Captain Clark and the hunting party attempts hunting closer to the fort and on both sides of the river with little luck. Arriving at Fort Mandan later in the day, Clark finds several chiefs visiting with Captain Lewis.



Charles Darwin’s theory that “only the fittest survive” is a strong foundation for tree recommendations in St. Louis. Native trees have been through the ultimate test of time and should be given strong consideration when thinking about the right tree for the right place. When you plant a native species, evolutionary history is your stamp of approval.

Availability of Native Trees

Before the sale of trees and shrubs became big business, few exotics (or non-natives) were used in common landscapes. World travelers had the privilege of collections, but most homes relied on the use of natives or near natives.

unfortunately, it is now sometimes difficult to find a good selections of natives at garden centers and nurseries. Often, it is a combination of factors which make it difficult for nurseries to carry native plants.

Fortunately, some nurseries are taking an active role in education. Species selection and recommendations are taking on a more native tone. Greenscape Gardens carries a larger selection of natives now, than 10 years ago.

One reason for the reluctance to carry native trees is their difficulties in transplanting. Many of the natives have a terrible track record in surviving the move from grower, to garden center, to your landscape. During the transplanting process, up to 90% of a tree’s root system may be disturbed or lost.

Native Trees to Consider for the St. Louis Area

DOWNY SERVICEBERRY (Amelanchier arborea) A small tree with elegant drooping clusters of white flowers in early spring. Typically flowers two weeks before the dogwood. A reddish-purple berry ripens in June and is a preferred food of many wildlife species. Full shade or partial sun. Good border plant. A great choice for early spring flowers.

HAZEL ALDER (alnus serrulata) A small tree that can grow by suckers and colonize an area. Excellent for difficult to plant areas that are wet and boggy. Nice show of yellowish catkins in early spring. The fruit is a very interesting, small wood cone-like structure.

BLACKGUM (nyssa sylvatica) A medium to large tree (35-60 feet) with excellent red fall color. When low branches are pruned, the tree is excellent for streets and yards as a shade tree. If the low branches are left intact, the tree becomes a wide spreading specimen that literally glows red in the fall. Found on wet sites and dry rocky hillsides. Free of serious pests.

YELLOWWOOD (Cladrastis lutea) A 30-50 foot tall tree with a rounded outline. White clusters of fragrant flowers bloom in May. The bark is smooth and grayish in color. Nice ornament for medium sized planting space.

RIVER BIRCH (Betula nigra) Found along streams, this tree also does well in urban soils. An excellent alternative to white birches because it is resistant to the bronze birch borer. For those who prefer the whitish bark of the white birches a variety of river birch known as “Heritage” is widely available. It has a very white bark instead of the brownish tinge found in common river birches. The “Heritage” variety is also native to the St. Louis area. Another variety that does well in the St. Louis area is “Duraheat”. River Birch is grown as a single trunk tree or as a multi-stemmed clump.

SWAMP OAK (Quercus bicolor) A large growing shade tree that is easier to transplant than the white oak. It requires acid soil. Grows more rapidly than white oak.

These represent a very small sampling of native trees that can be employed in the landscape. Just remember these points: First, natives make a good alternative to what has become the normal choice for most homeowners. Consider using the river birch instead of the European white birch or the serviceberry is a wise decision over the common Bradford Pear, and the list goes on.

Greenscape Gardens carries many of the Missouri native trees and will continue to stock natives whenever available from the growers.



Long, hot summer days can be hard on ornamental landscape plants and increase the demands on gardeners. To reduce the chance of damage and cut down on your own work and frustration later, it is important to send plants into summer well-prepared for the season’s worst.

Ample moisture, which is essential for good plant production, becomes critically important in the summer. Because continual water is often costly and time consuming, it pays to conserve the moisture. And with trees, shrubs and flowers, the best way to do this is by mulching. A good mulch not only retains precious moisture, but it also provides several other benefits.

Mulch insulates the soil and protects it from the drying and hard baking effects of the hot sun and winds. Mulched soils are cooler than unmulched soils and generally show less fluctuation in soil temperature. Cooler, more even temperatures and less moisture evaporation from the soil surface allows plants to grow at a more constant rate.

Mulches also break the force of rain and irrigation water and tend to prevent erosion, soil compaction and crusting. Mulch helps the soil absorb water more readily and helps prevent rain or overhead irrigation from splashing soil.

The mulch covering also prevents germination of many weed seeds. Fewer weeds provide less competition from available moisture and nutrients. Using mulches to control weeds is much safer than using chemical weed controls or risking damage to tender, newly formed roots by cultivation.

Mulches are usually applied two to three inches deep. In general, the coarser the material, the deeper the mulch should be. For example, a 2 inch layer of grass clippings will have the same mulching effect as 6 inches of bark chunks.

There are inorganic mulches such as gravel or crushed rock. Many find this attractive in the landscape, but it does little in preventing the soil from drying out and since it reflects the sun, it will actually dry the plant out quicker.

By far, the more common and better mulches are the organic types. There are many of these and the selection is usually based on appearance desired and availability at the garden center.

A few of the more widely used organic mulches include: hardwood bark (coarse or Ozark black), grass clippings, leaf mold, wood chips and compost. Your choice should be weed free, clean, and long lasting. Organic mulches improve the soil structure when they break down and decompose in the soil, providing better aeration, drainage and water holding ability.

Even though peat moss can be an excellent conditioner when worked into the soil, it often makes a poor mulch because it draws up moisture and tends to pack and crust over the upper soil. Wood chips and sawdust will often rob the soil of available nitrogen, which is essential for plant growth. If you do use wood chips or sawdust, it is advisable to replenish the nitrogen source.

Proper mulching is a wise investment choice for the vitality of your trees, shrubs, flowers and general landscape. As well as protecting the tree from injuries from lawn mowers and nylon weed eaters. The bottom line is simple, mulch your landscape to create healthy plants.



On the twelfth day of Christmas my human gave to me:

Twelve bags of catnip!
Eleven tarter Pounce treats,
Ten ornaments hanging,
Nine wads of Kleenex,
Eight peacock feathers,
Seven stolen Q-tips,
Six feathered balls,
Four munchy house plants,
Three running faucets,
Two fuzzy mousies,
And a hamste-e-er in a plastic ball!!



A man came down with the flu and was forced to stay home one day. He was glad for the interlude because it taught him how much his wife loved him.

She was so thrilled to have him around that when a delivery man or the mailman arrived, she ran out and yelled, "My husband's home! My husband's home!"