Ring Around the Roses

Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern

With summer in full bloom, so are the roses at Fellows Riverside Gardens! Known for its beautiful displays of annuals, perennials and bulbs, Fellows Riverside Gardens is also home to roses of all classes. Despite their delicacy and beauty, roses have the stubborn reputation of being hard to care for. With that in mind, the Mill Creek MetroParks Horticulture Department’s Assistant Horticulture Director, Ellen Speicher, provided me with helpful tips for tending to these beautiful flowers!

Roses-KidstonER: Roses have a reputation of being finicky flowers that are hard to care for; is this true?

ES: Actually, no. However, because of the climate in this area, some roses are very susceptible to fungal diseases, such as black spot. Hybrid tea roses, with their long stems and large flowers, require more maintenance as opposed to other types of roses. Old-fashioned shrub roses and the newest modern shrub roses, often called landscape roses, require little care. These are vigorous shrub roses that have greater disease resistance and don’t require frequent pruning or fertilizing.

ER: What are some helpful tips for caring for roses?

ES: All roses require full sun and at least one inch of water per week. During the hot summer weeks, they may need to be hand watered if there has not been enough rainfall.  Fertilizing helps! I recommend mixing 2” of compost around each plant every year which adds nutrients and helps loosen the soil. It also helps to supplement with additional fertilizer. This is done once a month at Fellows Riverside Gardens. Also, don’t prune your roses in the fall! Pruning promotes growth and the new growth will just be killed by cold winter weather. It’s best to prune your roses early in the spring.  At the Gardens, we prune the roses in March or April, depending on the weather.

ER: What type of roses can we expect to see at Fellows Riverside Gardens this summer?

ES: We have so many roses at Fellows Riverside Gardens! We have hybrid tea roses, English roses, floribundas, grandifloras, hybrid perpetual roses and many old-fashioned shrub roses.

SingleRoseER: What is your favorite type of rose at Fellows Riverside Gardens?

ES: It’s so hard to pick! I would have to say the hybrid perpetual roses that are located around the Gazebo. Hybrid perpetuals are large plants that bear large flowers which are extremely fragrant! My favorite color of rose is pink.

CHECK IT OUT: Located in the Modern Rose Garden at Fellows Riverside Gardens is an unusual lavender rose. Can you find it? Take a picture and tweet it @MillCreekMetro!

ER: Any final tips for caring for roses this summer?

ES: With all of the rainy weather, conditions for black spot are heightened. Black spot is a fungal disease that attacks the leaves of plants. If conditions were drier, black spot would not be as much of a threat, however the humidity and wetness provide the conditions for this disease to spread. If you begin to see spots of black on the leaves of your roses, pinch them off to stop the spread of black spot.

Thank you, Ellen, for all of the helpful advice on tending to roses!

Come to Fellows Riverside Gardens to explore, experience, and enjoy the MetroParks beautiful display of roses!

Live! at the Morley with Blue Lunch

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Blog Author: Ellie Rafoth, Community Engagement Intern

This week on Wednesday, July 9, Blue Lunch is playing at the Judge Morley Pavilion at the Wick Recreation Area as a part of Mill Creek MetroParks’ summer concert series Live! at the Morley!

Looking forward to tomorrow’s performance is Bob Frank, Blue Lunch’s guitarist, with an inside look at this blues-swing band!

ER: What is Blue Lunch’s history?

BF: The band started up in 1984 as a spinoff of the Cruise Masters; another local band that is still playing. Around 1995, the band began taking a new direction, which is when I joined. We began replacing members, and Pete London is the only member left from the original band. By 1997-98, all of the group’s members were in place, and we have been together for sixteen years. As of now, all of Blue Lunch’s members reside on the Eastside of Cleveland.

