Photo and article by Donna Iverson
No one seemed to know the name of the flowers that looked like a tiny petunias. Yet they were everywhere ..in hanging baskets, window boxes, raised beds and along garden edges.
They were multicolored, in shades of red, yellow, orange, pink, blue, purple and cream ..often in the same hanging basket.
Searching the internet on the term “tiny petunias” turned up the plant’s name: Calibrachoa. No wonder no one knew their name. Further research revealed that they are also called “million bells” a name which has been trademarked.
An annual, Calibrachoa flowers look like tiny petunias and last through the summer and into the fall. Their sticky leaves and colorful flowers attract both butterflies and hummingbirds. Deer aren’t fond of them although they are not listed as deer resistant. Six to twelves inches in height, they are native to South America.
Calibrachoa can be grown from seed or cuttings. But it is technically illegal to propagate them from cuttings because their name is trademarked. They are mostly easily grown by purchasing them from nurseries. In late summer, it helps to cut them back and administer a dose of slow-release fertilizer.
So is Calibrachoa related to the petunia? At one time, they were classified as the same genus, but they have been since separated into two plant families ..Calibrachoa and the petunia genus.
Review by Amy Martin, Fremont Area District Library Circulation Supervisor
I waited to read this adult series about the Fae until it wasn't quite so popular and I had a lot of time I could devote to reading it.
This is the story of Feyre, a human huntress from a poor family who kills a wolf that is actually a fae, and is brought into the fae world of Prythian as a consequence. She is brought there by Tamlin, High Lord of the Spring Court, and is thrown into a huge fight for all of the fae lands and then skirmishes with human queens when the wall between the fae and humans is brought down. Feyre, along with her sisters, Nesta and Elain, end up losing their humanity and being transformed into fae. Along the way, Feyre meets Rhysand, High Lord of the Night Court and they find that they are fated mates. Along with Rhysand, comes a great group of characters, his long-time friends Cassian, Azriel, Mor, and Amren.
I found that the friendship between all these characters made for a very rewarding reading experience. The villains in this series were awful to their foes, as villains should be. Feyre and her sisters also have many spats and learning experiences along the way. Nesta in particular is a fierce character, and in the final book so far, A Court of Silver Flames, has an awesome transformation to a better, more complex character. I notice that Sarah J. Maas left an opening for Elain's story to be told, so hopefully sometime soon she will write and publish that. I think that is the only thing I really was missing from this series--the feeling that it's not at an end.
Put the books in this series on hold:
1. A Court of Thorns and Roses https://bit.ly/3BXaQAk
2. A Court of Mist and Fury https://bit.ly/3dlQ2IJ
3. A Court of Wings and Ruin https://bit.ly/3dmyUCp
3.1 A Court of Frost and Starlight https://bit.ly/3SAqUOB
4. A Court of Silver Flames https://bit.ly/3JO92Mg
Photo and article by Donna Iverson
A small group of tomatoes are named after fruits including cherry tomatoes, plum (Roma) tomatoes and grape tomatoes. But then technically, tomatoes are a fruit.
Grape tomatoes have been around since 1996 when they were first grown in Florida. Today, they outsell cherry tomatoes 10 to 1. They came to America from Taiwan, where they were developed as a hybrid variety. Cherry tomatoes, on the other hand, are native to South America. But they are losing out to grape, which are sweeter, larger, meatier, and can be stored longer.
Recently, I asked a fellow community gardener why she switched from cherry tomatoes to grape tomatoes this summer and she said “because I can just pop them into my mouth.” “But you can do that with cherry tomatoes,” I protested. “I did that last year,” she replied. My takeaway is that grape tomatoes have a lot of novelty appeal.
As well as growing them yourself, you can find them for sale at farmers markets and supermarkets, where their shelf life is longer than cherry tomatoes. Because of their thicker skin, they also ship better without bruising. From time of picking to eating, they remain fresh around five days.
Like all tomatoes, grape tomatoes are highly nutritious with impressive amounts of lycopene, Vitamins A and C. Six bite size tomatoes equal a serving.
If you want to grow them yourself, seedlings should be planted in early June in full sun and in rich soil. Water every two or three days, or daily during a drought. Your grape tomatoes will likely all open at the same time with yields of about 20 to 90 grape tomatoes per plant. Once the diminutive tomatoes appear, they will take 20 to 30 days to ripen.
Like all tomatoes, people with acid reflux, histamine intolerance and kidney stones should limit their daily intact to small amounts.
