Learn gardening practices in new MetroParks course

Successful indoor gardening requires knowledge of both plant material and growing techniques. Learning how to select the right plants for your indoor space, houseplant basics, light levels and temperatures can increase your plant’s survival rate. Because even though we can control our indoor environment more steadily than the outdoors, at times it seems harder to keep plants alive. However, benefits of having plants indoors through the winter and even year-round are numerous and might outweigh the perceived barriers of their survival rate.

Plants can be mood enhancers, reducing stress, anger, fatigue and anxiety. NASA studies have shown that certain species of indoor plants reduce air pollution by removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde and trichloroethylene, an industrial solvent. Of course, there is an increase of oxygen levels when plants are present due to the process of photosynthesis. More and more research is being conducted each month about the benefits of raising indoor plants.

How can you learn more about successfully caring for indoor plants? A new course is being offered at Mill Creek MetroParks starting this month. Over four sessions, the course will cover houseplant basics, plant selections, lighting, temperature and more, plus go in-depth with unique indoor specimens, from orchids to succulents to air plants. Each session is taught by leading local and regional horticulture experts. Joe Mehalik, greenhouse manager at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in Akron starts off the course Feb. 27 with the basics of houseplant care. Learn from the houseplant guru, Lisa Eldred Steinkopf on March 20 about air plants and what to do with the plants you receive during holidays. April showcases local experts Dave Miller, orchids (April 17); Carol A. Knock, succulents; and Marie Borocz, terrariums (April 24) – and their knowledge and talents for raising these unique indoor plants.

The indoor gardening course is offered as part of the John and Doris Andrews Horticulture Certificate Program, which is sponsored through Friends of Fellows Riverside Gardens. The Andrews Horticulture Program gives you, the home gardener, the knowledge and skill to select plants and to successfully cultivate your home landscape. The curriculum assists you in developing the gardening techniques best suited for Ohio gardens. Learn through lectures, engaging labs outside at Fellows Riverside Gardens, and optional hands-on volunteer work. Previous and upcoming courses include: The Fundamentals of Green Gardening, Garden Design for the Home Landscape, and Plant Propagation.

To learn more about the Indoor Gardening course, which will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays starting Feb. 27, contact Fellows Riverside Gardens at 330-740-7116 or www.millcreekmetroparks.org.

View the full article at vindy.com

Jeff Harvey to serve on the Mill Creek MetroParks board

Mahoning County Probate Judge Robert N. Rusu Jr. tonight swore in Jeff Harvey to serve on the Mill Creek MetroParks board. 

Another new appointment to the board, Paul Olivier, will be sworn in at a later date, as he was unable to attend the MetroParks board meeting tonight. 

Judge Rusu called Harvey and Olivier “just as diverse” as the park itself. Harvey is a longtime park volunteer; owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in Boardman; and president of the local Audubon Society. Olivier is a Mercy Health executive.  

Judge Rusu said Harvey will bring nature education, wildlife and conservancy expertise to the board, while Olivier will bring his knowledge of business and handling budgetary issues. 

Harvey and Olivier replace Tom Shipka and John Ragan, who did not seek reappoint when their board terms expired at the end of 2017. 

View the full article at vindy.com

Notice of MetroParks Standing Committee Meeting

The Environment Standing Committee to the Board of Park Commissioners will meet on Thursday, February 15, 2018, at 1 p.m. in Classroom A at the MetroParks Farm in Canfield.

Notice of February Board Meeting

A Regular Meeting of the Board of Park Commissioners of Mill Creek MetroParks will be held on Monday, February 12, 2018, at 6 p.m., in McMahon Hall, at the MetroParks Farm, in Canfield, on Rt. 46. The agenda will be available after 2 p.m. on the day of the meeting.

Orchid show brings early spring to Fellows Riverside Gardens

Temperatures have dipped into the teens and lower. Snow melts just long enough to tease with patches of ugly brown grass before a new layer of white stuff covers them.

It’s the kind of weather that makes one dream of a vacation to a tropical locale, even if that bank account balance is a constant reminder that the only affordable destination is the hardware store for a new snow shovel.

The snow still is visible looking out the windows at Fellows Riverside Gardens’ D.D and Velma Davis Education & Visitor Center, but inside it’s filled with tropical sights for the annual Jewels of Winter Orchid Exhibit, which is on display through March 11.

“It’s a glimpse of spring,” said Rob Chismar, garden supervisor for Mill Creek Metroparks. “Even though the orchid is not typically a spring flower, it’s just so nice to come out of the snow and ice outside and see these beautiful and fragrant flowers. It’s a sensory experience at an otherwise snowy time of year.”

While some orchids like the Phaleanopsis Blume (or moth orchid) can be found at floral shops year round, many of the flowers on display at the gardens are more rare, both in this region and at this time of year.

At least 150 different types of orchids will be shown.

“There are so many different varieties, so many different types,” Chismar said. “Most folks are familiar with what they see when they go to the big box stores, but there are just so many different varieties and types. There’s something for everyone with orchids, whether you like color, whether you like fragrance, whether you like more of a foliage-based look to a plant. They’re just a bit more exotic than what you find in our area.

“Many orchids are native to a Costa Rican environment, so you don’t see these unique specimens every day.”

Some of flowers have a bell-like bloom on them that has earned them the nickname lady slipper; other features two of the blooms to create a pair of lady slippers. Some have characteristics that make them resemble animal heads. The unique qualities of each plant make the show particularly popular with photographers.

