Guest Blogger: Cheryl Harner, Lakesider and Weedpicker’s Journal Blogger


Are you Savvy ABout Lakeside PicLakeside arguably has the most beautiful mile in Ohio. Vistas of the Lake Erie islands, quaint cottages and lovely gardens along the lakefront path attract people both day and night. Our lakefront is also the home to both native and non-native plants.

Some of the native plants have not changed much since the time the Erie Indians paddled these shores. Cottonwood trees, Hackberries and Chinquapin Oaks have stood here for hundreds of years. Wild Grapes and Virginia Creeper Vines colonized the lakefront then as they do now. However, now we have some uninvited floristic visitors.

The not-so-nice Bittersweet Nightshade, also known as Solanum dulcamara, is an example of an unwanted, non-native plant in our area. It is a member of the Solanacea, or potato/tomato family. Its pretty lavender flowers are studded with a yellow star. Unfortunately, its red berries are poisonous when eaten by humans.

However, there are many non-native plants we welcome to our lakefront community, such as well-behaved Hostas and Daylilies don’t become aggressive and push out the native flora.

Many Lakesiders are making an attempt to manually remove Bittersweet Nightshade from our lakefront. If we are able to remove the vines before the seeds ripen, we will be stopping next year’s plants before they can begin to grow.

If you would like to help remove these plants and berries next fall, be certain to put them in your trash cans. This will prevent them from dropping seeds and growing in other areas throughout Lakeside, as well as away from our child-friendly town.

We want to keep the healthy, native plants, which are beneficial to migrating birds and butterflies, but we can do without harmful plants like the Bittersweet Nightshade vine.

If you would like to learn more about Lakeside botanical history, you’re invited to join the Lakeside Environmental Stewardship Society or the Ohio Natural Areas and Preserves Assocation. For more details about the event or other activities the group participates in, visit

Do you enjoy studying the native plants throughout Lakeside? What is your favorite garden along Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile? Tell us in the comments below.


Cheryl Harner is a Lakesider who shares her thoughts and words about the beauty of Lakeside on her blog, Weedpicker’s Journal. Her childhood interest in wildflowers and butterflies developed into a life-long love of gardening and a fascination with the connections between plants, insects and birds. Read more stories from Cheryl Harner’s blog, by visiting