While red is the most popular color, grape tomatoes come in orange, yellow, brown, and pink. Popular varieties include: Tomato Bronze, Gold Spark, Red Candy, Red Grape and Sweet Hearts.
The Fremont Area District Library will continue to offer fun and educational events this summer. Just a reminder that children can continue turning in their reading logs for the Summer Reading Program and collect their prizes until the end of August. Summer Reading has wrapped up for adults and teens. Here’s what’s coming in August:
Photo and article by Donna Iverson
There are a few popular Midwest native annual flowers you’ve probably familiar with, like sunflowers and black-eyed Susans. But there are a lot that you have probably never heard of that are under appreciated.
They have names like partridge pea, daisy fleabane, wild cucumber vine, sneezeweed, American basket flower, lemon bergamot, blanket flower, snow on the mountain, blue-eyed Mary, and my favorite, spotted jewelweed.
Don’t let their names deter you. These native plants offer many advantages to gardeners. They will often grow where nothing else will, need little water or fertilizer, and deter invasive weeds. Also, they are tough and replant themselves year after year.
In his book Native Plants of the Midwest, horticulturist Alan Branhagen, goes so far as to call them “earth healers.” When land is disturbed, they are the first plants to show up and they pave the way for the more widely recognized perennials, he writes.
Native annuals are also beautiful, like jewelweed with its blue-green leaves and spotted yellow-orange flowers that bloom all summer and into fall. It is native across the entire Midwest and found where soil is damp, especially near wetlands. It is also found in meadows, woods, and ditches.
Another name for jewelweed is “touch me not.” When the lip-shaped flowers are touched or brushed against, the seeds burst out. This is how the plant propagates itself and entertains children. A pollinator plant popular with bees, jewelweed also provides food for grouse and pheasants.
Finding native annual plant seeds in seed catalogs is difficult, although the Seeds of Change catalog has a few. As native annual flowers become more popular, more seed catalogs can be expected to expand their offerings to include these flowers. Of course, you can collect the seeds yourself in the fall before the first frost.
Whether collected or purchased, the seeds will need cold stratification, which is a fancy word for needing to be refrigerated for a few months before they are planted in the spring. There are two varieties of native jewelweed, Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed) and Impatiens pallida (yellow jewelweed). These two varieties refer to the color of the flowers.
While experienced foragers will tell you that the flowers, leaves, young shoots and seeds of jewelweed are edible, they must be boiled in at least one change of water, to remove high levels of calcium oxalate.
On the medicinal side, jewelweed is widely known as a treatment for poison ivy rash. Ironically, Jewelweed often grows near poison ivy so beware of that when you spot it. Herbalists recommend you break off a stem and rub the sap on the affected area.
So next spring, bypass those petunias and marigolds, and consider a native annual instead.
Summer Reading Finales, End Dates, & More Coming to Fremont Library
The Fremont Area District Library continues to offer lots of fun and educational events this summer, but just a reminder that the adult and teen Summer Reading Programs end on July 28th, so be sure to turn in your reading logs and collect your prizes by that date! Children can continue turning in their reading logs until the end of August. Here’s what’s coming July 25th-30th:
The library’s Summer Reading Program encourages families to read together so that kids maintain or improve their reading skills throughout the summer and enter school ready to succeed in the fall. Visit the Fremont Area District Library to get signed up and start earning prizes.
This year’s Summer Reading Program is generously sponsored by: Blades Hair Design
CBD Store of Michigan, Dave’s Auto Clinic, Elsie’s Ice Cream, Fremont Cinemas, Geers Family Chiropractic, Happy Hearts Naturals, Koffee Kuppe, Meijer, Moon Dance Café, Newaygo County Council for the Arts, Northern Rustic Designs, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Red Pine Crafts, Rite Aid, SHB Gifts & Décor, Spanky's, The Original Print Shop, Tractor Supply Co., Walmart, Discovery Toys (Pat Durham), Friends of the Fremont Area District Library, and the Fremont Area Community Foundation.
Friends Summer Book Sale at Fremont Library
The Friends of the Fremont Area District Library are busy preparing for their annual used book sale, which will be held during the National Baby Food Festival in the library’s Community Room.
The sale will begin Wednesday, July 20th from 6:00-8:00 p.m. with a sale for Friends members only (memberships may be purchased at the sale). The public sale will be held on Thursday, July 21st from 9:00-4:00 p.m. and Friday, July 22nd from 9:00-3:00 p.m.
