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Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife – April 15, 2023

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Shannon’s Note

Eastern columbine can be a great early blooming native wildflower to add to the home garden. When the columbine starts blooming, you know the hummingbirds aren’t far behind.

Happy Native Plant Month! There are so many amazing native wildflowers blooming in our region right now. Many of our earliest spring ephemerals are fading (some have already gone to seed) and the next cast of characters are coming on strong. I highly encourage you to get out and enjoy them in their natural environments if you can.

Yesterday (Friday, April 14) was National Gardening Day. Many native plants make great additions to the home landscape. Not only can they look beautiful on their own, but they also have the added benefit of attracting and supporting a wide range of pollinators and wildlife. Nursery updates and information about our first native plant sales of the season can be found below.

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Exciting Opportunity

As part of Earth Week, we are launching a beta run of our first Design Your Pollinator and Wildlife Oasis program on April 18! (That’s next Tuesday!) We are super excited about this because it will be very different than the classes and workshops we’ve hosted in the past.

Instead, this is an intensive, 3-week, small group consultation / coaching program with an integrated community that will guide you through designing your own customized pollinator and wildlife oasis that balances your family’s desires, your property’s unique characteristics, and the needs of the pollinators and wildlife you want to attract. There will be lots of discussion and interactions with us and other members of the small group. It’s so much more than us just teaching you content.

This opportunity is limited to only 25 people and registration will close at 8:00 a.m. April 17 or when 25 people register, whichever comes first. There are only a few spots left. Visit to learn all about the beta program and to register.

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Nursery Update

The nursery is keeping us busy! We have lots of seedlings started and are still starting seeds. Those will all be ready later in the season. We are also busy going through the overwintered plants. Even though we lost some overwintering plants in the December freeze, the ones that survived are looking absolutely amazing. Below are pictures of just a few of the overwintered plants that are ready for new homes.

New species are breaking dormancy almost every day. It’s almost like opening Christmas presents, seeing which new species are coming out today. So, even if your favorite plant from last year isn’t on the list below, we’ll probably have it later in the season either as an overwintered plant or as a seedling because not all native plant species break dormancy and/or grow well early in the season.

It also doesn’t hurt to send us an email and ask about your favorite plant. Sometimes we’ll have one or two early birds of a species that are ready to sell, but we don’t always include them on the official list for pre-orders if there are only one or two. I try to keep the availability updated on the website’s full list of plants we anticipate having for this year, but sometimes we get behind on the updates especially at this time of year when availability can be changing rapidly.

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Upcoming Sales and Events

The end of April and first of May are going to be BUSY with plant sales and presentations. We love being able to help so many people create the pollinator and wildlife habitat of their dreams either through our educational content or through the plants we sell.

In addition to all the events we’re attending over the next several weeks, we’ll also be starting our summer schedule for Bowling Green and Glasgow pre-ordered deliveries in early May. Details about each event and the native plants we will have available can be found by clicking on the links below. At least for the first 2-3 sales, we’ll have a greater number of any given shrub species than we’ll have for most species of herbaceous flowers.

We are accepting pre-orders for April 22 at Lost River Cave, April 29 at the Pennyroyal Master Gardeners’ Lawn and Garden Show, and May 13 Springfest at Perryville Battlefield State Park. Pre-orders aren’t required for those events, and we’ll have plenty of other plants available. However, we have limited room in the vehicles so we have to pick and choose what we bring. Pre-ordering ensures that we’ll have the exact species and number of those plants available if you already know what you want.

Note: For those in the Bowling Green area, we are excited to announce that we have plant sales scheduled at Lost River Cave in April, May, June, August, September, and October.

Click on an event below to find out what we will have available that day. Availability is usually updated approximately a week before the event.

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April Tasks When Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife

  • It’s safe to cut back any flower stalks that you left standing over winter which you haven’t cut yet.
    • Leave approximately 18-24 inches of the stems standing for the stem nesting bees to use.
    • Don’t remove any stalks remaining from previous years because those are the stems where this year’s stem nesting bees will emerge from.
    • If possible move the cut vegetation to an area where you can prop it up or loosely pile it for another month or so in order to give all of the insects overwintering as tiny eggs or chrysalises a chance emerge.
  • 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.
  • Native plants that have overwintered completely outside, can be planted at any time because they are acclimated to the cooler nighttime temperatures and inconsistent weather that we can have in April.
  • 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.
  • Watch any bluebird or other nest boxes you may have for nesting birds.
    • Many of our raptors (hawks and owls) already have young in the nests.
    • Several of our resident songbirds are also either actively building nests or sitting on nests.
  • This is swarm season for honey bees. If you find a swarm of honey bees on your property, call your local beekeeper (if you know one) or your local extension office (they’ll put in you touch with a local beekeeper).
    • Beekeepers are always looking for swarms and will pick them up for free.
    • Note: A swarm is different from a beehive located in a tree or a building – those you’ll probably have to pay to have removed.
  • Take time to enjoy the spring wildflowers, migrating warblers, and early fireflies.
    • The spring tree top flashers, our earliest flashing firefly species, are displaying now.

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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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