October 2011
President's Message

What a wonderful year this has been. The Plant Sale in April was very successful and fun, giving us some exciting new ideas for 2012. We are planning to offer colorful annuals in addition to our

Centennial Gardens at City Hall
photo by Linda Wiggen-Kraft

perennial selection, many grown right here in U City, and native plants.


The September Garden Tour was beautiful, even in the rain. Each garden had special features, from a Koi Pond to a miniature train and pool. Especially fun to visit was a small trapezoidal backyard sheltered retreat. City Hall Lawn was studded with tents of local artists in varied media, all with a floral theme. They offered jewelry, painted children's clothing, birdfeeders and floral scenes that just invited you to enter. If you missed the tour and would like one of the beautiful tour books, contact me at jprange@holycommunion.net.


Our Bird Sanctuary behind Centennial Commons is taking shape. The windows of the exercise area provide a fine view of the new water feature, funded by a US Fish and Wildlife grant. You can also go down the driveway on the East side of the building to the end to reach the Bird Sanctuary. We also have a Boeing Employees Fund Grant to provide benches and signage. Stay tuned for more news about this great joint project with the U City Parks Foundation.


At the U City in Bloom Annual Meeting, held every year in October, we were blessed with the addition of three fabulous new board members:

Linda Ballard, recently retired director of U. City library, vegetable gardener and entertaining writer, was a tremendous help to UCB on the Garden Tour book and created the UCB Facebook page. 

Jack Breier, who graciously showed his creative garden on the 2011 Garden Tour, is very involved with U City's Urban Forestry Commission and the Flora Conservancy at Forest Park.

Jane Myers, long time U City resident and gardener, does the gardens for Christ the King, works part time at BJC, loves her new home on Kingsbury and can't wait to work on the garden.

She'll be lucky to get the chance, because I can't wait to put Jane and the other new members to work!

Judy Prange                                                 

Director's Report


I turn the calendar page from August to September with keen anticipation. I know that the


'Revival' is soon to follow. After this year's long, hot summer, fall brought cooler temperatures and a little (not enough) rain. September's chilly nights and less direct and intense sun turned colors in the gardens deeper and more brilliant. Many plants had another flush of beauty. Now the shrubs and trees are adding their own special glory, the maples turning red and yellow as the stubborn oaks stay green.


Annuals are a true gift to our public and private gardens, bringing the vibrant hues of the sun and the tropics. I surveyed our beds to see which varieties were giving us the most colorful show; the lantanas, petunias, coleus, ageratum, angelonia, salvia and


gomphrena were brilliant. It was a good time to think about what annuals to add to bare spots in the garden or to flower boxes that need a 'revival' of their own. It's too late to plant most annuals, but pansies have been hybridized to be quite resistant to the cold and continue to provide color into the winter months. Ornamental kale and cabbage provide color and texture; add strawflowers, stach and lettuce (edible and plenty of color). We love our perennials but the annuals we have added will continue to lend interest to our gardens until fall gives way to winter.


 Our first frost may have come by the time you read this. Gardeners take it as a welcome signal that nature is slowing down and so can they. Welcome and enjoy every day of Keats' "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness."

                                                                                                      Mary Ann Shaw 

Featured Article


Every issue of the U City in Bloom newsletter allows you to tap into the savvy of our Horticulture team as well as outside experts. We welcome your suggestions and questions.


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 and/or edible garden. Our goal is to be a resource of information and experience. Just ask lots of questions and get your hands dirty.



Fall (October, November & December) is the best time to plant a new tree. The leaves have fallen and the trees are dormant.


Start your planning by taking a good look at your yard or lawn and asking yourself a few basic questions:


Do you want to change your view? Do you have a tree that needs to go? What kind of space is available for the new tree? Do you have a space that really needs a tree?


After you have surveyed the horizon, look up and check your overhead utility lines relative to where you want to plant your tree. Keep in mind that Ameren UE will chop for clearance. Either plan how far away from those lines you want to place your tree or choose a short tree that will go under the utility lines.


After you've settled on the spot where you want to plant, don't overlook what kind of drainage the tree will have. If it's a wet spot, that will limit the variety to trees that can tolerate "wet feet".


Do crucial research on the web.

Narrow your choices to 1 or 2 varieties you believe will work for you. If a picture isn't available in "Plantfinder", under the "star" rating is "Locate this plant at MBG" which will list tree number, location map, and year planted (so you can see how big it is now). If all else fails, type the name (Scientific and common) of the tree into your search engine and you will find a photo.


Go shopping at a reliable nursery.

Go to a good nursery that will not only sell you a quality plant but offer you good advice.

A tree can be a significant investment.They are priced by the caliper size of the trunk. Remember that it is not necessary to buy a big tree.


If you are going to do the planting yourself it is probably a good idea to go with a smaller tree. If the nursery is going to plant it for you, a smaller tree is still not a bad idea. It will adapt and grow faster than a huge tree which will need years to establish and more careful watering initially.


Plant your tree-this is the easy part! 

The tree will come labeled with good, basic planting instructions but there are also some important general rules to follow:


*Don't make the planting hole too deep!

*Double-check your research giving width of mature tree so that you don't plant it too close to the house or the drive.

*Make the hole as wide as the instructions tell you to make it. 

*Amend the soil with our own good leaf mulch from Heman Park. That is really the only thing you need to add.

*The soil will settle around the roots when you water it.The directions that come with the tree or what you have learned in your Internet research will give you watering instructions. It isn't necessary to water more than this through the winter months, or to compress the soil; our soil is clay.

*Staking is not always necessary with a smaller tree.

