Western Brown’s Leto excels in Australia Rockets ready for 1st season in SBAAC Paddling, hiking activities available at Ohio State Parks SB Warriors get set to hit gridiron for 2nd year of varsity football Scotty W Johnson Glenna V Moertle Ricky L Hoffer Ruth E Ward David A Watson Janet L Dotson Vilvie S King Steven C Utter Cropper joins Fallis at Bethel-Tate Local kids find success in world of martial arts 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk set for Aug. 5 Teams compete in memory of Randy Fulton Mike W Smith Roger Helton David A Borders Timothy E Argenbright Joseph W Sherrill Frances K Pedigo Cecil N Graham Sawyers charged in sex for heroin plot Group demands changes at ELSD Blanche Malblanc Pauline L Kirk Over 70 take part in 11th Joe Myers 5K Classic Lions Club 4th of July Festival brings outdoor fun to Ripley ODNR reminds visitors to swim safe this summer Changes in high school track and field/cross country rules include school issued and approved uniforms Betty L Philpott Judy B Williams Billie J Russell Remembering Ravye 25 attend volleyball camp in Fayetteville Western Brown hosts Pee Wee Football Camp Eugene L Baumann Kids enjoy a ‘Touch-a-Truck’ event in Mt. Orab New police chief takes over in Fayetteville BC Chamber moving forward on 2017 SummerFest Two killed in wrong way crash in Mt. Orab Jack Hamilton Charles L Glover Maxine M Stires Western Brown youth basketball camps a success Leto to represent Team USA in Australia Broncos hard at work in preparation for fall season Eastern approves bowling team Phyllis Ruth Lois A Manley Eddie L Carr Thomas L Carnahan Cameron Barkley Walter J McGee Gary J Graham George D Johnson Walter F Crawford Jr Charles E Meranda Jr Corbin testifies before Ohio Senate Five arrested in Hamersville drug bust Neil Diamond tribute band coming Hyde finds home at Midway Youngsters work to improve on hoop skills at Eastern basketball camps Sizer named All-District Honorable Mention Western Brown’s Barnes earns All-State, All-District honors Local players compete in SWOFCA Ron Woyan East/West All-Star Game 6th annual Ravye Williams Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament set for June 24 Clarence E Teal Rosie B Poe Monard C Boots James P Conrad James T Dinser Scott J Swearingen Eastern’s Farris earns award for top 2-point field percentage in Ohio Georgetown’s Seigla earns All-District honors OHSAA announces 2017 football regions and playoffs format Western Brown volleyball camps a success with over 100 in attendance Rigdon finishes high school running career with 10th place finish at state track and field championship meet Grace E Fite Women return to county jail as funds start to run low Georgetown Council takes action on vacant structures Veterans honored in Mt. Orab John McGee Timmy Burson Patricia A London Mary J Hall Kenneth R Behymer Western Brown’s Joe Sams commits to Marietta College WBHS to hold girls youth basketball camp Huseman signs with UC Clermont Day to continue baseball career on collegiate level at UC Clermont Western’s Pack signs with NKU WBHS to host youth boys basketball camp Eastern’s Rigdon, Hopkins are STATE BOUND James Ratliff Robert P Lesko Armstrong sentenced to twenty years on child porn possession charges Russellville hires new Village Clerk Russellville Council approves purchase of two ambulances

Prickly beauties best seen at a distance

The first time I observed the beautiful yellow blooms of the Eastern Prickly-Pear Cactus, I was on a plant rescue for the Heritage Garden at the Ohio Governor’s Residence. Large clumps were blooming everywhere along a runway close to a small airport in northern Ohio.

A few years ago, fellow OSUE Brown County Master Gardener volunteer Susan Barber shared a “start” of the prickly beauty and added a warning, “Don’t ever handle this without heavy gloves.”

I planted the cactus close to a weeping crabapple tree and soon realized I had made a serious error. I would check on the cactus every time I got the mail and would find the stems scattered and pulled up from the ground. After a closer look, I discovered deer tracks around the area. The deer were walking on the cactus to reach the crabapples. The only good news is that they may have left with a few spines in their legs.

My patch of cactus has never grown too big because of my deer “buddies,” and a few times as I have weeded around it, I accidentally touched the stems and they penetrated my cloth gloves. I spent the next few days applying liquid white glue to my fingers trying to eradicate the spines. Now I admire these beautiful yellow flowers (sometimes with red centers) from a safe distance.

Last year, the Wednesday Weeders at the Governor’s Heritage Garden enjoyed learning about cooking prickly-pear cactus. I have to admit that I will probably never try it at home after suffering through those few little spines embedded in my fingers.

Robert L. Henn, author of “Wildflowers of Ohio,” describes Eastern Prickly-Pear (Opuntia humifusa) as being recognized more often by its distinctive stems rather than by its flowers. The stems are large, flattened, jointed pads, three inches wide, and are covered with needle-like spines and tiny barbed spines that are difficult to remove from the skin. This is the only native cactus growing east of the Mississippi River. It is a rare plant in Ohio, listed as a potentially threatened species by the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves and is a native to Ohio.

Prickly-pear cactus can be found in select sites throughout Ohio and thrives in dry, rocky, sandy areas such as dunes, prairies and shores. June and July are the months you can catch this prickly beauty in bloom.

I can’t believe that it is almost time to talk about our July list of gardening tasks. My tomatoes have grown a foot with all this rain and heat. It is time to tuck the vines back inside the cages and check for signs of disease. It might be time to start the weekly preventative treatment with fungicide.

Don’t forget to email your gardening questions to OSUE Brown County Master Gardener volunteer Mike Hannah at mhannah2@msn.com.

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