Author Archives: kkovarik

Lower Olentangy Urban Arboretum/Green Columbus Earth Day Site

earth-day-tree-promotionWhen: Saturday, April 19th
First Shift: 9:00 AM – 12:00 Noon
Second Shift: 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Where: Glen Echo Ravine West “The Walker Tract”

Directions: Our Clintonville service site is a wooded area just west of the Indianola Bridge that spans Glen Echo Ravine. The service site is visible from the bridge and is bordered to the north by the alleyway south of Olentangy St. The southern border of the site is the stream that runs through Glen Echo Ravine. You can park either along Indianola Ave. near the bridge or on Olentangy St. between Indianola and Medary. If you enter the ravine at the Indianola Ave. Bridge, there is a stairway on the Northeast side of the bridge that leads down into the ravine. At the bottom of the stairs, head west (to your right) and right after you pass beneath the bridge, be on the lookout for a trail on your right that passes through an open grassland and eventually enters the forested area where we will be working. If you plan to enter the service site via Olentangy St. alley, there is a path that enters the ravine about mid-way between the Parkview Condominiums and the Xenos School. There is a city park sign near the path’s entrance. If you have work gloves and/or shovels and/or bow saws, please bring them. There is some poison ivy present so dress accordingly.

Activities: Removal of invasive species, trash collection, tree & shrub planting.

The Walker Tract is a parcel of city parkland and part of Glen Echo ravine. The understory of this site was formerly choked with invasive plants. Work on clearing this area began on Earth Day in 2009. Since then significant progress has been achieved but more work needs to be done to finish what we started. We will be working in conjunction with Karl Hoessle, an Ecological Restoration Programmer from the city’s Recreation and Parks Department which means we will accomplish more than we would without his assistance. In addition to honeysuckle, the area still has a fair amount of privet, burning bush, creeping euonymus, and garlic mustard that needs to be removed. We should also have some small trees and shrubs to plant in the areas where the invasive plants have been cleared.

Need more information? See below:

It’s been a long, hard winter…

and I don’t think any of my rose bushes survived it. I uncovered them today – to be honest, I’d been too scared to do so sooner, in addition to never feeling it was safe to set them free due to the constant threat of sleet, snow, freezing rain, hail, and all others forms of frozen precipitation in between. I knew that my climbing rose was mostly blackened sticks with not a hint of green, most likely beyond saving, although I will cut it back and hope for the best. The same seems to have happened to the rest of my roses, despite the cages full of oak leaves that Pete and I had placed around them. In the past, that was enough to protect them but apparently not enough to protect my delicate roses from Polar Vortexes.

Uncovering the roses gave me the resolve to look around the rest of my garden, something that I had been avoiding for pretty much the same reason: fearful of what I would (or wouldn’t) find. Well, it was rather depressing, to say the least. There seemed to be no sign of life anywhere. Last year, at this time there were green sprouts everywhere. I’m not talking about the bulbs that were cozily buried underground, oblivious of the cold and wind – and protected by the toasty warm blanket of snow that covered Columbus for most of the winter. All I saw was dead stalks and leaves leftover from last summer, vestiges of the past season’s glories. I just wondered if anything at all survived the frigid temperatures. So sad.

And then I saw this.







Native Columbine.

Natives rock.

Until next time!

Glen Echo at High Street, around 1910

Two postcards of the area in the Ravine behind the White Castle lot in the 1910s.
The bridge connected the streetcar turnaround, which was on North St. (behind
Patrick J’s) to the park where Giant Eagle is currently. Can you image it looking like this again? Breathtaking!



Postcards are from

Until next time!

Compost Workshop :: April 5 and 12, 2014

The Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed (FLOW) are offering home composting workshops to our watershed residents. We want to encourage you to save your yard and kitchen waste and recycle it into topsoil that you can use. The soil will provide the nutrients that your veggies, flowers, or trees need to be healthy!

Remove more than 500 lbs of organic matter from your household waste per year, diverting it from collection, the landfill.

  • Provides a nutrient rich “super soil” to add to your garden, lawn and house plants
  • Takes as little as 10 minutes a week
  • Reduces use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides
  • Can Reduce gardening water bill by 30%

April 5th at 10 am at 2149 Carmack Rd (Waterman Farm)
April 12th at 1pm at 251 W. Lakeview
See Compost Workshop Trifold Order Form for more details.