*Don't water an evergreen in winter. Begin watering when it leafs out in spring.


Start right away protecting the young tree's trunk! Remember to take the twine off the trunk! The most important maintenance to give a young tree is to protect the trunk from mechanical injury from mowers and string trimmers. Trunk injuries cause more damage than all the diseases and insects combined. A wide area (at least three feet from trunk) free of grass and covered with mulch will reduce chance of injury as well as benefit the tree by conserving moisture and eliminating competition.



Ash tree
Ash Tree

Establish your young tree:  

During the first two years, the tree will need to be well watered weekly. Tree gators work very well. Even an old bucket with a few holes poked in the bottom will give the necessary long, slow 



Spraying with a garden hose does not work! It doesn't lay down much water even if it looks like it has. If you use a hose, lay it down and let it drip slowly.


Keep an eye on a young tree during summer - especially if it's like the one we just had! If the tree looks limp in the morning; it needs more water. The tree has fewer roots and will often transpire more than it's taking in.


Get a rain gauge - or even a little tuna can (which placed on the ground does not call attention to itself) - to see how much water we really got. An inch of water during hot windy weather is desirable. Those intense summer storms sometimes produce less rainfall than we think.


You and your new tree are beginning a long relationship. Planning before purchase and extra care for the young tree will pay off in many shady summers and colorful autumns.


Norma Schechter



 Reminder: Still working on garden clean up and plans for next spring? Revisit Claire Linzee's article in Horticulture News from the October, 2010 e-newsletter - Fall Assessment: Winners & Losers in your garden. It's a wealth of valuable information!

 red watering can



We're grateful to all our volunteers, without whom UCB couldn't operate. As a way of saluting their generosity and capabilities, from time to time we'll spotlight remarkable-even astonishing-individuals.

photo by H. Fuller

Norma Schechter has been a long-time friend, volunteer and Board member for U City in Bloom. She's not one to broadcast her accomplishments, so most people have no idea how much Norma has contributed to University City in her professional and volunteer capacities.


While employed as the City Forester for U. City for 20 years, Norma worked closely with UCB. Now retired from the City, she continues to volunteer for UCB as well as Missouri Botanical Garden and CORP. A keen runner, she is a mainstay of the U City Memorial Day Run. As a vice president and Board member of U City in Bloom, Norma works on all fund raising events. She has helped research, write and submit grants to provide trees for U City and particularly our public schools. Most recently, she helped prepare the grant that was submitted and funded by the EDRST to maintain the trees along Olive Boulevard from I-170 east to Skinker Boulevard


Norma provides vital help with the UCB Plant Sale each year; she has propagated and donated high-quality plants for the sale as well as contributed her time from early spring, when Linda Fried starts potting at Vernon gardens, through the final days of the event in April.


Norma also serves on the Green Center Advisory Board and helps prepare Christ the King's casseroles for St Patrick Center and Room at the Inn. With her neighbors,she has designed, planted and maintained garden islands in her neighborhood. She is a member of U City Urban Forestry Commission, a 32-year member of a local garden club, past Executive Director of the National Society of Municipal Foresters and regional representative to Missouri Community Forestry Council.


Thank you, Norma, for your extraordinary energy and commitment!




UCB Facebook logoU Cityinbloom.org



Keep an eye on the UCB website ucityinbloom.org for its new look, its Calendar of Events and a U City Weather link! For gardeners and farmers weather is a most important topic! Thanks to our webmaster, Arno Perlow, for all of the time he's spent revising our site.


U City in Bloom now has its own Facebook page. Find us through our website, www.ucityinbloom.org . We hope you will "like" UCB on Facebook where you can keep up with UCB news and learn more about upcoming events. Please invite all your friends to do the same. Leave a message on the wall while you are there.


It is now possible to sign up to receive UCB's e-news by going to our websiteucityinbloom.org. Just click on "The Lion and the Rose." The link will take you to Constant Contact. You only have to add your name and email address.


*If you are not receiving the annual mail out newsletter as well as other special event information and would like to please send your name, address and zip code to info@ucityinbloom.org and we will add it to our master mailing list.*


U City in Bloom never sells or shares its email list with anyone and will not send you junk mail.

Watch for this Date
April 28th & 29th - U City in  Bloom's Spring Plant Sale at Heman Community Center. Reminders for volunteers to help by donating plants that have been split or divided will be going out through e-blast messages. We will also need help with potting as well as with the with the event itself. We will be starting in the early spring and we will keep you informed of how you can help. It will be a busy time of year for U City in Bloom volunteers!
Job Opportunities

Contact Information


To help in the Gardens:

Betsy Sweeny - sweenerd@sbcglobal.net  


Fall cleanup, flower bed preparation all year round and bulb planting need lots of hands to get the work done. We need your help working in the 325 public garden locations we have created.



 Some employers have a matching gifts program so remember to check it out. It's a painless way to increase your donation to U City in Bloom.


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.


We have received a donation in memory of Larry Lieberman from John & Susan Rava.


A tribute donation was received in honor of Ed Schmidt from Joan and John Vatterott.


Donations for Epstein Plaza were received from Nathanael Mullener, Fred & Sara Epstein and Beryl E. Brasch.


Thanks to all for these thoughtful contributions


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.

lion with roseWho We Are

U City in Bloom is a volunteer not-for-profit organization that plants and maintains 325 public flower garden locations 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.


The Lion and The Rose 


Editor:  Helen Fuller

Lead Writers: David and Claire Linzee

Contributing Writers: Mary Ann Shaw, Susan White, Harry Asher, Ted Slegesky

and Mary Fahey

Arborist Consultant: Norma Schechter