And the Winner Is...
Perennial Plant Association Picks Plant of the Year
Yes folks, it’s the moment all Indiana botanists and green thumb gurus have been eagerly awaiting. No, it’s not waking up Christmas morning under the natural evergreen in the living room or the blooming of spring your favorite spring flowers. It is the announcement of plant of the year for 2017 by the Perennial Plant Association. Naturally, no pun intended, the plant is a perennial. It is the Asclepius Tuberosa, or for those less scientific, we will refer to it by its common nickname, The Butterfly Weed. Since weeds tend to get a bad rap, the Asclepius Tuberosa can be referred to by one of its many monikers. Some are more flattering than others. A few of the most popular are the chigger flower, orange swallow-wort, orange milkweed and the more poetic butterfly love.
Whatever you want to call it, the Butterfly Weed is an extremely valuable plant that goes above and beyond to do its part in helping its environment. For starters, as its name implies, the Butterfly Weed provides nectar for, you guessed it, butterflies. The Monarch and Queen species love it as does the Tussock Moth. Its delectable nectar also satisfies the pallets of all different species of hummingbirds. But one of the most essential services the plant provides is that it is a source of larval food for the Monarch butterflies. Essentially, this beautiful, bright orange flowering plant acts as ground zero for the Monarch cycle of life. Think of this flowering plant as sort of an interstate truck stop where butterflies can stop and get what they need as they pass through our Hoosier state. Then it’s adios as they eventually make their way to sunny Mexico.
Another great quality of the Butterfly Weed is its hardiness. They do well in full sun and they are resistant to drought since they were originally a prairie plant. Also, deer and insects tend to leave them alone which makes them a wonderful addition to any backyard garden. Imagine the buzzing metropolis you could create with a few of these gorgeous plants. Their bright orange flowers will attract bumble bees, humming birds, butterflies, and most likely a few envious neighbors.
Where do we get our hands on such a magnificent plant? How can I help the environment, assist in Monarch butterfly migration and feed the hummingbird population? I am glad you asked! It just so happens the Avon Outdoor Learning Center will have an ample supply of this award-winning perennial and we would like to spread the love. In fact, on April 28th and 29th of 2017 we will be hosting our 15th annual Native Plant Sale. So, come join us, bring the kids and watch the Asclepius Tuberosa in action and purchase a few for your own garden. For more information on our sale and how you can volunteer at the Avon Outdoor Learning Center, contact:
Jennifer Davies at Jenniferdaviesolc@avon-schools.org
What did I say back at the start of school?! Sigh. Blogging is just not a strength! I guess I talk to so many people on a daily basis that this medium just doesn't appeal as much as real, actual facetime!
And boy am I getting some of that tomorrow! So excited to be heading to Purdue to present with my good buddy and educational partner in crime, Amy Sieferman! It's a first attempt at a STEM conference for educators around the state. Word is they organizers were hoping for 300 folks to sign up and had to close registration when 600 people said they wanted to come!
I'm not nervous about the public speaking piece- it's the logisitics. I've put to gether a Prezi to show that I'm tech savvy (kinda), then I put a Powerpoint together because I was worried about web access. It IS purdue but hey- stuff happens! And then I gathered a few handfuls of favorite photos...just in case we lose power and I STILL want to share what fun and wonderful things the students do here.
Our topic? Growing things as a tool for educators. My head nearly explodes when I try and whittle it down to just a few bullet points. Seeds need soil, water, sun and air- duh :) But that encompasses SOOOOOOOO much! I'm pretty sure we'll be making many new friends and return inspired by the amazing things others are accomplishing.
So I'm off- wish me luck- and an easy wi-fi connection!
Saturday Sept. 20th:
Happy First Day of School!
The days do just seem to fly by! June was spent with the IU West/ United Way pre- Kg camp. We had 24 youngsters who are all in their new classes this morning with all of the skills and enthusiasm for learning that Janet Craig, Renee Moore, myself and a bunch of AWESOME volunteers could instill in 18 days!
You have likely heard me shout the praises of volunteers inthe past, but I really want to make sure that the folks who give their time, labor and skills to the OLC are fully aware of what their time means!