Saturday, May 30, 2009

Natives Now Blooming

The legume flowers of Lupinus perennis, Wild Lupine, top, and Cream Wild Indigo, Baptisia leucophaea, bottom, are blooming now along with the white lacecaps of Viburnum trilobum, American Cranberrybush, middle picture. The Cream Wild Indigo's own leaves are immediately below the flowers, while above it are young leaves of Pale Purple Coneflower and to the left are Canada Milk Vetch.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Beneficial insects

Here's a link on plants that attract beneficial insects:

Beneficial Insects

At least one of the recommended plants is highly invasive however, and exotic, so I ask you to not go there. The plant is Daucus carota, Queen Anne's Lace. Also, note that Maximilian's, or Prairie Sunflower, is native to Minnesota, so plant away ! Some references show this species as needing cold moist stratification to break dormancy on the seeds. However, I found the seeds sprouting in the bag in my refrigerator after just over a week or so of this treatment, so it doesn't need as long as may be recommended. And it may not need any stratification at all, though I haven't tried that. It could also be considered invasive, though native.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Where to Purchase Native Plants

May is prime gardening season ! Who has time to blog ??? And it's so much easier to just cruise around, gawking at the other wittier and more sophisticated blogs, admiring their amazing close up photos of rare butterflies or birds which pass through their yard for only 2 hours a year. But I want to mention a few places where you can get your hands on plants or seeds to grow plants that are native to Minnesota. ( no, I haven't forgotten my unfinished post on what is a native plant, but it's GARDENING SEASON, so the whole issue will be on hold for awhile, maybe 'til the snow flies again.) First I will mention Prairie Moon Nursery, in Winona, MN. This is the place where I have obtained most of the seed from which I have grown most of the native plants that are in my yard at this point. Their online catalog boasts nearly 600 species and they have tons of cultural information on their website and in their paper catalog. They show alot of pictures and they also explain the steps to establishing a native plant community using seed. They offer 2 open houses a year, both Saturdays, this year in June and August. I highly recommend these as a fantastic day trip from the Twin Cities. You can take a guided tour of their gardens and restorations with one of their knowledgable staff, and you can also walk through their seed storage building. It's still not too late to order bare root or potted plants for immediate delivery, or even seeds for forbs or grasses which don't need stratification. (you could probably even order seed that needs to be stratified for 30 days or less and still have some growing season left for it.) Prairie Moon, highly recommended!
I have also ordered seed from Prairie Frontier in Waukesha, WI a few years back with fine results, but I don't know if you can order anything other than packets of seeds from them; I didn't see any other amount available.
I have visited Dragonfly Gardens in Amery, WI and Louie has helped me find the few things I was too impatient to grow from seed. My 2 American Hazelnuts and Chokecherry are coming along fine this Spring, along with the Fragrant Sumac. They also have a wide range of other garden plants for those non-natives you can't live without.
I have a couple plants I bought from Landscape Alternatives when they were in St. Paul, but haven't visited their newer location in the St. Croix Valley.
Other options as yet untried by me are Oak Prairie Farm, Pardeeville, WI, Kinnickinnic Native Plants, River Falls, WI, Morning Sky Greenery, Morris, MN, Outback Nursery, Afton, MN, Prairie Meadows, Lonsdale, MN, and finally, Prairie Restorations, 6 locations around Minnesota. Alot of info here to begin or continue your pursuit of a connection with the beautiful plants that graced the woods and prairies of Minnesota before the Europeans arrived. Visit, read up, and then order yourself a few species to enjoy in your own yard. Finally, I usually have my own plant sales a couple weekends in mid to late summer. Watch here for announcements.