Along with a variety of books covering many genres, the sale will also offer videos, audio books, music, games and toys, plus items from the Friends Gift Shop.
All proceeds from the sale go to support library programming and library materials for children, teens, and adults. Join us July 20th-22nd and discover a treasure!
Photo and article by Donna Iverson
With July on our doorsteps, you may think planting time is over. But there are some flowers and vegetables that can still be added to the garden.
It’s not too late to plant beans and radishes, herbs like dill and basil, and flowers, like calendula and nasturtiums.
Summer seems like a perfect time to try interplanting, i.e., planting in bare spots in and around plants that are already growing. Radishes are the ideal veggie to give this a try.
Radish seeds sprout in a couple of days, and are ready for harvest in two to three weeks. They don’t take up much space although they don’t like overcrowding, so follow the seed packet directions and place them four inches apart.
In this heat, you will need to water daily until they are established and then once or twice a week to encourage growth. Unless of course, we get some rain.
If you are interested in micro-greens, the radish sprout can be eaten like a baby leaf when it is about one inch high. It has a crunchy spicy flavor. But don’t wait too long, the radish leaves will get hairy very quickly.
In the fall, and after flowing, the seed pods are also edible. Pick while they are still green. They can be eaten raw or pickled.
There are many varieties of radishes but basically they can be divided into two groups, the standard small round or oblong radish and the Asian radishes which are larger and often cooked like other root vegetables, such as the turnip. Today, radish skins come in many colors including white, red, pink, yellow, purple and black. My favorite farmers market vendor calls them rainbow radishes. Radishes are root vegetables, members of the Brassica family, along with arugula, broccoli and cabbage.
There is also a specialty radish called a watermelon radish. It is an heirloom variety of daikon radish that originated in China. They look like miniature watermelons, green on the outside and vibrant pink on the inside. Like other radish varieties, they can be eaten raw, pickled or cooked.
The bottom line is, growing radishes is no longer just for kids.
A demo on drawing Deadpool?
Children’s July Events
Storytimes for babies & toddlers (up to age 3) will be on Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. through August 3rd. Family Storytime (up to age 5) will be on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. through August 4th. There will be no Storytimes on July 20th & 21st. On Game Day we’ll have lots of fun family games to play in the Children’s Department and on the patio on July 20th from 1:00-3:00 p.m. We’ll also show an afternoon movie (title coming soon) on July 28th at 3:30 p.m. Saturday Storytime will be on July 30th at 11:00 a.m.
Our very popular Discovery Tuesday programs will take place in the Community Room on Tuesday mornings. On July 5th, Marvel Comics Illustrator Jerry DeCaire will be here at 9:45 a.m. (please note this earlier starting time) to give a live drawing presentation where art and fantasy are created. Magician Jeff Wawrzaszek will bring us will bring us an Oceans of Possibilities Magic Show on July 12th at 10:00 a.m. Our Children’s Summer Reading Finale Party will host Susan Harrison for an interactive family concert on July 26th at 10:00 a.m. Wrap up the summer with music, snacks, and we’ll give away lots of prizes!
Teen July Events
Marvel Comics Illustrator Jerry DeCaire will be offering two more programs on July 5th, as well. At 10:45 a.m. he’ll give a Comic Art Fantasy drawing presentation for tweens and teens, and at 11:45 a.m. he’ll teach a Comic Art Workshop for tweens and teens—bring your own drawing materials to this one! A Pirates vs. Mermaids program with crafts, props, and more will be in the Community Room on Thursday, July 14th at 2:00 p.m. The Teen Summer Reading Finale Party will take place on Thursday, July 28th at 2:00 p.m. Wrap up Summer Reading with snacks, lost at sea survival games, and prize drawings!
Our free Fit for Life Exercise Class will continue from 12:00-1:00 p.m. on July 6, 11, 13, 25, and 27. We’ll have Restless Viking here to present Battles of the Great Lakes for Live @ the Library. This will be in the Community Room on Tuesday, July 12th at 7:00 p.m. We’ll also have a Movie Monday on July 11th at 2:00 p.m. to show Jaws. Rated PG; 124 min. Snacks provided! Please note that this movie was rated PG in 1975 and parents may wish to look up information about the content of the movie before bringing kids under 13. Parental attendance (if bringing children) is strongly encouraged. Adults who attend one of these events can count it as one book read on their reading log.
