Louisville Nature Center Sensory Garden Summary for 2016

The LNC Sensory Garden flourished in 2016.  Never have we had such robust plants and so many plant volunteers emerge from the rich soil.  We never would have dreamed that this garden would be so lush and inviting in just a few short years!

We always start out our new year with a planning meeting where we go over our goals and wishes for the garden.  Our main goal for 2016 was to create a frog pond so that we could attract more amphibians to the garden.  Digging the pond turned out to be very difficult due to the soil which contained a lot of gravel and rocks.  We even found a few large cobblestones that looked like they could have been used for a foundation to a building. Digging took several months of hard labor, mainly provided by MG Gary Michael. This project has been very educational for all of us.  To our disappointment we only had a few tadpoles this year due to our late start.  We hope that 2017 will be the year of many!  We also had three small turtles (we assume someone released them into the pond), and dragonfly larvae (who knew that the larvae looks like crawfish?) who both eat frog eggs and tadpoles!  We got lots of plants donated for the pond to make it more appealing to the creatures.  We look forward to 2017 when an Eagle Scout will finish a cedar fence that will surround the pond.

In April the Master Gardeners and other LNC volunteers participated in the Mayor’s Day of Giving by mulching the SG. This is always a large task so the help from the public was appreciated!  The soil in the garden is very rich in nutrients now due to the mulching each year.

Every spring we invite the Dreams with Wings folks to come and plant one of our raised beds with annuals.  We always choose annuals for their bright colors, scents, and textures. This is a very fun program enjoyed by all. The other raised bed is planted with tomatoes and other veggies, many of which were enjoyed by the deer and raccoons!

This year LNC participated in the Louisville Free Public Library’s Cultural Pass Program which meant hundreds of visitors for the Sensory Garden.  LNC participated by offering youths a chance to go on a scavenger hunt and receive prizes.  The names were then entered in an August drawing for a free family membership to LNC.

In the summer LNC had a butterfly release in the Sensory Garden where many participants were able to tag and release a Monarch butterfly.  The SG has always had many species of butterflies including the Monarch, American Painted Lady, Clouded Sulphur, many types of Swallowtail, Red Spotted Purple, and more.  Zebra Swallowtail caterpillars were found on the Pawpaw trees in the garden.  Three Pawpaws were planted in 2015. Sadly, drought conditions in 2016 meant hand watering the trees.  We then had trouble with some deer who decided they liked the foliage.  We are guessing that no one told them that they weren’t supposed to like Pawpaw leaves!  It all paid off with a Zebra Swallowtail, or more, laying eggs on the trees this year.  This butterfly is an uncommon breeder in the Metro area because they lay eggs on Pawpaw, an uncommon urban tree.  Once eggs hatched, the caterpillars were monitored.  The LNC staff gave MG Gary Michael four to rear at home, which were raised to the butterfly stage and released in the Sensory Garden.

Gary also nurtured an injured pupa monarch that was saved after it fell into the concrete pond at the SG.  He took it home and placed it in his cool basement and increased the humidity.  The pupa had a gash so Gary covered the gash with a bandage gauze and then attached tape over the gauze.  He used extra tape to secure the pupa inside the hatchery.  The bandage and tape prevented further desiccation at the wound.  The pupa insect naturally moves and vibrates a bit, so the extra tape was used to keep the gauze from being rolled off.  The butterfly emerged and was released on a butterfly bush after a few meals of orange Gatorade!

We continued our task of labeling plants in the garden so that they can be easily identified.

The summer at the SG is always a busy time with many visitors enjoying its beauty and serenity.  There are neighbors who visit every day, out of town visitors on vacations, children on a field trip at camp, mothers and dads with little ones in tow, all enjoying this beautiful space.

The late summer, early fall, brings on a multitude of students and teachers from the LNC camps. They are looking for that special leaf, or that flower that still has gorgeous bright colors, or the herb that has a fragrance enjoyed by all.  This garden is like an open book that draws you in to enjoy its many layers of beauty and wondrous creatures!

We don’t rest in the fall since there are still jobs that need to be done to put the garden down for its nice long nap.  The raised beds are cleaned out of all the veggies and annuals to help prevent disease from rotting plants.  The banana trees were cut back and mulched over to protect them from the freezing winter temperatures. The seeds on most of the plants are left for the overwintering birds in the garden.

