July 2010

 President's Message

The Board and I want to thank all of our volunteers; they are the ones who make our city gardens so beautiful.  We have over 250 volunteers who invest approximately 6000 hours a year working with UCB in many ways.  If you would like to join our volunteer base please call Mary Ann Shaw, 314-727-3587 or Betsy Sweeney, 314-725-6055.  There are a few big projects coming up and we need your help.  As we are a volunteer based organization, your time, effort, and donations are our most valuable assets.  We can't thank you often enough.

Festival U. City, Saturday June 19 in Heman Park was a terrific event and UCB was there, hope you were, too.  Great food, wonderful music, talented artists, amazing art projects and other fun things to do made it a great afternoon.

If you missed it this time, make it a 'must' for next year.

Judy Prange

See you at the Community Flea Market at Centennial Commons on Saturday, September 25th. Watch for this Community event. It will be a great opportunity for lots of U. City neighborhood organizations and community groups. UCB will be there for "Day 1" of our annual Bulb Sale!

Our usual October Bulb Sale date in the Loop will be on Saturday, October 9. 

                                               Thanks to our donors

Thanks to all who contributed in response to the April, 2010 newsletter.  The money will go directly to support the ongoing work in our public gardens: to plants and tools, seeding and pruning and watering - all the supplies and activities needed to keep U. City blooming.


A contribution was received in honor of Esley Hamilton



UCB's 2010 Perennial Plant Sale was a huge success. On April 24-25, the University City Community Center in Heman Park was packed with enthusiastic gardeners, seeking both plants and expert advice. More than 4,000 plants were sold. This is our most important fundraiser of the year, and we're proud and grateful to report that net proceeds were $17,450, which we will use to keep our gardens, flower beds and planters blooming and beautify U. City.


Congratulations to Linda Fried, Plant Sale chair, and all of the volunteers who gave so many hours and worked so hard. An impromptu picnic to thank all of the volunteers was held on

 May 7.  We were, of course, rained out at the last minute. Thanks to Tom McCarthy for letting us quickly relocate to a meeting room at Centennial Commons.


We have already started working on Perennial Plant Sale, 2011. We will be looking for more plant donors for perennials and shrubs that were in demand at the sale. We plan to offer more culinary herbs as well as some vegetables at next year's sale.


An extensive 'wish list' has been developed for the plants we would like to offer in more depth at the 2011 sale. We will be following up the e-newsletter with a Plant Sale e-blast providing more details including how to mark any of these plants you might have to donate so that they can be relocated to Vernon in the fall or donated in the spring. We will be encouraging fall plant donations so they can be wintered over on Vernon


During the year, you will be receiving more e-blasts about ongoing efforts for the Plant Sale.

Plant sale.
plant sale 2010


Garlic mustard: Here, there and everywhere

Local gardeners face a rapacious and stubborn invader. Garlic mustard is a noxious invasive weed that poses a severe threat to native plants and animals in forest communities. In the heartland, it has spread as far west as Kansas and all the way north to Canada.
Some horticulturists have even warned it threatens to become the kudzu of the Midwest.
Garlic mustard comes from Europe and has no natural enemies in America. Our insects and animals won't eat it, disliking its smell. Once introduced to an area, garlic mustard out-competes native plants by aggressively monopolizing light, moisture, nutrients, soil and space. It devastates more desirable plants like bloodroot, wild ginger and Dutchman's breeches. Garlic mustard is a cool season, non-culinary biennial herb in the mustard family (Brassicaceae). It is competitive in a wide range of soils, sun, shade and moisture.
One plant can produce 100 or more seeds. the plant grows to about 3 feet tall. The small, white 4-petaled flowers appear in early spring and seed production soon follows.Seedlings develop into basal rosettes by mid summer. The plants overwinter as a basal rosette with kidney-shaped leaves. When the plants bolt in early spring, the mature leaves are triangular, becoming smaller toward the top of the plant. In early spring the roots and new leaves smell like garlic. Each plant usually produces one flowering stem. If a plant is cut or stepped on, many stems will form. Roots typically have a characteristic s-shaped bend that helps the plant hold on to the soil even on steep slopes with loose soil.
Linda Fried reports that she has picked up the plant by the river behind the field hockey field close to the natatorium. She's also spotted it by the river at the Vernon nursery. Linda says, "I look for it wherever I am, but have seen no more...but it's out there."
Control and Management:
Mechanical - Hand removal of entire root system of plant is practical for light infestations. For larger infestations cut stems at ground level or within several inches of the ground, to prevent seed production.
Chemical - Herbicide may be applied for very heavy infestations. Fire can be used but can encourage germination of stored seeds and promote growth of emerging garlic mustard seedlings.


Watch for the Fall Bulb Sale on Sept. 25 at the U. City Community Flea Market and Yard Sale being held at Centennial Commons! We will also be in the Loop on Saturday, October 9th for the 2nd day of the Bulb Sale. 


