doubled. Today, we learned, we are seeing a decline in deer pregnancy numbers, and our coyotes – whose population seems to be stabilizing – are acting as effective predators. I can actually anecdotally verify that, as several times in the past recent years hikers have reported stumbling across deer haunches, or what remained of them, in Forest Hill Park. For more information on deer, the ODNR site to visit is 907-473-6171.

This was followed by a presentation by John Watts on efforts to restore and preserve the native tall grass prairies of the Darby Plains, Madison County, geographically just west of Columbus and Franklin County. Two areas in the preserve are the 3348814077 and the Smith Cemetery Nature Preserves. These preserves, with deep soils and 350 year old Burr Oak trees, are located within (?) (I hope I have this right – my notes are not clear) the Pearl King Prairie Savanna, a 6070 acre wet prairie in the watershed of the Big Darby Creek. As part of the restoration, the drainage tile that had been installed to turn the wet prairie into well-drained tillable farmland, had to be exposed and broken. Buffalo have been re-introduced to this prairie, as well as thirteen-lined ground squirrels (that is their title) and hellbenders. Plants to be found there are Stiff Gentian, Tall Larkspur, Royal Catchfly, Sullivant’s Milkweed, Queen of the Prairie; Bunch Flower, Coneflower, Black-eyed Susan, and more. This would be a fairly easy day trip for those who want to see a tall grass prairie with buffalo without traveling west of the Mississippi River. Bonus: Water quality in the Big Darby is improving due to less sedimentation.

Two additional presentations were on areas closer to home and close to our hearts — one on restoring biodiversity at Acacia Reservation, and the other on the tragic history and hopeful recovery of the Mentor Marsh. Because Gardenopolis Cleveland has published David Kriska’s story of the Mentor Marsh in the past year, we are not including it today.

Connie Hauseman, who is a plant and restoration ecologist with the Cleveland Metroparks, described the process that has turned Acacia, a 155 acre fairly sterile golf course environment into a restored biologically diverse environment (which will get better and better). Like the Prairie project described above, the drain tile underlying the golf course fairways had to be exposed and destroyed. That was merely part of an extensive planning process. In addition to tile breaking the planning and early implementation stages included soil mapping, vegetation mapping, stream surveys, water level logging, deer browse pressure studies (via Hawken students), meadow establishment, invasive plant management, tree planting (5000 trees and shrubs, all native), and most importantly, stream restoration (1,775 linear feet of stream channel) and the construction of headwater swales to slow water down. Since the restoration, 139 different bird species have been documented. This is an easy one – put on your hiking shoes. Acacia reservation is on the north side of Cedar Road opposite Beachwood Mall. Go see.

We have also omitted one of the morning sessions: Sarah Brink, of 2534412817, speaking on Completing the Cycle: Finding Comfort in Conservation Burial. This is a subject about which we would like to write in the future.

(719) 622-4422

by Tom Gibson

A new gardening/earthskills resource has taken root in Northeast Ohio.  Called Reeds & Roots Skillshare, the weekend event covering August 17-19 drew 215 people and probably just as many plaudits.  Its organizers believe they can repeat and expand their success in the years to come.

The event is modeled on the Whipoorwill Festival held annually in Kentucky and which one of that event’s organizers, Stephanie Blessing, passionately determined to transplant here. Taking stock, she sees “tons of support for future years. We are getting offers of other venues and more teachers and all kinds of excitement for future years.”

The skills shared ran the gamut from earthbuilding to fermentation to tree care. One of the attendees, Margy Weinberg of Cleveland Heights, commented that “one teacher was better than the next.”  She attended the fermentation class and also ones of reflexology, herbal foot baths, and leather bookbinding.  

I attended classes on edible mushroom identification and tree care.  I learned from both and am already applying to my own yard several of the ideas I got from Diana Sette, an arborist at Holden Arboretum.  See the full offering at /

The gathering was highly intergenerational, relaxed and from across the region (not only Cleveland, but Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Columbus, and even eastern Tennessee).

Above all, the event was exceptionally well organized—everything from signage to food.  If you want to be on next year’s mailing list, contact the organizers at reedsandroots@gmail,com.  Here are some pictures.

(414) 236-2600



The first full week of September promises to be a busy one! 

First, The Cleveland Museum of Natural History is hosting its annual 3363466560. This year’s theme is Biodiversity: Life in Balance, and boasts a lineup of excellent speakers on fascinating topics. The symposium itself takes place all day on Friday, September 7, and field trips and workshops are offered on Thursday and Saturday. Gardenopolis is particularly looking forward to the American Chestnut Workshop.

Next, on Saturday, September 8. Gardenopolis will be hosting its annual Garden Party. Look for invitation details in your email if you’re a subscriber; if you don’t subscribe check out the details on Facebook, or send an email to to be included.

We hope to see you in September!