Catch Me If You Can

Debra Knapke on the Spot at Chadwick Plant Sale!

It’s plant sale time and you will find me in the role of plant ambassador at the Chadwick Arboretum Sale on Friday morning from 8 to 11 a.m. I will be there to answer questions and find plants that will work in your garden. At 11:00, I will be a guest of All Sides with Ann Fisher on WOSU-89.7 and answer more questions.

One question I anticipate from listeners and sale visitors is: what are the effects of the record precipitation last year – 55-plus inches – plus the wet winter and spring?  In Central Ohio we are already 6” above normal for this time of year, and much of the Midwest is experiencing similar weather. My response will be: “Good question; let me consult my crystal ball.” Then I will relate what has happened in my garden.

One casualty of last year’s rain and wet winter was my thyme lawn. It looked approximately 95% dead on April 23rd when this picture was taken. It is slowly coming back, and I can now adjust the death toll to 85% dead. By this time in May I should see flower buds forming; however, I am happy to see any green leaves.

Thyme-less lawn

This spring may be different than what we think is the normal* spring, but I do want to remind you that Mother Nature has offered other mercurial springs over time. Last year, we had several “100-year rains.” Most of my plants made it through, but I lost several lavenders, some hens and chicks, and a few sages. The daffodils planted in that swamp were not especially happy and flowered less last year and this year.

In May of 2006, we had low overnight temperatures in the 30s which threatened the tomatoes and chilies in my vegetable gardens. Yes, those are newspaper hats.

And in 2009, we had freezing overnight temperatures (in the mid-20s) during the week of May 23rd.  You are looking at Remay fabric which is much easier to use than making 25 paper hats.

So my best advice is to wait, observe and mark the places where plants have disappeared. Then drive over to the Chadwick Plant Sale or to your favorite garden center and purchase replacements. This is where the old adage, “when you get lemons, make lemonade”, is very appropriate.

Wishing you a productive Spring!

P.S. – *normal is relative; happy to hear what you think is a normal spring.

Posted in Catch Us


Catch Us If You Can

Upcoming Talks and Stories for Heartland Gardening Bloggers


Heartland Gardening bloggers Deb Knapke, Teresa Woodard and Michael Leach recent met for a brainstorming session at Fox in the Snow café near downtown Columbus.

Heartland Gardening bloggers Debra Knapke, Teresa Woodard and Michael Leach recently met for a brainstorming session at Fox in the Snow café in Columbus.


The Heartland Gardening bloggers have a busy spring ahead.  Catch them at the following events and look for their stories in the following magazines:

Debra Knapke

  • Feb. 14: Debra will present two talks at the OEFFA conference in Granville — What is a Plant? and Polycultures and Garden Guilds.
  • Feb. 24: Debra will be speaking to the 2016 Delaware Master Gardener class about Annuals and Perennials.
  • March 5: Debra will be speaking on Sustainable Gardens at Wegerzyn Gardens in Dayton.
  • March 17: Debra will be traveling to Connecticut to present The Garden Aesthetic in a Time of Global Climate  Change at the UConn Sustainable Landscape Conference
  • March 19: Debra will be presenting at the Oakland Nursery Spring Fling.
  • April 8: Debra and her daughter, Sarah Arevalo, will be presenting Complementary Design: Embracing Inside and Out at LABash 2016 at The Ohio State University.
  • May 9: Debra will be presenting at the Gahanna Annual Herb Day
  • May 27: Debra will give a talk at Holden Arboretum for the Council of Botanical and Horticultural Libraries. Her topic is: Books, Botany and Horticulture– a Beautiful Combination.

Michael Leach

  • Feb. 20-28:  As the garden stage manager at the Columbus Home & Garden Show at the Ohio Expo Center, Michael Leach has recruited a speaker line-up who will cover everything from backyard beekeeping to growing your own vegetables.
  • Feb. 21, 11 a.m.: Michael will present “Healing Gardens” at the Columbus Home & Garden Show.
  • Spring issue:  Michael’s garden will be featured in the spring issue of Columbus Monthly’s Home & Garden.

Teresa Woodard


Michael’s Guest Blog on Gardening Know How

gardening know howCheck out Michael’s guest blog (January 20) at Gardening Know How and learn that it’s OK to sit down in the garden and let it nurture you.

