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Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife – April 12, 2022

rue anemones blooming

Sometimes at this time of the year, it feels like I can almost watch the world greening up. I’m in awe of how much of a difference even a single day can make. The spring ephemerals are hitting their peaks. The morels are starting to pop up. The spring peepers and leopard frogs are already calling. Our warblers are starting to show back up, and some of our year-round resident songbirds are already building nests.

rue anemones blooming
Spring ephemeral wildflowers, like these rue anemones, are filling the woods.

April is a very busy month in the gardens, in the nursery, for events and presentations, and just for getting out and enjoying nature. I had my first plant sale and related presentation of the season this past weekend at the Hopkinsville-Christian County Outdoor Living and Garden Expo. It was a great event and I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to participate. Next, I’m looking forward to participating in Lost River Cave’s Earth Week Celebration on April 23. I’ll be giving a presentation and having a native plant sale there. More details about that event are below.

April Tasks for Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife

  • Cutback the flower stalks of any vegetation that you left standing over winter.
    • Leave approximately 1-2 feet standing for the stem-nesting bees to use.
    • If you have room, gently stack or stand the vegetation that you removed so that any chrysalises or eggs hidden among the vegetation can continue to develop.
  • If you put out hummingbird feeders, now is the time to put them out.
    • Be sure to clean them properly and don’t use any red dye.
    • For more information about attracting hummingbirds to your yard, check out this recent Backyard Ecology podcast episode I did with master hummingbird bander Cyndi Routledge.
  • Native plants that have overwintered completely outside, can be planted any time now.
    • Wait until the nighttime temps are consistently above 50 degrees before planting native plants (or really any plants) that have been started as seedlings in a greenhouse / indoors or overwintered in a greenhouse.
  • Take time to enjoy the spring ephemeral wildflowers, migrating warblers, and early fireflies.

Nursery News

All of the plants from the nursery that I overwintered from last year are waking up. Some of them are loving the semi-cool days and abundant rain – I can’t believe how big they have already grown this season. Others, especially ones that bloom a little later in the year, are taking a little longer to wake up.

These wild hydrangea seedlings sprouted over a month ago! One day we’ll have them for sale, but probably not this year if they continue to grow at this rate.

For the most part, the seedlings that we’ve started for this year are also rapidly taking off. (I’ll be glad when the weather stabilizes and we can begin moving the new seedlings outside. We’re quickly running out of space inside.) However, there are a few species that always cause me to shake my head and wonder how in the world they ever survive in the wild because they are so tiny and grow so slowly when they first sprout. Wild hydrangea falls into that category. This is our first year trying to grow it and I’m completely amazed at how tiny and slow it is.

In other news, our new website is live! It has detailed information about the plants we are growing for this year, our habitat consulting services, our upcoming events, and lots of educational resources. Please check it out, let us know what you think, and share it with anyone you know in this region who is looking for native plants and/or wants help to improve their pollinator and wildlife habitat.

Upcoming Native Plant Sale

On April 23, we will be selling native plants at Lost River Cave in Bowling Green, KY from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. A list of everything that we are confident we’ll have by April 23 can be found below. A few other species may also make the sale, depending on how quickly they wake up over the next week and a half. I will be taking pre-orders for the sale.

In addition to the plant sale, I will also be giving a presentation at Lost River Cave. The presentation will be on planting for pollinators. It is $5 or free for those who volunteer at Lost River. Learn more and sign up at

Pre-order Instructions:

  • Email me a list of the species, quantities, and sizes that you want.
    • I fill pre-orders on a first come-first serve basis.
  • Once I’m sure I can fill your order, I’ll send you a total and an invoice.
  • The deadline for putting in a pre-order is noon on Thursday, April 21.

Available Items:

Books, Gift Certificates, and Honey

Attracting Pollinators and Wildlife to Your Yard: 15 Free and Easy Ways ($11)
Planting for Honey Bees in the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys ($32)
Honey from my bees in Barren County ($15)
Gift Certificates – good for any of my products or services
(you choose the amount)

Native Wildflowers for Pollinators and Wildlife (Click on a thumbnail for detailed information about that plant.)

Aster, New England
Size(s): 1 gal ($13)
Aster, Short’s
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Aster, Smooth
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Aster, Wavy
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Foxglove Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis)
Beardtongue, Foxglove
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Bee Balm / Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
Bee balm / Bergamot
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Blazing Star (Liatris squarrosa)
Blazing Star
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Eastern Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
Columbine, Eastern
Size(s): 1 gal ($13)
Grey-headed Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)
Coneflower, Grey-headed
Size(s): 1 gal ($13)
Pale-purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida)
Coneflower, Pale-purple
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Coneflower, Purple
Size(s): 1 qt ($7), 3 qt ($11)
Lance-leaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)
Coreopsis, Lance-leaf
Size(s): 1 qt ($7), 1 gal ($13)
Culver's Root (Veronicastrum virginicum)
Culver’s Root
Size(s): 1 gal ($13)
Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum)
Cup Plant
Size(s): 1 qt $7, 1 gal ($13)
Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
Hyssop, Anise
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Yellow Giant Hyssop (Agastache nepetoides)
Hyssop, Giant Yellow
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Wild Blue Indigo (Baptisia australis)
Indigo, Wild Blue
Size(s): 3 qt ($11)
Hollow Joe-pye weed (Eutrochium fistulosum)
Joe-pye Weed, Hollow
Size(s): 1 gal ($13)
Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Milkweed, Butterfly
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Milkweed, Common
Size(s): 1 qt ($7), 3 qt ($11)
Rose / Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Milkweed, Swamp / Rose
Size(s): 1qt ($7)
Hairy Mountain Mint (Pycanthemum pilosum)
Mountain mint, Hairy
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Slender Mountain Mint (Pycanthemum tenuifolium)
Mountain mint, Slender
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium)
Rattlesnake master
Size(s): 1 gal ($13)
Rosemallow (Hibiscus moscheutos)
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Purple-headed Sneezeweed (Helenium fexuosum)
Sneezeweed, Purple-headed
Size(s): 1 qt ($7), 3 qt ($11)
Maximilian Sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani)
Sunflower, Maximillian
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Rough Sunflower (Helianthus hirsutus)
Sunflower, Rough
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Susan, Black-eyed
Size(s): 1 qt ($7), 1 gal ($13)
Brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba)
Susan, Brown-eyed
Size(s): 1 qt ($7), 1 gal ($13)

Native Shrubs and Trees for Pollinators and Wildlife (Click on a thumbnail for detailed information about that plant.)

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
Size(s): 3 gal ($35)
Allegheny Chinquapin / Dwarf Chestnut (Castanea pumila)
Chinquapin, Allegheny
Size(s): 1 gal ($13)
American Elderberry (Sambucus nigra canadensis)
Elderberry, American
Size(s): 1 gal ($13)
American Hazelnut (Corylus americana)
Hazelnut, American
Size(s): 3 gal ($35)
Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)
Size(s): 3 gal ($35)
Shrubby St. John's Wort (Hypericum prolificum)
Shrubby St. John’s Wort
Size(s): 3 gal ($35)

Busy Bee Nursery and Consulting

Helping you create the pollinator and wildlife habitat of your dreams, so you can enjoy your land and care for the plants and animals that also call your property home.

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