ER: How many members are there of Blue Lunch and who are they?

act-bluelunch-mainBF: There are eight members of Blue Lunch. I am the guitarist and one of the vocalists. I also contribute as the primary songwriter and producer for the band’s recordings. Also a member of Blue Lunch is Bob Michael, an accomplished trombone player who brings a wealth of musical experience to Blue Lunch. Our saxophone player is Chris Burge who began his music career at The Ohio State University and now plays with many groups including Blue Lunch. Pete London is our front man of the group as he is our harmonica player and vocalist. Pete is the unofficial leader of Blue Lunch and the only original member of the band. Mike Rubin is our trumpet player who brings a lifetime of professionalism to the Blue Lunch band as a much in demand session player. Holding the drum position in Blue Lunch is Scott Flowers who played on the first Blue Lunch recording and now plays again on our fifth and newest cd, Sideswiped. Expert on both electric and upright basses in Blue Lunch is Ray DeForest and lastly, Mike Sands brings his traditionally based piano playing to Blue Lunch on the keyboard.

ER: What type of music does Blue Lunch play?

BF: That is the hardest question to answer! We play every facet of blues, from low down delta blues to jazz and everything in between. We put a lot of emphasis on Memphis and New Orleans soul.

ER: Besides Live! at the Morley, where else can we expect to see Blue Lunch?

BF: After Live! at the Morley, we will be playing at John Carroll University in University Heights, OH on Thursday, July 10. You can also see us at Shaker Square in Cleveland, OH on Saturday, July 19. On August 29, we will perform in the Legacy Village Concert Series in Legacy Village in Lyndhurst, OH.

For a complete list of live show dates for Blue Lunch, please visit to see all of the places you can find Blue Lunch this summer!

ER: Any big news or closing thoughts about the band?

BF: Our biggest news is that we signed with a west coast record company called Ripcat Records. This was unexpected, and the cd contains material from all six previous Blue Lunch CDs as well as new material. Blue Lunch Special, is out to commemorate our 30th anniversary as a band which takes place in 2014. This will be our first significant release in a while!

Thanks Bob and Blue Lunch for sharing your musical talents with us this summer during Live! at the Morley!

For more information about Blue Lunch, please visit Check out to view a complete schedule of other bands playing Live! at the Morley in the MetroParks’ summer concert series! Hope to see you at the Morley enjoying the bluesy sounds of Blue Lunch tomorrow!

USDA, ODNR perform goose management in Mill Creek MetroParks

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), under the supervision of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), conducted goose management this morning in Mill Creek Park. Utilizing methods recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association, Canada geese were humanely euthanized by USDA.

For years, Mill Creek MetroParks has been addressing goose management issues. We have taken steps utilizing various methods to address these issues, including harassment (flare guns, predator decoys, and dogs), egg addling (treatment of eggs to prevent development/hatching; performed under ODNR permit), habitat modification, and educating the public about not feeding wildlife. These methods have proven unsuccessful; therefore, with a permit from ODNR, the roundup is the next step to reduce the population to a more manageable level. Mill Creek MetroParks is not authorized by ODNR to relocate the geese.

Mill Creek MetroParks has observed and received numerous complaints from visitors whose MetroParks experience has been negatively impacted by geese due to their droppings and aggressive behavior. Goose droppings contain E.coli and other potential pathogens, and the excessive goose droppings in Mill Creek Park can be a disease concern for both people and pets. The large volume of droppings in public areas has created a safety hazard for people. Geese in Mill Creek Park have lost their fear of humans and become aggressive. MetroParks staff has observed incidents where children and adults were in danger of being bitten or attacked by geese while enjoying the MetroParks. The large goose population has also impacted the habitats in Mill Creek Park through overgrazing of grass and landscape plantings, trampling of vegetation, and erosion of shorelines.

“It’s unfortunate that it has come to this point,” said Dennis Miller, executive director of Mill Creek MetroParks. “After consulting with ODNR, this was determined to be the next step and should give us more success for nonlethal management in the future. Management of natural resources, trees, and wildlife is something we take very seriously at the MetroParks and all options are explored prior to making decisions.”

Due to concerns about the possibility of heavy metals and contamination in wild resident geese, MetroParks policy is to not donate the meat.

The public can help Mill Creek MetroParks manage the goose population by not feeding the waterfowl/wildlife. Although it can be entertaining to feed the animals, the food normally given is not appropriate for them and contributes to contamination, overpopulation, and aggressive conflicts.

For more information about Canada goose management, visit our Goose Management page, or contact ODNR or USDA.

For more information about our “Do Not Feed the Wildlife” campaign, visit our “Do Not Feed the Wildlife” page.