Gardening Know How helps novice and seasoned gardeners discover easy ways of cultivating the passion of growing everything from houseplants to edibles. To date, the website has answered over 45,000 direct questions about gardening, and over 60 million people come to visit the site every year.

Leach portrait 2


Knapke at CENTS

KnapkeHeartland Gardening blogger Debra Knapke will be speaking next week at the CENTS (Central Environmental Nursery and Tradeshow),Logo_Cents


the Midwest’s largest green industry convention hosted by the Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Jan. 11-13.  She will present “The Garden Aesthetic” on Tuesday and “Edible Native Plants” on Wednesday.  She also will present “Garden Design Informed by Ecology & Place” at the pre-conference event — the P.L.A.N.T. Seminar hosted by the Perennial Plant Association and the Ohio State Master Gardener Volunteers. PLANT seminar


As a member of ONLA’s education committee, Debra says this year’s speaker line-up is exceptional thanks to the work of Lisa Larson, ONLA’s education director.  Speakers include book author Kerry Mendez, economist Charlie Hall, master plantsman Kelly Norris, Jeni Britton Bauer — founder of Jeni’s Ice Cream, Bill Hendricks of Klyn Nursery, Susan Weber of Integrity Sustainable Planning & Design, and a series of presentations from horticulturists from the country’s top public gardens.

CENTS (Central Environmental Nursery and Tradeshow) is an annual convention hosted by the  (ONLA). ONLA is a high-energy association where landscape, nursery, greenhouse, arbor, garden center, turf and pest management professionals can meet, learn, network, buy and sell the goods and services vital to their success.

Catch Us If You Can

Catch Debra at the 36th Annual conference of the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA). She will be offering a two hour workshop on Permaculture: Fitting It into the Context of Your Life. There is still space at this eclectic conference which is this weekend, February 14th and 15th in Granville, Ohio.  

Here is a description from OEFFA’s website:  “With almost 100 workshops to choose from throughout the weekend, OEFFA’s conference has something for everyone to love! Eighteen workshop tracks will be offered, covering everything from farm and garden basics, commercial production, food and farm policy, research, sustainable living, and much more!”  

The exhibition hall is filled with local producers of food, and items for the home, garden and farm.  And, wait, there’s more: for readers there is a bookstore.  Check it out!


Posted in Catch Us


Catch Us If You Can


bloggers pic

Debra Knapke:

On Saturday, tune the radio (WTVN in Columbus or WKRC in Cincinnati) to hear Deb Knapke on In the Garden with Ron WilsonOSU ring She’ll be sharing ideas for planting scarlet and gray gardens in celebration of The Ohio State University’s football championship. Will it be Red Riding Hood tulip and red fernleaf peony with White Nancy lamium?  Maybe royal catchfly and Little Devil ninebark with Silver Brocade Artemisia.  Of perhaps for fall, Fire Spire American hornbeam and lavender and deep red snapdragons. And, of course a red buckeye,too. Go Deb, and go Bucks!!

Michael Leach:

garden show logoMichael Leach is pulling together a stellar line-up of speakers and programs for The Columbus Dispatch Home & Garden Show at the Ohio Expo Center .  For the past several years he has brought in a range of experts to help visitors gain a better understanding of the world of home gardening and landscaping. Educational programs range from sustainable landscaping to fairy gardens. He and Fred Hower, The Ohio Nurseryman, will be leading tours of the show gardens to discuss landscape design basics. The show opens Valentine’s Day and runs through Feb. 22.

Teresa Woodard

Check out Teresa Woodard’s latest article in the newest issue of Country Gardens MagazineCountry gardens 15She shares a story on Tom and Carol Plank’s enchanting conifer garden near German Village and a how-to for growing miniature conifers in containers.  She’s also helping Ohio Master Gardener Volunteers share their stories — from harvesting a vegetable garden at a juvenile detention center to  new landscaping for a human trafficking rescue house.  See the stories on the Ohio Master Gardener’s new website.