In November the Sensory Garden Group presented a program on Caring for Trees in conjunction with the LNC Free Tree Giveaway.  The many trees offered in the giveaway were described so that the attendees could choose the right trees for their yards.  This program will be repeated again in the spring of 2017.

Many thanks to the Sensory Garden Group for making this garden a fun educational venue for its many visitors.  We are lucky to be able to work in this beautiful setting and talk with the many folks from the community, answering gardening questions, and showing off our little gem of a garden!

So, come sit a spell, relax, and enjoy the many sights, sounds, and fragrances that the Louisville Nature Center Sensory Garden has to offer!

Submitted by Janie Kanzler

Herbology at Hogwarts

At the Main Library on July 30 from 8pm till midnight, Master Gardeners Molly Brewer and Patti Van Cleave were Professors Molicanthus and Philodendra Fluxweed. They are not in the books or movies. They teach Herbology at Hogwarts and were sent to America to help teach Herbology at Ilvermornay, the North American School of Witches and Wizardry. They conducted 4 sessions of "Herbology at Hogwarts" and 4 sessions of "How to Plant a Hogwarts Garden" during that 4-hour time period.

Those attending the presentations put their contact info in Molly's cauldron. At midnight a name was drawn as the winner of the Baby Mandrake. The lucky winner lives in St Matthews. The Baby was delivered to her house.

Sample garden ornaments for the Hogwarts Garden were made by Patti's and Molly's family members.

Part of planting that type of garden is to sprinkle magic dust over the garden. Molly made 120 packets of magic dust (a mix of black sand and sparkles) for those attending the Garden presentation. Instructions were given on how to take a soil sample using soil sample bags from the Jefferson County Extension Service.

There were 201 attendees for the sessions, organized through the collaboration between LFPL and the JCMGA Community Education Committee.  The library counted more than 2000 people of all ages who attended the Harry Potter Book Reveal Party.  Nearly everyone was in costume for the costume contest. The beautiful, recently cleaned library was decorated to look like the Harry Potter books and movies. A good time was had by all!

Photos from the Lessons Learned-Monarch Waystation Tours

JCMGA Provides Good Gardening Advice at the 2016 Louisville Home, Garden and Remodeling Show

Jefferson Conunty Master Gardeners at the Louisville Home and Garden Show
From Master Gardener Marsha Flores.

The Louisville Home, Garden and Remodeling Show on March 18-20, 2016 at the KY Expo Center was a huge success. The JCMGA and the JCES were showcased as great community resources for gardening information and websites and other resources were provided. We had 453 people stop by the Tip Table to ask questions and pick up UK Publications regarding topics of interest. We also fielded questions about utilizing JCES as a resource for soil sample testing, provided information how to plant a tree and answered an array of other gardening questions.

Flyers were provided to promote JCMGA's Arbor Day Tree Give-a-way on April 9th, and Gardenaganza on April 24th. Lowe’s donated 2015 vegetable and flower seed packets to Master Gardener Eileen Schweinhart and those seed packets were donated to interested visitors to the Tip Table. People were interested in how to become a Master Gardener, how to attract butterflies and pollinators to their backyard, how to grow tomatoes, how and when to plant vegetables and how best to prune trees and shrubs.

Many thanks to Master Gardeners Cindy Ludden, Mary Jane Emrich, Allison Foster, Kathy Morris, Alice Redmon, Herman Wyssbrod, Janie Kanzler, Linda Guss, Cindy Collins George, Patty Hampton, Jan Eastburn, Ellen Carrithers, Marsha Flores and 2015 Master Gardener interns, Rhonda Niemi and Kris Burke who volunteered to work at the Tip Table. Many thanks to Jeanenne Fizer and David Flores for their help to set up and take down the booth. The JCMGA signage and tablecloth were awesome additions in attracting people to our booth and getting our name out to the public. It was a great experience!

Jefferson Conunty Master Gardeners at the Louisville Home and Garden Show 2

Legacy Bricks at the Louisville Nature Center Sensory Garden

Louisville Nature Center Sensory Garden
The Louisville Nature Center (LNC) along with the Jefferson County Master Gardener Association (JCMGA) are selling LEGACY BRICKS to raise funds for LNC, JCMGA and maintenance of the Sensory Garden. The Sensory Garden is specially designed to be accessible and enjoyable for all visitors, including those with physical challenges. It provides a variety sensory opportunities.

