Wildlife Botanical Gardens Newsletter

Fall 2013

Garden Buzz

Busy as bees are we as we buzz around with all the tasks of life – family, work, and volunteering.  When do we get to relax and reenergize? At the Wildlife Botanical Gardens!

This year Garden Coordinators and Board Members busily shared their passion for the Wildlife Botanical Gardens with new ideas and projects.  We hosted more tours than any of us can remember in past years. 

Art in the Gardens first year was a success!  On a beautiful, warm, clear July day, over 200 people visited the nine artists who set up their art throughout the gardens.

Many members gathered at the Volunteer Appreciation Event Sept. 21st to celebrate NatureScaping, and share gifts and food.  We hope you will come next year!

Check out our website for educational and fun classes in October and November!  Hope to see you there.  Meredith Hardin, President

Contact NatureScaping at 360.737.1160, www.naturescaping.org, or P.O. Box 891, Camas, WA 98607.  We are an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) organization.  Donations are appreciated!

The 7th Annual Apple Festival,  written by Cathy Miller Smith, Board Member

The 7th Annual Apple Festival and Heirloom Apple Tasting, hosted by Friendly Haven Rise Farm and Jacqueline Freeman, moved this year from the one room schoolhouse in Venersborg to the 78th Street Heritage Farm in Hazel Dell.  While the weather was wet, the attitude of the participants and attendees was not dampened in the least.

Organizations in attendance included the Small Acreage Program, Master Food Preservers, Home Orchard Society and our own NatureScaping.

I presented an informal, hour long seminar and discussion, All About Pollinators, covering our most common local pollinators: Hummingbirds, Bumble bees, Butterflies, Orchard Mason Bees and Honeybees.  Basic principles of food, water, shelter and space for each pollinator were discussed with many varieties of plants noted to plant for our little pollinators throughout the seasons for their year-long sustenance.

Attendees were especially interested in plants to attract hummingbirds so that feeders were not necessary most of the year.  Many plants were discussed but of special note were the cape fuchsia, hardy fuchsia and penstemon varieties.  Also of specific interest were plants used for the attraction and benefit of honeybees.  With an ongoing interest in the decline of the honeybee, many individuals are now keeping back yard hives and while they do so to help the honeybee, many are not familiar with the basic needs and requirements to facilitate a healthy hive.  Several of these basic needs also cross over to benefit both Bumblebees and Orchard Mason Bees.  Not to be left out… plants necessary for nectar, larval and cocoon stages were covered for our winged wonders, the butterfly.  Specifically noted was our native vegetation that is extremely beneficial not just to the butterflies but to all of our native pollinators as these are the plants that our pollinators have been using for hundreds of years before human society changed the overall health of the landscape.

Many questions were asked, lengthy discussions ensued and the Wildlife Botanical Gardens were used as a reference point,  I  particularly emphasized the Hummingbird and Flying Flowers Gardens targeting the plants with high nectar value.  Many people learned about the Wildlife Botanical Gardens throughout the day and it was heartwarming to speak with those individuals who were well aware of the Gardens and all they have to offer both educationally and for their beauty.

Volunteer Opportunity

Autumn is harvest time and the gardeners at NatureScaping’s Wildlife Botanical Gardens are harvesting excess perennials for our spring fundraiser.  Volunteer to dig, divide and pot up perennials and earn a free plant for every three hours that you help.

When the weather is dry and not too muddy from recent rains, we will dig up clumps of plants and stage them in a greenhouse.  When the weather turns rainy, we escape to the balmy interior of the greenhouse and spend a morning dividing and potting up the plants.  Please visit our website for contact information if you are interested.

Lee Lalone, Entrance Coordinator and Julie Carlsen, Bird Haven Co-Coordinator

Tips for Winterizing Your Garden

As temperatures drop, following are tips for Trees & Shrubs:  Water through winter when ground is nearly dried out.  Drier ground allows for plant’s hardening off for the winter.

Pull perennial weeds if you can’t stand them, otherwise let them be for wildlife (along with seed heads on perennial plants).

Stop fertilizing as fertilizing signals plants to grow rather than storing their energy for winter.

Good time to have your soil tested and adding lime or sulfur as needed for spring planting.

Late Autumn – after leaves fall, clean them off lawns and gardens…chop up the leaves and use as mulch with some compost around plants (away from the crowns of the plants though).  This mulch will protect plants over winter and add amendments to your soil next year.

The Pacific (Western) Yew, Written by Richard Palmer, Homestead Garden Co-Coordinator

Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia) is a small, slow growing, understory, evergreen (gymnosperm) tree that is widely distributed from British Columbia to California. Historically, the Yew tree was considered a waste tree by commercial harvesters.

Interest in the Yew tree grew in the 1970’s with the news that a chemical compound in its bark, Taxol, was found to have anticancer properties. As Phase I drug trials progressed into Phase II in 1985, concern was expressed by foresters and local people about the ecological impact on yew populations. In 1988 Taxol showed an effect in the treatment of melanoma and ovarian cancer. This was exciting news for cancer patients. However, the National Cancer Institute calculated 360,000 trees would be required annually to provide enough Taxol to treat all the ovarian cancer and melanoma cases in the US.

In the early 90’s several semi-synthetic production routes to Taxol were discovered which could be isolated in relatively large quantities from the needles of yew trees. It was easy to obtain the needles from the trimmings of yew trees at nurseries. In 1993 Taxol was discovered to be produced by an endophytic fungus living in the yew tree. Taxol is now known as Paclitaxel after its rights were licensed to Bristol-Meyers Squibb.

I have used yew wood in several woodworking projects and frequently hear compliments about the beauty of the wood, and surprise that it is from a native tree that many consider not very attractive. In my opinion, the yew is a good example of the need to preserve biodiversity as this “waste” tree has unique properties and has literally saved lives.