Catch Us If You Can

cents showThis week, Columbus hosts one of the country’s biggest Landscape Industry Trade Shows — CENTS 2015 — on January 7-9th.  Debra Knapke will be presenting on two topics: Edible Ornamentals and Complementary Design: Embracing Nature Inside and Out.  In the second one, she will share the stage with her daughter, Sarah Arevalo, an interior designer with Trinity Group in Westerville.  Debra and Sarah will be weaving together the interior landscape and exterior landscape.  For more information on registration and other presentations, check out the Ohio Nursery and Landscape Association’s (ONLA) conference website.      OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Catch Us If You Can

conference logoDebra Knapke will be talking about “Biophilia: Understanding Why We Garden ” as the morning keynote speaker at this weekend’s Ohio Master Gardener State Conference at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio.

Why do we garden? Ask doctors, and they’ll point to the health benefits. Ask some authors, and they’ll pull out their books on gardening’s spiritual, meditative and stress-relieving benefits. Flip through gardening magazines, and these beautiful outdoor spaces are undeniably a powerful source of creativity and entertainment. Debra was intrigued by the question and has been investigating this biophilia or “affinity with nature and love of living things” as first defined by E.O. Wilson in 1984. She’ll share her findings and how they relate to our work as gardening educators.

Teresa will be working behind the scenes at the event as a member of the conference planning committee.

Catch Us If You Can

Bloggers Debra Knapke and Michael Leach are TV stars, this month.  On Fox 28’s Good Day Columbus, Debra Knapke highlighted edibles at the Heritage Gardens at the Ohio Governor’s Residence.  On another day, Michael appeared on the show to share tips on how to get a jump-start on spring gardening.  Check out his tips on planting spring bulbs, transplanting houseplants, and growing pansies and fall asters.

In the newly released fall issue of Edible Columbus, Debra writes about “Ohio Squash”  and shares tips for cool-season veggies in “What to Plant & Harvest”.  Teresa Woodard also contributes a feature, “Pumpkin Envy”, on Roger Kline who grows award-winning edible heirloom pumpkins.




Catch Us If You Can

bloggers picThis summer’s been a busy one for Heartland Gardening bloggers.  Congratulations to Debra — named the honorary president of the Herb Society of America for 2014-16!  She just returned from the Perennial Plant Symposium in Cincinnati where she saw a lot of new perennials and brought a new perennial sage home to plant in the garden.

This month, Michael and Teresa have been hawking the 2014 Parade of Homes with articles in the BIA Planbook and Columbus Monthly Home & Gardens. This year’s tour in Delaware County was an impressive one with several million-dollar homes.

The three bloggers also participated in the Cultivate 2014, a leading horticulture industry trade show at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.  The trio attended insider sessions and scouted the trade show for gardening ideas to share here.  Michael and Debra represented Garden Writers Association (GWA) on the trade show floor, and Teresa served on a social media panel with other GWA members.

The bloggers also are busy in their backyards trialing new plants, products and techniques to share with readers.  Teresa’s delighted to achieve success in growing heirloom tomatoes and find her heirloom Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate has self-sown from last year’s purchased plant. Debra has been entranced with the blooms of two day lilies from Walter’s Gardens:  ‘Midnight Raider’ and ‘Mighty Chestnut’.  ‘Lava Lamp’ Heuchera has been a winner, too, with its dusky burgundy leaves.  With her latest lavender – ‘Platinum Blonde’ –  a trial from  Creek Hill Nursery, she can now say she has three beautiful “blondes” in the garden.  Michael’s enjoying “the generally cool, moist (sometimes soggy) weather pattern that has persisted since May, instead of the typical dry to drought  we normally have.”  He’s thankful lawns are April green and flowers are lingering for weeks. “Is this my part of the Midwest or a dream?,” he says.

In the August issue of Country Living  published by electric cooperatives in Ohio and West Virginia, Michael has an article focusing on how hospitals are using healing gardens to help patients. Teresa’s been producing magazine stories for 2015.  Check out her latest stories in the current issues of Country Gardens (“50 years and Counting”), Ohio Gardener (“Annual Attraction”) and Columbus Monthly Home & Garden (“Within the Garden Walls”).

Finally, our blog is being featured this summer in the Columbus Dispatch Real Estate section (print and online versions).  Check out recent posts on dry shade gardening and fall veggies.



Posted in Catch Us


Garden Topics

%d bloggers like this: