Author Archives: kkovarik

BioBlitz 2014 Tentative Schedule

BioBlitz 2014!

Here’s the tentative schedule for Saturday, May 10, 2014, rain or shine! Everything will start under the Indianola Bridge in Glen Echo Park. Hope you can come and enjoy yourself, take lots of photographs, and take advantage of knowledge of the many scientists here!

8:00 – 9:30
Bird Walk
Lead by Glen Echo Bird Club

10:00 – 11:30
Creepy Crawly Walk (Insects, Spiders, Reptiles,Amphibians)
Lead by Michael Graziano, Peter Kovarik, and Sarah Rose

11:30 – 1:00
Trees, Shrubs, and Other Plants
Lead by Michael Graziano, Peter Kovarik, Dan Struve

1:00 – 3:00

3:00 – 4:30
Creepy Crawly Walk (Insects, Spiders, Reptiles,Amphibians)
Lead by Michael Graziano, Peter Kovarik, and Sarah Rose

4:30 – 6:00
Trees, Shrubs, and Other Plants
Lead by Michael Graziano, Peter Kovarik, and Dan Struve

6:00 – 7:30
Bird Walk
Lead by Glenn Echo Bird Club

7:30 – 8:00

Signs of Life

Well, there are signs of life from me as a blogger and from Mother Nature. I’ve just not felt like blogging about anything except the weather, and oh well, here I go blogging about the weather again!

You’d think that after such a bitter, cold and killing winter, I’d be extra excited about spring arriving, even if it was several months late. But I just couldn’t muster up any enthusiasm for spring, even as my plants started to push their way out of the ground – at least those that survived. And that was the problem. I couldn’t seem to concentrate on what was growing (my amazingly resilient native plants) but only on what didn’t seem to be coming back, what had died over the winter. My poor roses (more about them later), some of my coral bells, and of course, obsessing over the plants that most likely wouldn’t be showing until later in summer. Are they going to come up? Or are they dead, too?

Then Pete and I went on a walk down to Lavash’s to meet our dear friends Jason and Corinne. Since it was such a beautiful day, we decided to walk down Crestview. And oh my, were the little trees we planted doing their very best to make us think spring! We’d see a pink dogwood (small enough that a flower shouldn’t even be expected for another year or two) with one, beautiful, amazing little pop of color. And the American plums. Just these wee tiny trees with hardly any branches just covered in beautiful white flowers. And white dogwoods, too. And all the other trees we had planted in the fall showing just how much they can take when it comes to frigid temperatures. All of a sudden, it was Spring.

And it kept getting better. Pete was going to dig up my rose bushes and lo and behold, one wasphoto 1 alive, putting up new, vigorous growth. Then another one showed tiny, amazing signs of life. I don’t know if that one will be able to grow strong and come back, but I’m going to give it a chance. Unfortunately, my climbing rose is truly gone, but Pete found a new one for me to try: Rosa setigera, or a native climbing prairie rose. We had a dickens of a time finding one to order. I have a feeling that many others are searching for a more hardy rose after this last winter. I’ll let you know how it manages; it isn’t a very showy rose, but it is supposed to be fragrant, which is a major consideration in any rose I buy.









So, here’s a taste of what’s going on in our yard, right now:

photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5photo 1 photo 2


















photo 4 photo 5photo 3














I hope your spring is picking up. And I hope to see you at BioBlitz next Saturday at Glen Echo Park, 8-8. Look for us by the bird mural under the Indianola Bridge.

Until next time!

Bioblitz 2014:: May 10, 2014

bioblitzLOUA is having our second annual Bioblitz on May 10, 2014! It will be in the Glen Echo Ravine from 8am to 8pm. It’s a chance to learn all about the various bugs, birds, and other living creatures of the ravine. We’ll have a bunch of experts who will look at what you find and tell you what it is, what it eats, what it does. I’ve attended a few bioblitzes, and they are fun. I found and saw so many things – it was amazing.Last year’s had us finding so many interesting things – read about it here and here!

As I get more details (a schedule of events), I’ll post them here. But we’ll be under the Indianola Bridge by the bird mural all day.

Hope to see you then!

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!