Until next time!

FLOW/LOUA/FOR Pre-Earth Day Invasive Plant Removal Event

Please join LOUA volunteers at an invasive removal event. We will be removing invasive plants that are overtaking a patch of skunk cabbage, which is a beautiful plant that is uncommon in central Ohio.

Webster Park and Bird Sanctuary
Saturday, March 15th at 9:45 a.m.

The park can be accessed by heading west on Webster Park Ave. off of High Street.  If you have work gloves, please bring them. Waterproof foot-ware would also be useful since the area we will be clearing is a bit swampy.

Here’s a map of sorts!

Webster Park

Hope to see you there!

Spring is in the air

http://www.forestwander.comToday is one of my favorite kind of pre-spring day: a day full of promise – the promise of warmer days, the promise of flowers and green things coming up from the frozen earth, the promise of bird song and sunny skies. It’s the kind of day when there is just something in the air – bottled spring, if you will – that hints at what will come in the next month or so.

There are other signs that spring is on the way. Pete and I have received our first catalog for native plants, and stores are putting out things for warmer weather: fertilizer, potting mix and seeds. And our plant room (the old sleeping porch) is the perfect sunny spot for grading papers and taking cat naps (for those in our house who have four legs). The sun comes through the windows in the afternoon, making it the warmest room in the house.

ciara seamusI’ve looked at our trees and they are putting out the first attempts at new growth. I haven’t looked very hard anywhere else for green sprigs, fearing that the cold weather to come will nip those in the bud in the next coming days. But this all makes me excited for the coming months, when all of the flowers start to come out. What I am really excited about is the pink dogwood that I planted last year. I’ve always loved those trees for the beautiful brackets they put out. Those and lilacs are the flowering trees/shrubs that I love most. Lilacs remind me of my grandparent’s house. My room there when I visited had a huge lilac bush outside the window, allowing the wonderful fragrance to come into the room with each breeze. And my grandpa worn lilac cologne.

Well, I hope you all can make it out into the sunshine today. Enjoy it while it lasts: snow tonight and colder temperatures all of next week!

Until next time!

It’s Official…

I am tired of winter. And coming from me, that’s quite the statement. I mean, I love snow. I like the way it looks, I don’t mind driving in it, and I love to shovel it. So perhaps what I really mean to say is, “I am tired of this particular winter!” I’m tired of the snow, the cold, and the fact that my car window is frozen, and it won’t roll down, which makes getting in and out of the parking garage rather difficult. I’m tired of it taking 10 minutes to get into the several layers I need to survive outside. I’m tired of the ice on my car windows and the ice under my feet that makes walking dangerous. I don’t care how sparkly the icicles look with the sun hitting them, or the beautiful bluish shadows on the snow in the morning. I just want spring to come.

And my poor plants, inside and out. The hellebores look like someone poured boiling water on them, they are that blackened. My beautiful roses, who knows what they are doing under the layer of leaves and snow? I can only hope they are faring better and look nicer than the climbing rose, which was left to its own devises over the winter. It’s leaves are dry, black, and sad. Strangely enough, the plants that seem to be the least affected (other than the weeds!) are the native plants in my garden. And the poor ferns in the house – it appears that no amount of misting will combat the dry air from the constant running of the furnace.

I will leave you with this…somewhere, buried under all of that snow and ice, there are spring flowers waiting for that day when it’s warm enough, and sunny enough, for them to come out.

flowers species tulipsAnd, of course, all the beautiful flowering trees that we planted this fall in the Arboretum.

For some reason, William Wordsworth’s poem, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” is coming to mind:

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
Until next time – and  until the daffodils bloom, stay warm!

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

an-early-morning-snowstorm_w725_h537I’m not sure what’s been going on with me the last few weeks, but I wonder if the cold weather has sucked all the words from my brain. I’ve thought about writing for this blog so many times in the past week, but nothing seemed to come to mind. And it wasn’t just for the blog; I wasn’t making much headway in writing at work, either. I tried to write but didn’t feel inspired, and what I did write I felt was just awful. This has happened to me before, so I’m not to worried.

