Hands in the Dirt: Joe-Pye-Weed
Photo and article by Donna Iverson
Fall flowering weeds that are native to North America are getting reconsideration as garden plants. Take Joe-Pye-Weed, for example. For decades considered a roadside weed, it is finding its way into more and more gardens, especially gardens with an emphasis on native plants and attracting pollinators. It is a favorite of butterflies.
Fast growing, Joe-Pye-Weed has sweet vanilla-scented white, pink, or lavender flowers and grows in any type of soil. A perennial, it is hardy and will survive Michigan winters. Like most native plants, it doesn’t need fertilizing or constant watering. It does prefer lots of sunshine and blooms from July through October. It reaches heights of five to seven feet.
Joe-Pye-Weed is best planted in spring. While it is possible to grow from seed, purchasing plants will prove more successful. Your local conservation district http://www.newaygocd.org will likely have plants for sale in April.
The plant is named for Joe Pye, a Native American who lived in Massachusetts from 1740 to 1785. His native name was Schauquetqueat. He was a medicine man, and used the plant to treat fever and urinary infections. There is, however, no scientific studies that substantiate this use. In fact, it would be dangerous to use this plant medicinally at home unless you are a trained herbalist.
All in all, there are thirty species of Joe-Pye-Weed. It grows as far east as New England and as far west as British Columbia.
Local Author Talk, Children’s “Pumpkin” Painting, & Dementia/Alzheimer’s Programs at Fremont Library
The Fremont Area District Library is planning to host several fun, free, and educational programs in October for the whole family.
Live @ the Library, a series of events including author talks and educational or entertaining programs, will include two events in October. Local author Carol Nickles will present her new book, Thumb Fire Desire on Thursday, October 6th at 7:00 p.m. One hundred and forty-one years ago, more than 2,000 square miles of forests and towns burned in the thumb-shaped peninsula of Michigan. Residents tried to outrun the flames, jumped into wells, rivers, and Lake Huron, sheltered in ice houses and cellars, under tobacco leaves and burrowed into the ground. Yet 242 people died. This tragedy is the backdrop for debut author Carol Nickles’ historical romance "Thumb Fire Desire." During this book talk, Fremont author Carol Nickles will discuss the book and the greatest natural disaster in Michigan history. She'll also answer questions.
A program about Understanding Dementia Behaviors and Enjoying Family Celebrations will take place on Thursday, October 27th at 7:00 p.m. Behavior is a powerful form of communication and is one of the primary ways for people with dementia to communicate their needs and feelings as the ability to use language is lost. However, some behaviors can present real challenges for caregivers to manage. Join us to learn to decode behavioral messages, identify common behavior triggers, and learn strategies to help intervene with some of the most common behavioral challenges of Alzheimer’s disease. Plus learn practical tips to reduce stress and agitation during holiday celebrations.
Movie Mondays are back for Fall, and we’re showing Where the Crawdads Sing, based on the very popular novel on Oct. 3rd at 2:00 p.m. (Rated PG-13; 125 min) Snacks provided! Fit for Life Exercise continues on Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:00-1:00 p.m. in the Community Room. This is a low-impact class for ALL fitness levels. Class does not take place on Oct. 10th because the library is closed. Junk Journaling, for anyone ages 10 and up, will be available in the Community Room on Thursday, October 13th from 6:00-8:00 p.m. (show up anytime between). The beginning kit is provided for free. Use up what you have and supplement with found, recycled, repurposed, and thrifted items.
Children can look forward to some fun events. We’re bringing back “Pumpkin” Painting for Kids on October 20th from 4:00-5:00 p.m. This year children will be painting a wooden pumpkin decoration. Registration is required for this event. Please call 231-928-0249 or see the Children’s Department to register. Toddler Storytime, for babies and toddlers up to age 3, will be held on Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m., and Family Storytime for children up to age 5 will be held on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m. We’ll be showing an Afternoon Movie on Thursday, October 27th at 3:30 p.m. Snacks will be served, and all are welcome. Saturday Storytime, for children up to age 5 will be on October 22nd at 11:00 a.m.
The Wednesday Readers Book Group will not be meeting in October, but the Daytime Book Group will meet on Thursday, October 27th at 12:30 p.m. The new Non-Fiction Book Discussion will be meeting by the north fireplace on Monday, Oct. 17th at 6:00 p.m. to discuss Beyond the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. Anyone is welcome to join these book groups. Please contact the Reference Desk at 231-928-0257 if interested in joining. Books for these groups are available at the library’s front desk ahead of the meeting if you’d like to check out a copy and join the group.
For more information about any of these events, please contact the library at 231-924-3480 or visit www.fremontlibrary.net.
Photo and article by Donna Iverson
There is a certain sophistication and understated beauty found in outdoor potted planters that focus on leaves instead of flowers.
Take for example this arrangement with coleus, licorice plant, and the sweet potato vine (center front). A native of the Americas, sweet potato vine is first cousin to the more commonly known sweet potato plants found in many a Michigan garden.
Ornamental sweet potato vine is drought tolerant and the vines can grow to 10 feet long. A perennial, it is hardy in zones 9 to 11 and will not survive our frigid winters. It will adjust to full sun or shade but prefers temperatures in the tropical range above 75 degrees. The color intensity of the heart-shaped leaf depends on how much sun it is exposed to with darker leaf color developing in shady spots. It will occasionally produce a small pink flower but it is extremely rare.
The underground tubers, while edible, do not compare to the regular sweet potato root we are all used to. But the tubers can be dug up in the fall and replanted in the spring. The plant can also be propagated from cuttings.
Pests include aphids and whitefly which can be removed by spraying with a hose. On the plus side, the plant requires minimal care.
If you do grow potted sweet potato vines, they can be taken inside during the winter and treated like a houseplant.
When it comes to foraging, there are two other ornamentals in addition to the sweet potato vine that have edible tubers. These include the daylily and the dahlia.
Free Flower Chat, Plant Swap
Beginning Flower Gardens at Fremont Library
Live @ the Library, a series of events including author visits and writing workshops is welcoming Laurie Platte Breza to the Fremont Area District Library to present Beginning Flower Gardens.
Learn from Laurie Platte Breza, MSU 4-H Coordinator and owner of Breza's Blooms. We will also be having a plant swap if you would like to participate in that. This free program will begin in the library’s Community Room on Tuesday, September 20th at 6:00 p.m. Cookies and beverages will be generously provided by the Friends of the Fremont Area District Library.