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Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife – April 30, 2022

First, thank you to everyone who came out to Lost River Cave last weekend to listen to my presentation, purchase plants or other items from me, and talk with us. It was an amazing event with absolutely perfect weather! We’re hoping to work with Lost River Cave to do more of these types of events this year. As a side note, I saw my first monarch butterfly of the season while I was at Lost River Cave last Saturday. We saw them on Sunday at our farm.

Thank you to Lost River Cave and everyone who came out to see us last Saturday! We really enjoyed it!

Second, I want these newsletters to be more than just a listing of items that I have for sale. I want them to provide value for you too, which is why I have been sharing the monthly pollinator and wildlife gardening tasks. As we’re moving into the growing season, I will be sending these newsletters out every other week and I wanted to have something else of value to offer you in the additional newsletter. I know I learn best when I do something or when I see someone else do it. So, I thought I would try walking you through some of my gardening activities and let you see first-hand how I do things – the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’ll see how this goes. The first installment in this new segment is below.

In My Pollinator and Wildlife Gardens

I have BIG landscaping plans for around our house and the front yard. Accomplishing everything I want to do is going to be a multi-year project. One of the things I want to do this year is work on the landscaping going around our house. Right now, there really isn’t anything there. I want to have a giant flowerbed encircling the house.

The yarn wasn’t showing up in the picture, so I traced it with the red line. Eventually this bed will be part of a bed that wraps all the way around the house which is why the yarn / red line doesn’t meet up with the corner of the house. (Looking at this picture, I also realize that we really need to wash the siding at some point.)

My plan is to break the flowerbed around the house up into sections instead of trying to do everything at once. (My usual mode of action is to try to do everything, which inevitably results in me becoming overwhelmed and not able to keep up. I’m trying to do better.) The first place I’m going to start is with the corner of the house that is right outside my office window. I work from home so having a beautiful view with lots of pollinators and wildlife is important to me.

Earlier this week, we cut the grass and old goldenrod stems in the general area where I want to put the new bed. I also raked off all the thatch so that any bare soil is exposed to the sun and any weeds can germinate. I know going into this that I’m going to have multiple challenges because I didn’t do any site prep last year. Instead, I let a bunch of the tall field goldenrods grow up outside my window last summer and then let that stand all winter so I could watch the birds forage in it. This is a classic case of “do as I say, not as I do,” because I really should spend this year prepping the site and getting rid of the grass and goldenrod before I plant, but I’m not that patient. Between the goldenrods and the grass, if I’m not careful, this new garden bed could quickly become over run.

I used yarn to draw the outline of the bed on the ground. They make spray paint that you can use to mark the ground, but I’m not a fan of those simply because I can’t erase a spray paint line. If I don’t like what I “drew” with yarn, then all I have to do is pick up the yarn. (I tie it around rocks to keep it from blowing away or moving once I have the outline figured out.) An old garden hose can be used in the same way. Once the grass and the goldenrod start to regrow a little bit, Anthony will spray everything inside the outline of my new garden bed with an herbicide. After that I’ll be ready to start working in the bed and will share the next steps in creating this garden bed in the next edition of this segment.

Nursery News

The weather is finally stabilizing and the new seedlings that we started inside are being moved outside. Everything that we overwintered outside is growing like crazy. Even the plants that take a little longer to wake up in the spring are starting to show new growth.

I’m really excited because we now have orange jewelweed, evening primrose, and royal catchfly available. The evening primrose and royal catchfly are ready for the first time this season. The orange jewelweed is not only ready for the first time this season, but this is also the first year we’ve had it for sale.

For those of you who know that almost everything we grow is a perennial, I wanted to point out that evening primrose is a biennial and orange jewelweed is an annual. However, both self-seed readily and will be able to maintain themselves as long as you let them go to seed.

Bee News

The bees are doing really well and are rapidly building their populations back up after the winter. The next month or so will be very busy for the bees. The black cherry started blooming about a week ago and the black locust just started blooming. The tulip poplar shouldn’t be terribly far behind. Much of the nectar that goes into producing spring honey in this region comes from black locust, tulip poplar, and other trees and shrubs that bloom at the same time. When those plants are blooming, it is game on for the honey bees. (Which also makes it a busy time for beekeepers.)

Upcoming Deliveries

On May 6 and May 7, I will be doing pre-ordered deliveries in Glasgow and Bowling Green respectively. Meeting details for each location are below.

  • Glasgow
    • Friday, May 6, 2022 at 5:30 p.m.
    • Beaver Trail Park parking lot
  • Bowling Green
    • Saturday, May 7, 2022 at 10:00 a.m.
    • parking lot of the WKU Small Business Development Center (a.k.a. old mall)

Ordering Logistics and What to Expect

  • E-mail the following information to
    • List of items, sizes, and quantities that you want to order.
  • Ordering deadline: noon on the Thursday, May 5.
    • Orders are filled in the order that I receive them.
    • I will make sure I have everything you want and send you the total for the order.
  • On the day of the delivery:
    • I will have your order ready to go when you arrive.
    • You can pay by cash, check, or card.
    • If you are not satisfied with any of the plants that I picked for you, please let me know before you leave with them and I will be happy to keep those plants. I am not responsible for plants after you take possession of them.

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, Short’s
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Foxglove Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis)
Beardtongue, Foxglove
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Blazing Star (Liatris squarrosa)
Blazing Star
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Royal Catchfly (Silene regia)
Catchfly, Royal
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Grey-headed Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)
Coneflower, Grey-headed
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Pale-purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida)
Coneflower, Pale-purple
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Coneflower, Purple
Size(s): 1 qt ($7), 1 gal ($13)
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
Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
Hyssop, Anise
Size(s): 1 qt ($7), 1 gal ($13)
Yellow Giant Hyssop (Agastache nepetoides)
Hyssop, Giant Yellow
Size(s): 1 qt ($7), 3 qt ($11)
Wild Blue Indigo (Baptisia australis)
Indigo, Wild Blue
Size(s): 1 qt ($7), 3 qt ($11)
Orange jewelweed / Orange touch-me-not (Impatiens capensis)
Jewelweed, Orange
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
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)
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)
Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)
Primrose, Evening
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)
Brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba)
Susan, Brown-eyed
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)

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 Hazelnut (Corylus americana)
Hazelnut, American
Size(s): 3 gal ($35)
Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)
Size(s): 3 gal ($35)

Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
Size(s): 3 gal ($35)

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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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