A Legacy Brick is a perfect way to acknowledge a special person, family or group, or create a memory for someone who is no longer with you. Stop by our Sensory Garden at the LNC and see what a lovely tribute you'd be making with the purchase of these bricks (3745 Illinois Ave, Louisville, Ky. 40213).

The cost of the bricks are $100.00 each, and each brick will include up to three lines of engraving with 15 characters per line. The Bricks will be installed in the spring of 2016. To order your Legacy Bricks visit the Louisville Nature Center's website.
Louisville Nature Center Sensory Garden Memorial Bricks

In The Garden Series, Community Education

June Sandercock's In the Garden Event 3
From Master Gardener June Sandercock

Last year the JCMGA Community Education Committee provided programs to organizations throughout the Metro area, including, among others, the Louisville Metro Library’s How-To Festival in May, KIPDA’s Child Care Provider Certification Training, and the Louisville Nature Center’s late winter gardening series.

Our crowning achievement in 2015 was the development of the new "In The Garden" (ITG) series. Building on the concept developed for the Lessons Learned garden tours, ITG provides horticultural and urban agricultural programming taught by master gardeners in their own backyards.

In this unique series, participants learn first-hand from a gardener’s experience, skill and knowledge, and leave the program more easily able to begin a new gardening project or enhance an existing space. Thanks to our ITG guinea pigs: Trilba Smith for showing us how to incorporate edibles into existing ornamental beds and borders, Peggy Campbell for discussing ways to transition from a higher to lower maintenance horticultural landscape, and to June Sandercock for helping gardeners to understand and appreciate the value of evaluating a landscape in the Fall and providing tips for how to improve their garden spaces.

Trilba Veggie Garden

Ralph Archer Woodland Gardens at Whitehall Mansion

Ralph Archer (the namesake for Whitehall's Woodland Garden) chatting with Richie Steffen and JCMGA members

Ralph Archer (the namesake for Whitehall's Woodland Garden) chatting with Richie Steffen and JCMGA members

From Master Gardener Cheri Casey. Photos from Master Gardener Rick Harned.

Most Monday mornings March through October, you will see a faithful band of Master Gardeners along with Whitehall's Landscape Director, Mike Hayman, in the Ralph Archer Woodland Garden. (The garden is located at 3110 Lexington Rd, Louisville, KY 40206.)

Some years we are lucky to add new Master Gardeners to the team. We welcomed our newest member Brenda Townes, who has proven to be an enthusiastic team member. This group has worked to cultivate and develop one of the region's premier shade gardens since Ralph Archer began the project in 2002. Visit Whitehall's website for detailed photos of the garden.

Each year new and rare varieties of plants, shrubs and trees are added to the area thanks to connections with cutting-edge people in the trade. A BIG THANKS to JCMGA for providing the funds to purchase more plant tags in our ever-expanding collection, and for supporting this year's speaker, Richie Steffen. Mr. Steffen, President of the Hardy Fern Foundation, held a June workshop at Whitehall with 50 in attendance from the region. We learned a great deal, not only about ferns, but other shade loving plants.

Richie Steffen leading a tour through Whitehall's Woodland Garden

Richie Steffen leading a tour through Whitehall's Woodland Garden

Ralph Archer and Richie Steffen at the Woodland Garden

Ralph Archer and Richie Steffen at the Woodland Garden

Education about these plants is part of our mission. This world-class garden has been toured not only by local garden groups, but national and British touring garden enthusiasts. Every other year the Master Gardeners, along with Whitehall staff, plan an event featuring national speakers from all over the US.

Our favorite team member and Master Gardener, Ralph Archer, is now able to show up periodically to survey his garden. We're so happy to have Ralph Archer feeling better and coming more often – he is a delight to us all!

Paul Posten Garden at St. WIlliams Apartments

Rosetta Paul Poten Garden
From Master Gardener Rosetta Fackler.

Great news from the Paul Posten Garden!