The center has a geothermal design that helps regulate the temperature inside, but Chismar said they need to take additional care about not leaving the loading dock open too long or doing anything else that could drop the temperature inside.

It’s not just the temperature that can make raising orchids a challenge. Chismar explained that orchids are epiphytes, which means they grow on another type of plant material.

“They don’t like someone to come up with a watering can and just dump water on them,” he said. “They need to have that oxygen around their root base … You have to have the right potting media for every orchid — moss, bark, you have to find what works best for that particular type of orchid.

“You have to understand, if an orchid is struggling, you can’t go, ‘Oh, it needs water,’ and grab a water can and some Miracle Gro and toss it on there. We have to err on the side of caution. We’ll do a finger test on every single plant for the duration of the show. If they’re dry, we may supplement them with some water. Others may not need water for the duration of the show.”

This is the 60th anniversary of Fellows Riverside Gardens, which influenced the design of the show.

“We’ve tried to incorporate into almost every show or thing we do this year some type of diamond theme,” Chismar said. “There are a a lot of geometric shapes, diamond shapes. It’s a little more formal than last year’s orchid show. That was done deliberately to let the orchids shine through, to let the beauty of the blooms be at the forefront.”

View the full article at tribtoday.com

Twice Loved Book Sale at Fellows Riverside Gardens

Peruse the tables in the Maxine Antonucci Horticulture Library for much loved books on gardening, cooking, crafts, nature, and more. There will also be magazines for sale. All proceeds benefit the Maxine Antonucci Horticulture Library at Fellows Riverside Gardens. The sale runs February 17 through February 25 from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm at Fellows Riverside Gardens, open Tuesdays through Sundays. Cash or check only. For questions and more information, call Fellows Riverside Gardens at 330.740.7116 or visit www.millcreekmetroparks.org.

Niles man celebrates running anniversary by raising money for MetroParks

Since Jan. 4, 1998, Bo Marchionte hasn’t missed a single day of running.

Rain or shine, in the freezing cold or sweltering heat, the Niles resident laces up his running shoes and puts in the miles.

Many of those miles have been logged in one location: Mill Creek Park. Just about every day for the past decade or so, the park has been his chosen running spot.

It helps that it’s close to home, but it’s more than that: It’s thousands of acres of natural terrain, preserved right next door to the city’s urban core.

“I’m not a world traveler by any stretch, but I don’t think people realize how blessed we are to have this here,” said Marchionte, after finishing up his daily run recently.

As the 20th anniversary of his unbroken running streak approached, Marchionte planned to have a little celebration with his family and friends. After he talked to a friend with experience in fundraising, however, the celebration turned into an effort to help the MetroParks.

A $2,500 goal was set. By the end of the fundraising push last month, Marchionte had raised $5,259 for the MetroParks’ foundation, thanks to donations from family, friends, local businesses and an event at Primanti Bros. restaurant in Niles.

The proceeds will start a new endowment fund for the upkeep of the MetroParks’ trail systems. Those interested in contributing to the fund can contact Chris Litton, MetroParks development director, atLitton@millcreekmetroparks.org.

“I am amazed at this long-term effort and dedication brought forth by Bo,” Aaron Young, MetroParks executive director, said. “With the MetroParks’ newly established endowment fund, this donation will aid in the continued enhancement of the MetroParks trail system for the enjoyment of our park visitors.

“This is a great example of setting a goal and working hard to make an impact with friends and family supporting you along the way,” Young added.

For Marchionte, contributing to the park’s preservation is special. He said it feels good to know that, thanks in part to his efforts, future generations will be able to enjoy the same trails he uses on a daily basis.

His runs take him all over the park – Fellows Riverside Gardens, Lanterman’s Mill, the Bears Den area.

“That’s the best part of the park – you can get around everywhere,” Marchionte said.

Usually, he will run 8 to 10 miles, and sometimes longer if he feels like it.

“It’s not a burden to me,” Marchionte said of running. “I want to be here. I wish I could have run 100 miles today.”

“I can’t explain it – I just love it,” he said.

View the full article at vindy.com

Canfield Joint Fire District Ice Rescue Training to take place at MetroParks Farm

On Saturday, February 3, 2018, from approximately Noon – 4 pm and Monday, February 5, from approximately 5 pm – 10 pm, the Canfield Joint Fire District will be conducting ice rescue training at the pond at the MetroParks Farm in Canfield. In the event there is a cancellation, the makeup date will be February 12, 2018 from approximately 5 pm – 10 pm.

Mill Creek MetroParks presents Jewels of Winter Orchid Exhibit

Mill Creek MetroParks will be hosting the Jewels of Winter, a wonderful celebration and display of orchids at Fellows Riverside Gardens during their normal hours of operation from February 6 – March 11, 2018. Orchids are the crown jewels of the plant world, full of color and allure. Let them dazzle you with their brilliance and splendor! Bring your camera, as there will be a kaleidoscope of flowers to photograph. Fellows Riverside Gardens is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For questions and more information, please call 330.740.7116.

Judge Rusu announces new Mill Creek MetroParks board members

Judge Robert N. Rusu Jr. of Mahoning County Probate Court has appointed Jeff Harvey and Paul Olivier to fill two open seats on the Mill Creek MetroParks board.

Harvey and Olivier replace two board members who did not seek reappointment when their terms ended last month.

Harvey is a local business owner, president of Audubon Society of Mahoning Valley, and longtime park volunteer.

Olivier is senior vice president/chief network integration officer at Mercy Health.

View the full article at vindy.com