Delaware County
Master Gardeners


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Welcome!

Delaware Master Gardeners are avid about horticulture and eager learners. This site is one way we share these passions and provide "environmentally sound, research-based gardening practices" with our communities.


2021 Plant Sale is coming!!!

Saturday, July 31 | 9 am - 4 pm

Delaware County Fairgrounds
Pig and Lamb Barn
236 Pennsylvania Avenue
Delaware, OH 43015

Follow our Facebook page for info about the sale and plants


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Programs

Delaware County Master Gardener Volunteer Class
September 28 to November 16, 2021, 9 am-4 pm
If you are interested in becoming a Delaware County Master Gardener Volunteer, contact Kenzie Johnston at 740-833-2030 or email johnston.589@osu.edu. The application is available here.



Ask a Master Gardener Volunteer

Answering the public's questions about gardening using science-based information is an important objective of the Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program. Submit your landscape, yard, and garden questions here.

Plant Spotlight: Coneflowers

Terri Litchfield, Delaware County Master Gardener

What comes to mind when you picture coneflowers? Purple Coneflower? Orange Coneflower? Upright Prairie Coneflower? These three examples, all from the Aster family, Asteraceae, represent the three genera of plants native to Ohio with “Coneflower” in their common names. “Cone,” of course, is a reference to the center disk of the flower head.

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

ECHINACEAS: According to the USDA P.L.A.N.T.S. Database, Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, is the only species of Echinacea native to Ohio while nationwide there are nine native species. This plant is also known by the following common names: snakeroot, Kansas snakeroot, narrow-leaved purple coneflower, scurvy root, comb flower, black susans, and hedgehog. Hedgehog seems a quite descriptive name for this particular coneflower and Echinacea comes from the Greek word for hedgehog. Plants are attractive to both nectar and seed seekers.

RUDBECKIAS: Orange Coneflower, Rudbeckia fulgida, is sometimes called Black-eyed Susan, and “Goldsturm” is a popular cultivar. Two other Rudbeckias also go by the common name Black-eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta which is a biennial that self-seeds easily, and Rudbeckia triloba, also known as Brown-eyed Susan, which can grow to 5’. Two other native Rudbeckias which may be familiar to Ohio gardeners are Rudbeckia grandiflora (Tall Coneflower) and Rudbeckia laciniata (Cutleaf or Green-headed Coneflower).

RATIBIDAS: The two Ohio native Ratibidas are Ratibida columnifera (Upright Prairie Coneflower or Mexican Hat) and Ratibida pinnata (Pinnate Prairie Coneflower or Gray-headed Coneflower). Although from the same genus, these two species have quite different forms. Upright Prairie Coneflower grows 1-2’ in height while Gray-headed Coneflower can reach 5’.

One final species of a fourth genus of coneflowers native to states south of Ohio and further west is Dracopis amplexicaulis or Clasping Coneflower.

What do you think of when you hear “coneflowers”? Echinaceas, Rudbeckias, Ratibidas, and Dracopis are all Ohio or regionally native possibilities.

From The Weed Detective

Nancy Reynolds, Delaware County Master Gardener

Tall with lovely purplish-red stems, large showy leaves and grape-cluster-like deep purple berries appearing after a pretty spray of white flowers. It can grow 6 – 10 feet tall and support small birds. What’s not to love? Pulling it out by the wheelbarrow full! That’s what!

This month’s weed is Pokeweed, also known as Pokeberry, (Phytolacca americana) is a perennial native plant that grows…well, almost anywhere! The plant is hazardous to livestock and all parts of the plant are considered toxic. The berries are particularly poisonous to humans so if you have pokeweed and small children that play in the area, be sure to keep the 2 apart! Some people consider pokeweed edible and eat poke salad in the spring after boiling the leaves, but I definitely don’t recommend it; the risk is too high.

Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)

Eradicating pokeweed is as easy as pulling it out, provided the soil is soft. For an older perennial plant with a larger root, digging may be required. The stems of pokeweed are hollow so control may be gained by cutting off the plant and pouring vinegar, salt, baking soda or weed killer into the hollow stem. As a temporary measure to reduce the spread, simply cut the flowers off before it goes to seed. Birds love the seeds and spread them liberally. Seed is viable in the soil for 40 years so this is another reason to cut off the blossoms before the seeds are produced. Wear old clothes and gardening gloves when handling pokeweed; some people are sensitive to toxins in the foliage. And, if the berries are present, you will end up with purple hands and purple-polka dotted clothing.

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Black-eyed Susan
(
Rudbeckia hirta)

Green-headed Coneflower
(
Rudbeckia laciniata)

Brown-eyed Susan
(
Rudbeckia triloba)

Gray-headed Coneflower,
(
Ratibida pinnata)