Where are the monarch butterflies?

Detroit Free Press:

Look closely outside. Something’s missing. Something orange, black, white and fluttery.

Monarch butterflies, once a ubiquitous spring and summer presence throughout Michigan, are yet again a rare sighting this year.

It’s the result of two factors: An ongoing crash in the migratory monarch’s populations due to the loss of habitat — particularly milkweed — and Michigan’s long, cold winter causing many returning butterflies to hang farther south or to arrive much later than usual.

“It’s really a big difference. It’s a tragedy,” said Diane Pruden, a Milford Township resident who serves as a citizen researcher for Monarch Watch, a nonprofit education, conservation and research program based at the University of Kansas.

Read the rest of the story here…

‘The Mackinac Grand’ named the 2014 Peony of the Year

peony-the-mackinac-grand-jul-14The American Peony Society has selected the peony ‘The Mackinac Grand’ to receive the APS Gold Medal Award and to be the 2014 Peony of the Year.

‘The Mackinac Grand’ was originated by David L. Reath in 1992. Blooming early to midseason, this medium-sized plant has warm red, semi-double and ruffled blooms. On sunny days, the flowers exhibit a gamut of red, from deep shades in the shadows to fiery red highlights and the sparkle of sunlight from the petal’s gloss. From afar, the color has great carrying power and always attracts attention. The bush itself has an open, somewhat spreading habit, with strong, rigid stalks. ‘The Mackinac Grand’ is a strong grower and reliable bloomer; performance improves with age and stem increase.

Shelby Township Gardeners Club hosts garden walk

The Shelby Gardeners Club organizes and hosts a garden walk every two years. The 2014 garden walk is on July 19, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. It features six residential gardens, as well as the public Heritage Gardens on the township’s municipal grounds, and the Shadbush Teaching Gardens.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Shelby Township Library or the Shelby Township Parks & Recreation Office for $10, or $12 on the day of the walk at Heritage Gardens and the Library. The location of the residential gardens included in the walk are printed on the tickets. For further information, contact Sue at 586-726-7529.

Hidden Lake Gardens renovates tropical dome

The tropical house under renovation at Hidden Lake Gardens in Tipton, MI. (Photo courtesy Hidden Lake Gardens)

The tropical house under renovation at Hidden Lake Gardens in Tipton, MI. (Photo: Hidden Lake Gardens)

Hidden Lake Gardens is excited to announce that their tropical dome is being renovated this summer. The Date Palm tree and the Fan Palm tree have out grown the space and are threatening to compromise the dome structure and they must be removed. Though they are sad to say goodbye to these old friends, their removal provides a unique opportunity for other improvements to the facility.

Hidden Lake has created a plan for retaining some of the key plants while adding new plantings with more color and flowers along with a water feature, upgraded electrical, lights, plumbing, and painting. Additionally they will be making repairs to the outside sandstone walls and addressing water drainage. The end result will be a new, exciting and fresh tropical environment for visitors to the gardens.

The Tropical Dome is now closed and the refreshed Tropical environment will reopen later this summer. The Arid Dome, Temperate House and the Bonsai Collection at the Conservatory, as well as all gardens at Hidden Lake, will continue to be open to the public during this process.

Look up for power lines when planting trees

topped-spruce-jun-14

Does anything look odd about these trees planted under the power lines? We drove past right after a tree crew removed the top third of each of them. This example serves as a reminder to always keep power lines and the mature size of a tree in mind before planting.