But isn’t this cold something else? I remember in 1994 (I think it was) when the air temperature was -22 degrees. We’ve been working at making sure the birds have something to eat and that other creatures in our neighborhood are taken care of. Saturday was relatively warm, and after the past polar vortex temperatures, I’ve never heard the word “balmy” used so often to describe 32 degrees. My mom gave me the sage advice of letting the water run in a sink that is on an outside wall and letting my car sit a few minutes with the lights on before starting it when it’s so cold. I hope it works tomorrow! Although OSU has cancelled classes, staff and faculty are to come in as scheduled. After seeing all of the students walking around in negative wind chills, without hats and gloves and coats undone, that’s probably wise! I, on the other hand, will be wearing many, many layers.

Chris O’Leary spotted a red fox while walking his dog in the park late at night about a week before Christmas. It was walking on the path just east of the Indianola underpass. It froze when it realized he was there and then ran back towards the bird mural. I’ve seen a few foxes, and they are so beautiful. It must have been quite a sight in the snow.

NRP had a nice audio story on daylighting. You can link to it here.

Cornell University has a great website, eBirds, that lets members record the birds they find and keep track of bird lists. And all of this helps contribute to science and conservation efforts.

And finally, even though the thought of flowers blooming seems a distant dream, researchers are working on ways to reduce the use of pesticides that might be harmful to honeybees, which are an important form of pollination for US crops.

Well, I hope you all stay warm over the next few days.

Until next time!

Something’s Buggin’ Me

Now that the holidays are over, all of the decorations, including our tree, have come down. The house seems a bit empty without everything, and I really miss the smell of the tree filling the whole house. When I was a kid, we always had a pine tree to decorate. I only remember that once December was over, the branches became deadly pokey things that scratched me as I tried to remove the strings of lights. Once I started to be in charge of finding my own tree, I gravitated toward fir trees. My dad always said that they had a nice handshake.

firSo when I read that the Canaan fir (one that I love, along with the Fraser fir) was being attacked by the Balsam woolly adelgid, I was concerned. The trees only grow naturally within the Canaan Valley in West Virginia and losing them would greatly change the ecosystem in that area. A lot of the tree farms in Ohio and elsewhere grow these trees.  But the  adelgid also attacks other trees such as Frasers and conifers. And like the ash borer, the damage that the Balsalm woolly adelgid does isn’t seen until it’s too late.

Bottom line is that both the ash borer and the balsalm woolly adelgid are changing ecosystems. The species that will stand to lose the most are those that are reliant on the trees that those two insects attack. And that bugs me.

Until next time.

Happy Holidays!

This is always the time of year, at least for me, where I look back at the past 365 days, reflecting on all that has happened. It’s a time to remember those who are no longer with us, and of course, decide upon my New Year’s Resolutions, most of which last about a week, especially when it comes to eating better and exercising more! This year was especially nice as I had my mom visiting for the week of Christmas. Pete and I went up to Louisville on Monday morning to pick her up. We really didn’t have too much of a plan for things to do except visiting with friends one day and looking forward to my brother and sister-in-law coming down from Cleveland on Friday. It was very nice to have family in town.

Friday, we all headed to a shop in German Village that carries some products from France that my brother likes; this shop in the only one in the United States that carries that particular line. We then hit the Franklin Conservatory and Jeni’s Ice Cream. On the trip back to Clintonville, we started talking about the Arboretum and all the trees we had planted as we drove up Crestview Road. It really hadn’t hit me how many trees we had planted on just that one street until I started pointing out each tree we had put in the ground. So many trees! And the ones we had planted a few years ago had become so big. Michael and MaryJo were impressed.

Another thing we saw while downtown were the covered bike racks that had living roofs. They were planted with various plants to help mitigate storm water. Sorry I couldn’t snap a photo, but I was driving at the time. I did get a photo of the COGO bike share in the Short North by Jeni’s Ice Cream. You can rent them for a day or a year. What a great way to get around town that’s both good for the rider and the environment.

bike rack at High for COGOWell, I hope you all have a wonderful New Year, full of joy and happiness.

Until next time!