What’s Up with WOK, May 2024

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Plant Delivery from Bay College

Anne Okonek, a member of the Central U.P. Wild Ones chapter, delivered over 20 flats of native plants to Houghton, including a bunch of old favorites, plus a new one: rosinweed, a super plant in restoration situations. They’ll be ready to go in the ground soon; see the sale story below.

The plants come courtesy of Bay College’s Brian Black, who raises the plants and provides them to WOK free of charge. Thanks again, Brian.

What you’ve all been waiting for: Sales info

The pickup date for our online sale is tentatively set for June 22-23. And we are planning a popup sale for members sometime before then. I don’t mean to be vague; we just want to make sure we have enough sellable plants ready to make you happy. Stay tuned.

Gift to the Hancock Volunteer Fire Department

The Wild Ones Keweenaw Chapter Board of Director voted unanimously May 21 to donate $200 to the Hancock Volunteer Fire Department.

Prairies do best when managed by fire, and by this spring the unburned mini-prairie at the Hancock Beach Bioswale had over 10 years of thatch accumulated. Led by Chief Bill Lepisto, the department burned half the bioswale, leaving the rest as a refuge for invertebrates. Lepisto said they plan to burn the other half of the bioswale this fall.

The board voted unanimously to show Wild Ones’ appreciation by supporting the fire department via a $200 donation.

“We really appreciate the time and effort the firefighters have put into this project,” WOK president Marcia Goodrich said. “They did a spectacular job, and we’re looking forward to working with them in the future.”

Transplanting bee coming May 29; you’re invited

WOK director David Hunter will be hosting a potting party at his home, 14500 Korhonen Road, Baraga, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 29. Everyone is welcome to come help pot seedlings for our upcoming native plant sales, which are WOK’s biggest fundraiser.

This follows on the heels of the potting party hosted by director Audra Thurston on May 18. Many hands make light work: We turned out about 30 flats of common milkweed, heliopsis, and lots more.

Huge kudos to David and Audra for raising WOK plants in their greenhouses this year. Thanks to them, this could be our best sales year ever, both in the number and quality of native plants available to local gardeners.

Show Me, Help Me Day + Potluck Sunday, June 9

WOK members are invited to a Show Me, Help Me Day on Sunday, June 9, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.-ish, featuring the gardens of Josh Roys and Erin Morris in Calumet and Deb Kinzi and Mike Irish in Houghton.

We’ll meet at Josh and Erin’s and check out their property; they are in the process of evaluating it and would love more ideas. Then we’ll head over the Deb and Mike’s, where we’ll visit their garden and share a potluck. Deb will be serving her famous lemon bars.

If you’d like to attend, mark your calendars; more information will be coming soon.

WOK Supports Barberry Trade-up Days

The WOK board has agreed in principle to help fund KISMA’s Barberry Trade-up Days if needed.

KISMA (Keweenaw Invasive Species Management Area) will be encouraging gardeners to dig up and dispose of their Japanese barberry bushes in August. Barberry Trade-up Days springs from the statewide Go Beyond Beauty (GBB) initiative, which encourages nurseries not to sell invasive plants, including barberry. KISMA recently became a GBB hub.

In return for their barberry, gardeners will receive a coupon good for $10 off a native shrub. KISMA’s funds are limited, so if the program is successful beyond our wildest dreams and breaks KISMA’s budget, WOK will help pay for additional coupons. The exact financial commitment will be determined later.

Farmers’ Market Update

Members have signed up to staff 14 local farmers’ markets through July, plus we will be preaching the native plant gospel at Strawberry Fest and Bridgefest this year for the first time.

Most markets are fully staffed, but a few could use an additional volunteer. If you’d like to find out what it’s all about, sign up here or contact Marcia. You don’t have to be an expert to help, but helping could make you an expert.