Horticulture News              


We dedicate this column to our community gardeners. University City is full of gardeners with varying degrees of interest and passion for their gardens, no matter what the size. We recognize it's not necessary to be a professional landscaper or horticultural expert to have a lovely or edible garden. Our goal is to be a resource of information and experience. Just ask lots of questions and get your hands dirty!


Summer in the Garden: We've had a wet spring and early summer so far! Along with all that rainfall, there are a few extra challenges for the gardener.


Weeds - The squirrels have been very busy burying acorns this year. Thanks to all the rain, the acorns have all germinated! Susan White and many other gardeners report spending their weeding time pulling the seedlings!!


Insects & Infestations:


 Japanese beetles are definitely out & chewing. In case you're not entirely familiar with this enemy, the Japanese beetle is the most widespread turf-grass pest in the United States. It has no natural enemies in this country. In addition to being a turf-grass plague, the adult Japanese beetle is a pervasive foliage pest.


Adults feed in frenzy on the foliage of ornamentals. The grubs develop in the soil, feeding on the roots of various plants and grasses. They are as destructive as grubs as they are as adult beetles.


The UCB horticulture team is not using bags this year. We have extensive flower beds in which we need to control this pest and have found that the bags were difficult to cope with in large areas. The bags were unpleasant to dispose of and they did not appear to decrease beetles in heavily infested areas.


Two years ago in an attempt to destroy the grubs, the UCB team put down a grid of milky spore on the rose islands as an alternative to the bags. Mary Ann reports that the results are not especially impressive. It is a very slow process with no guarantee of extensive control. The team has recently tried Pyola (Pyrethrum) but found that, too, is only effective for a few days.


Even chemical sprays (which UCB does not use in our beds) used on areas of heavy infestation are only effective for a few days and need to be repeated as long as the beetles continue their cycle of feeding.


Having done battle for years with the Japanese beetle in its grub and adult stages, Mary Ann has developed a philosophical perspective. The beetles create an unsightly appearance while they feast on roses, hibiscus and other ornamentals and shrubs but do not cause permanent damage to the plant. This pest is out in force relatively early in the growing season and is gone in about six weeks - which is not the case with some insect infestations. Fortunately, we have a good long growing season for plants to recover, heal and look good again.


 The real hope for a truly successful means of control rests with researchers working on new products to create a natural enemy for the Japanese beetle. Until then, Mary Ann suggests we just try to hold down the damage in heavily invested areas and wait for this obnoxious pest to run its course for the summer.

Flea Beetles -  It's important to remember that there are many beetles that plague the garden. Flea
beetles are common pests of many vegetable crops. They occasionally damage flowers, shrubs, and even trees.Adult beetles, which produce most plant injuries, are typically small, often shiny, and have large rear legs that allow them to jump like a flea when disturbed.Flea beetles produce a characteristic injury known as "shotholing."  The damage looks like small holes or pits in the leaves.  We are recommending neem oil as an insecticide to combat this pest.
garlic mustard
garlic mustard


ED Report


UCB never runs short on ways for you to get involved with "hands on" volunteer opportunities. We have three new projects that will need help from extra hands.


Fire House


The cleanup and beautification of the fire house on Shaftsbury and North & South is a collaborative effort shared by the city of University City, UCB and the River Des Peres Watershed coalition. Our goal is to create a new, inviting landscape around the fire house as well as creating a more park like area along the River Des Peres. We will be using primarily native shrubs, trees and perennials.


We are currently involved in the first stage - clean up!! That involves clean out of honeysuckle grapevine and other invasive exotics covering existing trees and much of the south side of the firehouse grounds. We need more hands to help with this phase of work. Please contact Linda Fried @ lindafriedster@gmail.com for more details if you can help with this project.


Barbara Jordan Elementary School


The new garden to be installed at the Barbara Jordan Elementary School on 82nd St. will be spectacular. The new building is being erected on the site of the original school. It will be a LEED certified building and is scheduled to be opened for the 2011-2012 school year.


Landscaping for the new school grounds will include hundreds of Missouri native trees, shrubs and grasses as well as three landscaped rain gardens. Installation of plants will begin late winter 2011. By spring, the plants will require an organized watering team to ensure a successful establishment. We will keep you posted on the progress of this garden and will send out a special call for volunteers to help care for this ambitious new garden that will showcase our "state of the art" new elementary school campus. Contact Betsy Sweeney @ sweenerd@sbcglobal.net or Mary Ann Shaw @ mashaw5@sbcglobal.net if you are able to help.


Bird Sanctuary at Centennial Commons


This is a double opportunity for the "birders" amongst you! The summer and fall of 2010 is the 1st year of planting for this project. We are still very much involved in the 'heavy lifting' clean up of the site that is necessary before we can start planting. We will be installing Nyssa (black gum), Viburnum rufidulum (rusty black haw), Ribes odoratum (golden currant), Sporabolus heterolepsis (prairie dropseed), rudbeckia, liatris, carex, and Amsonia hubrichtii. Contact Mary Ann Shaw @ mashaw5@sbcglobal.netif you are able to help with the 1st stage of planting.


