Latest Blogs

November 26, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
I could go on and on riding this goldenrod train but will bring the series to a close with Dwarf Goldenrod (Solidago nemoralis). If you're still anxious about adding goldenrod to your suburban yard, consider this plant. Its small stature supports a more traditional looking landscape.
Have that spot that bakes in the sun and dries the soil out quickly? This is the plant for you! That...
November 21, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
Patience is not a virtue many humans have. Nature, on the other hand, doesn't bat an eye at waiting. Sure, nature can sometimes throw us for a loop, but patience is the norm.
Seeds are the poster child of patience. Seems easy to drop a packet of 'yet-to-come' and expect sprouting victory. But seed germination is a process generally out of sight and out of mind. So how does the OPN...
November 14, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
I have a confession to make...November is one of my least favorite months. It's wet and cold and generally not snowy. Just muddy. Cold for no reason. These are all human-isms. It's all about me declarations. I've left nature out of the picture.
Enough about me. More about nature. The day I snapped this photo, the air was crisp, soothingly gray and muted. November reminds us there is...
October 31, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
In the spooky spirit of Halloween, here lies scary seeds to haunt your soil and bring ghoulish delight to your graveyard, I mean landscape.
Devil's Beggarticks and Blanket Flower
Devil heads and broom switches evolve into yellow blooms, less frightening than their seedy counterpart.
Broom Sedge
Scarecrow stuffing entwined in witches hair isn't easy to tear apart after an eerie...
October 19, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
Not unlike many mid-Easterners, October is one of my top three favorite months. The colors, the weather, the wooly bears, the weather, the late fall asters, the weather. It was another misty morning when I took my monthly photo but the bright, gray sky lets the earthly colors sing.
Fall is "get ready" season for nature. Seed sets, monarchs migrate, squirrels gather and roots store....
October 8, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
Goldenrod basically comes in two "flavors" - plume-topped and flat-topped. This references the inflorescence type or how the bunches of flowers atop the stems are arranged. Ohio Goldenrod (Solidago ohioensis) is the latter. The yellow blooms congregate to create a flat landing pad for pollinators to peruse. And pollinators love goldenrod!
This native Ohioan offers color to wetter areas...
September 26, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
As September rolls around, we jump into autumn thoughts of back to school, football and digging out sweaters. While Labor Day calls humans into a new season, nature is still summering. Yes, some seeds have been set and days are noticeably shorter but the prairie is far from fading.
The foggy morning I snapped my September photo certainly felt fall-ish. Many yellows and purples from...
September 21, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
When we think Goldenrod, our mind often pictures Canada Goldenrod. A beautiful, but agressive native seen in field and meadow. But Goldenrods don't have to be aggressive, tall, yellow or narrow-leaved.
Stiff Goldenrod (Solidago rigida) is easily recognized by its wide, almost succulent looking leaves and flat-topped bottom. Reaching a mid-sized 3-4 feet, this plant thrives in drier...
September 10, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
How often have I heard, "Goldenrod! Ew! That's what causes my allergies." Sure, Goldenrod produces pollen like every other flowering plant, but it is not the main culprit of hay fever and other summer/early fall sneezing. Ragweed. Now that deserves the "Ew!"
Our native Goldenrods are garden-worthy and I invite you to consider them for your landscape. They are as varied as our garden...
August 27, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
As summer slips away, I find my keeping up with that one patch slipped away as well. So today you get a two-fer! July and August are when the prairie truly comes to life. We can settle in knowing the brightest and best will parade across the earth bringing color and form to the landscape.
The jump from June to July growth is remarkable. Tallest plants are ready to rule but the shorter...
August 10, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
Actually, I was the the traveler, not the plants. Mid-July, my husband and I skipped across the "pond" to Edinburgh, Scotland. While our main focus was a little golf outing called The Open, we took in many a site in the nation's capital. The Royal Botanic Garden is a wonderland of flora for those locals seeking respite and beauty to visitors seeking immersion in one of the world's top...
July 11, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
Early this year, I shared the downsizing move of the Holtz house. A new house, a new yard, a new gardening adventure. Here's an update on my journey to making my yard my own and a haven for native flora.
As luck would have it, the previous owner had a design blueprint supplied by the landscape company. It's great to have a map - something to write on, sketch on, dream on. Your map...
June 29, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
I have an affinity for purple blossoms. My favorite flower list is topped with blooms large and small but all purple, blue or something in between. Red is regal, yellows bright as the sun, white leaves me wanting and pink is pretty. But purple simply speaks to my soul.
