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Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife – April 14, 2024

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Shannon’s Note

Happy Native Plant Month and happy National Gardening Day! This is such an exciting time of year. Well, ok, almost every month is an exciting time of year. But this really is an exciting time of year. The early spring wildflowers are up. The dogwoods and wild black cherries are in full bloom. It won’t be long before the tulip poplars and black locust start to bloom. The butterflies are back. Our migratory birds are coming back. And of course, there’s all the planting and transplanting associated with the nursery, not to mention working on our own gardens and habitat projects. Exciting (and busy) are the only ways I know to describe this time of year. What are some of the things that you get excited about at this time of year?

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Nursery News

We are so excited by the way the seeds are germinating and growing! During the eclipse, Anthony was potting up some of the seedlings and making Little Shop of Horror references the whole time. None of the transplants have started demanding to be fed yet, so I think we’re safe. 😄

Seriously, though, the seedlings are putting on good growth. We’re still waiting for the nights to warm up before many of the seedlings really take off. We also have quite a few species that haven’t germinated yet because it’s not warm enough – those are some of the species that we typically don’t have available until late summer or fall. That’s also why the Comprehensive List and the Right Plant / Right Place Selection Guide are “works in progress.” As new species germinate, we add them to the lists.

If you ordered plugs for spring delivery, then we’ll be in touch in another week or so, but it’s looking like they’ll be ready mid-May. There’s still time to place a plug order for this fall if you’re interested in getting a larger quantity of smaller plants.

Mid-May is also when we have our first plant sales scheduled (see upcoming events below). However, if you are in Bowling Green or Glasgow and are interested in getting plants sooner, let us know. We’ll work with you to set up a time to meet if we can.

This is one of our new species this year – Venus looking-glass. See the Native Plant Spotlight below to learn more about it.

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Native Plant Spotlight

Looking for something a little different that likes to grow in areas where many other plants don’t? Then you might want to check out Venus looking-glass. We’re growing it for the first time ever this year and it’ll be ready to sell this spring. Let us know if you want some.

Venus Looking-glass (Triodanis perfoliata)

Venus Looking-glass (Triodanis perfoliata)

Height: 1 to 3 feet

Blooms: May to June

Classification: Native, Annual

Sun: Full sun to part shade

Soil moisture: Medium to dry

Provides food for:

  • Butterflies (flowers)
  • Moths (flowers)
  • Native bees (flowers)


  • Annual but will self-seed readily.
  • Prefers disturbed areas or areas with gravely or “poor” soil where there is less competition from taller vegetation which will outcompete it.
  • Flowers on lower part of stem fertilize themselves without ever opening up.

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New to the Native Plant World?

Would you like to transform your yard into a thriving ecosystem that looks beautiful, fills your family’s needs, AND attracts pollinators and wildlife?

Choosing the right native plants is key to making that dream come true. But here’s a hint, the right native plants for you may not be the right native plants for someone else.

We all have unique properties and unique situations. The right native plants for you are a customized selection that considers everything that makes you and your property unique.

There isn’t a generic, cookie-cutter list of native plants that are perfect for everyone in every situation and every location. That’s why we’re offering the Native Plants 101 Workshop: Select the Right Native Plants for Your Eastern U.S. Garden.

Register now for this live, interactive, online workshop happening on April 22, 2024, from 7:00-9:00 p.m. CT / 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET. (Replay and bonuses included.)

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Upcoming Events and Sales

We still have room for a few more activities or events this year. Please contact us if you have a community event coming up that you would like us to participate in or if you would like for us to consider being a guest vendor at your local farmer’s market.

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Backyard Ecology Resources

Did you know that Anthony and I produce a variety of free educational resources every week to help and encourage you as you grow native plants, create miniature ecosystems on your property, and attract pollinators and wildlife? Below are some of our free resources that you might enjoy.

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Subscribe to the Busy Bee Nursery and Consulting email list to have these newsletters emailed to you.

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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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