"Birders" who want to be involved with the full development of this Bird Sanctuary, the only one in our community, please contact Tom McCarthy @ tmccarthy@ucitymo.org.

Mary Ann Shaw

Harriet Woods Civic Plaza

 Hort news cont'd

Oak Galls (typically horned oak gall) - This summer, literally millions of oak galls have been noticed all over the pin oaks. Norma Schechter, UCB's in-house arborist, reports that they are definitely heavier this year which is typical of their cyclical nature. Some years are heavier than others.
The infection happened in early spring when tiny non-stinging wasp laid eggs in tender emerging twigs. The tree's reaction to this irritation was the production of the swollen tissue called a gall. The squirrels have been helping and they have been busy. They have been eating and pull off twigs that now litter the ground. The larva inside the galls have not pupated and hatched yet. We can't do anything about this year's problem, but cleaning up and disposing of the fallen galls will help control next year's problem. Raking them up is the only real treatment known.
A tree that is struggling to survive will be further weakened by a heavy crop of galls. A healthy tree will not be seriously affected.
The good news is that there are other insects that are predators for this pest and they will have lots to feed on! The predator population will explode causing the horned gall insect to decline in numbers (cycle of nature). Norma advises that you sit back and look the other way if possible (the galls are ugly!).
Clematis wilt - Clematis wilt seems to be bad this year. The only effective way to deal with clematis wilt is to cut the plant back low to the ground and keep it from spreading further in the plant and jumping to any other clematis close by. The clematis will grow back. Be sure to clean your pruners (keep a canister of Wet Ones with your tools) after cutting back fungus infected foliage so it's not spread. 
Shrubs and Plants looking 'leggy' - UCB's team has been cutting back by 1/2 goldenrod, asters, & hibiscus. It strengthens the stems but delays bloom time. Otherwise they get too leggy. It should only delay blooming by a couple of weeks
 Watering - Don't be fooled by all of the showers we had earlier this spring! The summer's heat is with us.  Purchase a rain gauge (an inexpensive one will do the job) to see how much rain we actually got. You should water and have at least the equivalent of 1 inch of water in a week's time. 
This applies to your vegetable gardens as well. The plants should never dry out completely. 
Helpful reading for vegetable gardeners recommended by Ted Slegesky - 'Carrots Love Tomatoes': secrets of companion planting for successful gardening by Louise Riotti
Send us special concerns about starting new flower beds in the fall or garden clean up suggested time-lines. 
Have more questions or observations about what's going on in your garden?  Please send us an email!  We will be sending out regular E-newsletters and would love to feature the answers to your questions and concerns.  
Please submit them to: ucityinbloom@gmail.com along with your name and address so that you can receive the annual hardcopy newsletter. U City in Bloom never sells or shares its email list with anyone and will not send you junk mail.

Japanese beetle
japanese beetle


The Lion & The Rose

Editor: Helen Fuller

Contributing Writers: David Linzee,

Susan White, Mary Ann Shaw and Norma Schechter

Consultants: Claire Linzee & Ted Slegesky


Volunteer Your Time  

Contact Information

for Job opportunities!


In the Gardens:

Mary Ann Shaw - mashaw5@sbcglobal.net

Betsy Sweeny - sweenerd@sbcglobal.net


The planting and growing seasons are the most labor intensive times for UCB. We need your help working in the 150 flower beds we have created.


Special Project:

We need help this summer cleaning up and planting the area around the fire house on Shaftsbury and North & South. "Tidying" and beautifying that location is a UCB joint project with the River des Peres Watershed Coalition for the America in Bloom competition. It is a real 'hands on' project and needs volunteers. There is honeysuckle to be removed and all sorts of other noxious weeds! Please contact Mary Ann Shaw or Linda Fried @ lindafriedster@gmail.com for work times if you are able to help.




You want to give a friend or family member a gift, but their attics and garages are already too full of stuff. Instead, make a contribution in their name to UCB, to mark a birthday, anniversary or holiday or any other occasion. If a friend or relative has passed away a memorial contribution honors and preserves their name, and is a gift that will benefit the entire community.


To make donating more convenient, we've made it possible for you to use MasterCard, Visa, and Discover. Go to our website, ucityinbloom.org, for donor information.

New City Hall Lion
esson lion
U City in Bloom
 is a volunteer not-for-profit organization that plants and maintains over 150 flower gardens throughout University City. Started in 1985 by three citizens, U City in Bloom now has over 200 volunteers and a staff of several part-time professional gardeners. Our gardens are located all over University City... in the Civic Plaza, The Loop, at all of our schools, in parks, along major streets, and in quiet neighborhoods all over our city.