The prairie palette is decidedly purple in early June. Blue False Indigo, Northern Blue Flag and Ohio Spiderwort surprise...
June 13, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
The June prairie launches the stretch. Stems shooting skyward to reach predetermined heights depending on the species. Each warm day pulls forth life toward a climax habitat, bursting at the seams at its peak of diversity and beauty. Roots initiated a renewed relationship with the soil months ago. Finally privy to above ground evidence, we anticipate speedy changes to the landscape...
May 30, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
As I've shared previously, I recently moved into a new house. The yard is manageable and suburban. It has some great plants but is missing my native favorites. I'll share my "backyard restoration" journey with you throughout the summer. But let's go out front to a large plant not yet sprouting this spring but clearly a mainstay in the view from the street - an ornamental grass.
May 14, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
One Patch, Twelve Times took a hiatus because I couldn't bear to show you what appeared to be the same picture three times. The slow to spring Spring was depressing enough without my help. But, it's here - SPRING! A few warm days and POP goes the buds, or in the prairie's case, the basal leaves. While this sings less than romantic, the ground is where growth is first spied.
The growing...
April 27, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
If you're familiar with the dating scene these days, you'll know words like Bumble, Hinge and OK! Cupid. Far from what I remember, finding that forever someone involves, you guessed it, social media and a phone screen. Swipe this way or that if someone tickles your fancy.
What if butterflies could scan the internet for yards with promised plants rather than simply flitting about? Butterflies...
April 6, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
Best time to poke around a prairie is when stems tower overhead. You can't see the explorer, but tall swaying flower tops giveaway the walker every time. Tall Ironweed, Sweet Joe Pye, Cup Plant, Prairie Dock, Big Bluestem...and the list goes on. Crazy tall plants that are not woody. Gotta have one in your landscape. It should be a rule.
One of my favs? Tall Ironweed. A tough, sturdy...
March 30, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
A sure sign of spring for me is an upswing of orders to fill. With a hint of melt and a whiff of fresh air, seed mix and seed envelope orders arrive. Measure, blend, package and ship from hundreds of pounds to 0.02 ounces of earth's promise of rebirth.
I wonder where each order will go and how it will change a landscape. Certainly the plants offer beauty and function but what of the...
March 7, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
When I was in the naturalist biz, I hiked with many a young child. This time of year we chatted about Mother Nature's seeming inability to make up her mind regarding warm or cold, grow or rest, snow or thaw. I assured the mud-loving bunch that Mother Nature was well-versed in spring and it's needs. In fact, the give and take strategy allows wildlife to ease into seasonal change. Some...
February 26, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
Welcome back to my little patch of prairie paradise. last month I shared my goal of photographically capturing nature's transformation through the seasons. How often we forget to take in the show. Come on this journey with me and watch this prairie performance.
January and February don't grab an audience. Yes, there is beauty in winter. In the snow and ice, stories are shaped in tracks...
February 16, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
The beloved comic strip, Peanuts, continues to delight and enlighten generations. We all recall a Charlie Brown, Lucy or Linus in our lives. I close my eyes and hear the original, bring-to-life voices of the human children who played them. Main or secondary character, each one distinctive and dear. Who is your favorite? Pig Pen anyone?
Fan away the dust and an "i'm ok, you're ok" personality...
February 9, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
Recently invited to present at the program at the Medina library, I prepared by renovating a PowerPoint presentation and creating a lovely handout for the taking. Native plant presenters are much like ministers in that the core message is the same at each "preaching", it's just packaged differently to fit the occasion and audience. The talk went great, the crowd was great, the venue...
January 31, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
They're all around us - logos, catch phrases, advertisements. Our minds can conjure in an instant what marketers plant. "Where's the beef?" "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz. Oh, what a relief it is!" "Just do it." Recognize any of these:

(The last one's a dead giveaway, but hey what can I say?!)
Some of those examples show my age but what does it say about ad longevity and its ability...
January 24, 2018
By: Barb Holtz
Last year, my husband and I took the path of many retired couples - we downsized. We loved our old house and yard. An oasis in an inner-ring Cleveland suburb complete with a bridge over a creek to arrive at our homestead. Ahhh, lovely, somewhat secluded, and urban wild. But it was bigger than required for our empty nest in size and expanse.
As the house hunt began, my husband focused...