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Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife – August 12, 2023

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Shannon’s Note

The heat and humidity of summer is starting to break! It isn’t fully gone, but we’re starting to get a couple of days here and there which aren’t nearly as hot and humid. Days that we can actually get out and do stuff again without completely melting.

It’s not quite time to start planting again because it’s still hot and humid more days than not. We want to wait until the weather fully breaks – closer to the end of the month or more likely early September – before we start planting, but we can start doing all those things that need to be done before we plant.

That’s part of what Anthony and I have been doing during the cooler days we’ve had over the last couple of weeks. We’re concentrating on the prep work now so that we’ll be able ready to plant later this fall, which is really a better time to plant than in the spring. To help you with your own prep work, this newsletter includes not only a list of tasks for August in the pollinator and wildlife gardens, but also a list of Backyard Ecology resources relevant to this time of year.

Have a great day!

I love watching all the butterflies and other pollinators visiting the flowers at this time of year.

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Backyard Ecology Educational Opportunities

I think most people will agree that there is always something more to learn when it comes to native plants, attracting pollinators and wildlife, or just getting to know the pollinators and wildlife that we are attracting. No one can ever know it all. For us, that’s half the fun – always being able to be curious and discover something new.

That’s why I started both Backyard Ecology and Busy Bee Nursery and Consulting. I wanted to help people connect with and learn more about the nature around them, and then have the knowledge and skills to turn that connection and appreciation into action.

In the past, we’ve primarily accomplished this goal through our Backyard Ecology blog, podcast, and videos. Those resources provide all kinds of free information about native plants, growing native plants, pollinators and wildlife, and how to attract pollinators and wildlife to your yard. (Later on in this newsletter, I’ll have links to some of those resources that are particularly pertinent to this time of year.)

We love creating the Backyard Ecology blog, podcast, and videos, and plan to continue creating them. However, we also know that “more information” by itself isn’t always helpful. Additional help in determining how to apply all that information, or even just support and encouragement throughout the process, can also be extremely beneficial.

In fact, that additional help, support, and encouragement are often more valuable and helpful than the straight up information, because those are the pieces that are harder to find. Which is why Anthony and I are adding a membership community and group coaching opportunities to Backyard Ecology this fall.

The membership community will provide an ongoing support and a community of likeminded individuals to share this journey with. The group coaching opportunities will dive deep into helping you implement your goals and dreams for attracting pollinators and wildlife. If either of these opportunities sound interesting to you, please join the community and/or coaching wait list to be among the first to learn more when the opportunities open up.

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Prescribed Fire Workshop

In last month’s newsletter, I mentioned a prescribed fire workshop that Anthony and I were trying to organize through the appropriate state agencies in Kentucky. We just got confirmation that it is scheduled for September 9 at the Barren County Extension Service! The flyer is below and the link to sign up is If you have questions about it, Cody is the one to contact because he’ll be leading the program.

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Upcoming Sales and Events

We’ve decided to cancel our August plant sale because September is a much better month for planting. The September newsletter will have details about our September sale.

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August Tasks When Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife

  • Give any new plants plenty of water to help them get established.
    • Even native plants need a little help their first year.
  • Give extra water to any plants in pots.
    • Plants in pots dry out much faster than plants in the ground.
    • Placing the potted plant in semi-shade can also be beneficial, especially if the weather turns super hot and dry.
  • We’re not quite out of the heat and humidity of summer, so you still need to be careful if you are trying to plant.
    • Your best bet might be to wait just a few more weeks before planting so that we move out of the heat of summer. Just make sure that anything still in pots stays well watered.
  • Make plans for what you want to plant this fall.
    • Use the occasional cooler days that we get over the next few weeks to work on any hardscaping or prep work that needs to be done before you put plants in the ground.
  • Be sure to keep your hummingbird feeders clean and avoid red dyes.
    • You may have to clean the feeders as often as once a day to keep any mold or algae from growing.
    • Never add fresh food to old.
    • The number of birds visiting your feeders will likely increase over the next several weeks because the adult males are beginning their migration south while the females and young of the year are preparing to leave.
  • Clean and refill birdbaths weekly, or more often as needed.
    • Cleaning and refilling birdbaths at least once a week will help keep your birdbath from becoming a mosquito factory.
  • Check for and remove any paper wasp nests in butterfly houses or empty birdhouses near your gardens.
    • I actually recommend removing or blocking the entrances to butterfly houses.
  • If you typically mow a field that has lots of goldenrods, asters, and other fall flowers in it, then try waiting to mow until after the first killing frost.
    • Waiting to mow will allow our 14 species of butterflies that migrate (including the monarch butterfly) and all of our fall bees the opportunity to use the flowers.
  • Kick back and enjoy the pollinators and wildlife visiting your native plants.
  • It’s always a good time to kill invasive species.
    • Stilt grass (Microstegium sp.) and perilla mint / beefsteak plant (Perilla frutescens) can be easily pulled in garden beds.
    • If you are using herbicides to control invasive species, be sure to read and follow the label. Paying attention to the maximum temperatures for application is especially important at this time of year.

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Relevant Backyard Ecology Resources

Blog articles


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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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