It was a banner year for the gardeners. Early spring crops were bountiful: peas, lettuce, and lots of leafy greens and cole crops. This year the black raspberries, red raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries were fantastic. Tomatoes quickly overtook the beds. Sweet potatoes provided Mr. Henry with makings for his famous sweet potato pie, which is always anticipated with forks ready.

Next spring we are looking forward to maybe getting sweet cherries from the trees we planted last spring. We all look forward to the day the apple and peach trees start producing, too. We collaborated with Shawnee Academy to have some pictures that represent the people, activities, and produce from the garden painted on the fence.

Through the generosity of JCMGA we were able to purchase some flowering shrubs, bulbs and grasses to add winter and spring beauty to the garden. The gardeners and I are very grateful for this support. The gardeners hosted two groups, one from the national convention of NeighborWorks America and another from Nicaragua. Both groups were interested in how the veggies were distributed and were impressed that anyone who is hungry can get food from the garden. For me, every visit is a delightful opportunity to share information, laughter and the joy of seeing how much the gardeners care for the garden and one another.

Paul Posten Gardens


Sensory Garden at the Louisville Nature Center

Sensory Garden 2

From Master Gardeners Janie Kanzler and Marsha Flores. The Sensory Garden is located in front of the Louisville Nature Center at 3745 Illinois Ave, Louisville, KY 40213.

Janie Kanzler:
The Sensory Garden at the Louisville Nature Center (LNC) has been put to bed for the winter. There was a lot of activity there again this year. Our MG volunteers, along with some LNC volunteers, kept the garden in shape for the many visitors who came by to see what was growing, and to enjoy the many varieties of native and non-native plants.

The garden is used for many educational outings with school children. Some of the MG educational events were the gardening programs with the clients from Dreams with Wings and Day Spring. These programs are always so much fun for the volunteers as well as the clients. There was also a “Backyards for Butterflies” presentation that was enjoyed by all ages. Live Monarch butterflies were released in the Sensory Garden and a presentation of the many plants that they and other butterflies need for existence was discussed. The garden is used by many folks who live in the neighborhood, out of town visitors, Boy and Girl Scouts, and many other groups.

This year several bought a memorial brick that was placed in the Memorial Round in the garden. A sun dial was donated by a LNC board member, a kiosk was built & installed by LNC volunteers, and a peace pole was painted and installed by MGs. Many plants were added including 3 Pawpaw trees, several varieties of native grasses, 3 butterfly bushes, alliums, and more.

The Sensory Garden Group is looking forward to 2016 and all the many joys that the Sensory Garden brings to everyone who visits!

Marsha Flores:
LNC is a unique learning lab here in the city. The Sensory Garden at the LNC is a gorgeous and peaceful place and has been a haven for me. For years, Janie Kanzler has encouraged me to become a MG, and I can't think of a better fit than having the new MG classes held at LNC and then having the hands-on experience at the Sensory Garden!

When I started my MG class last February, the pond was icy and the garden covered in snow! Once awakened, we shared the life cycle space with beautiful butterflies, birds, bees, a variety of big and little critters, and an abundance of varied plant material!

Janie Kanzler and Linda Guss have been great mentors. They have always been there to answer questions and give me guidance. Gary Michael has been there to add his energy and knowledge as well. I have met such wonderful and super knowledgeable people and have experienced so much first-hand learning.

The raised annual bed was planted with the help of Dreams with Wings clients and MGs. The raised vegetable bed was planted with the help of Day Spring clients and MGs. The Backyards for Butterflies program with the Monarch butterfly release was an awesome event at LNC and Sensory Garden with MGs, Gary, Janie, and MG interns, Sally Cramer, Kris Burke and myself! It has been great working with MGs and MG interns and the volunteers since March 2015. Many thanks to Kathy Morris, MG and LNC Director, who has encouraged and applauded our efforts, has helped with our projects and secured volunteers! I am really looking forward to next spring!

LNC Sensory Garden

Sensory Garden

Woodland Garden Tour

Ralph Archer
Whitehall's Woodland Garden designer, Ralph Archer, gave a talk and tour of one of Louisville's horticultural jewels. Nationally recognized for its collection of ferns and woodland plants, this shade garden serves as an educational inspiration for both expert and novice gardeners.

MGs at Woodland Garden 9.2014