The Wednesday Readers book group will meet on Monday, July 11th at 7:00 p.m. to discuss The Beach House by Mary Alice Monroe. The Daytime Book Group breaks for the summer. New members are welcome to our book groups!
Let’s Go to the Fair: Burlap & Floral Wreath Class is on Thursday, July 14th from 6:00-8:00 p.m. This is a craft for ages 10 & up that could be entered into the fair if you wish. There is a $10 charge for this class to cover materials and registration is required by calling 231-928-0256.
The Fremont Area District Library’s Summer Reading Program is in full swing, and all ages are still welcome to come in and sign up to earn prizes for your reading. Children can earn a free ice cream from Elsie’s, a movie pass to Fremont Cinemas, Spanky’s pizza, a shark glider toy, a free book, Whitecaps and Griffins passes, and entry into a grand prize drawing for a trip to Great Lakes Crossings! Teens can earn free pizza from Spanky’s, ice cream from Elsie’s, a movie pass to Fremont Cinemas, a free book, and for every book they read, they can enter for chances to win many prizes from local restaurants and stores. Plus finishers will be entered into the grand prize drawing for a $100 Meijer gift card! Adults can earn free ice cream from Koffee Kuppe, a movie pass to Fremont Cinemas, a free book from the Friends Gift Shop, and for every book they read, they can enter for chances to win many prizes from local restaurants and stores. Grand prize drawings are a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card and a $100 Meijer gift card!
The Summer Reading Program is important in helping to prevent the “summer slide,” which is the tendency for students to lose some of the achievement gains they made in school the previous year. So grab some books, have fun reading, and come to our “Oceans of Possibilities” (FREE) events this summer!
This year’s Summer Reading Program is generously sponsored by: Blades Hair Design CBD Store of Michigan, Dave’s Auto Clinic, Elsie’s Ice Cream, Fremont Cinemas, Geers Family Chiropractic, Happy Hearts Naturals, Koffee Kuppe, Meijer, Moon Dance Café, Newaygo County Council for the Arts, Northern Rustic Designs, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Red Pine Crafts, Rite Aid, SHB Gifts & Décor, Spanky's, The Original Print Shop, Tractor Supply Co., Walmart, Discovery Toys (Pat Durham), Friends of the Fremont Area District Library, and the Fremont Area Community Foundation. For more information about library programs, visit
http://www.fremontlibrary.net, or call 231-924-3480.
Photo and article by Donna Iverson
Being a part of a community gardening community, we are always looking for volunteers ..volunteers to weed, water and share gardening wisdom.
But there’s another kind of garden volunteer that is equally welcomed. It’s a volunteer beneficial plant that shows up unexpectedly.
This year, two new volunteer plants showed up in my raised bed ..a sunflower and some milkweed plants.
Both are high on the list as pollinator plants attracting bees and butterflies. In fact, the endangered Monarch butterfly needs the milkweed plant to survive . Both appeared next to a sage plant to form a kind of triple pollinator grouping.
While some people plant herb gardens, or cottage gardens, or cut-flower gardens, I am focusing on growing a pollinator garden, with special attention to attracting native bees. A little research revealed that bees are attracted to yellow, purple, blue and white flowers and ironically, they are my favorites also. So herbs and flowers with these colors are being seeded. Vegetables like lettuce and arugula are being allowed to bolt, producing small yellow and white flowers that are already attracting bees. Even the parsley is doing its bit.
In the last few years, our entire community garden has focused on planting for pollinators. Dozens of milkweed now grow along the garden edges. That is probably how a milkweed seed found its way into my garden bed. More and more native plants are arriving and can be found among the herbs and vegetables. I recently spotted Joe Pye weed, yucca, coreopsis, and spiderwort to name a few.
One native plant that has arrived and is not entirely welcome is mint. It has invaded just about every raised bed in the community garden and is capable of choking out just about everything it touches. Pulling it out is difficult as it has long roots and even a piece of root that is not removed, can produce another plant. So if you love mint, plant it in a container and bury it in the garden so it’s roots can’t spread.
Finally, I can’t leave the subject of volunteer plants without mentioning lambs quarters. For years, it has unfailingly appeared as a volunteer in my garden each spring. It is edible and nutritional as well as tasty. It is one of the first spring greens to bless my plate. And while milkweed and sunflowers are showy and capture most people’s eye, the diminutive lambs quarters is also a welcome volunteer.