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Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife – July 8, 2023

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You’ve worked hard to create a miniature ecosystem that attracts pollinators and wildlife. Be sure to take time to kick back and enjoy it this summer.

Shannon’s Note

Summer in the pollinator and wildlife garden is a time for slowing down. This season is the time to kick back and enjoy the beauty of your garden and everything that visits it. Maintenance tasks still need to be done, but there are better times of the year for planting or creating new garden beds. As always, this newsletter includes a list of some of the maintenance tasks to be thinking about this month.

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Prescribed Fire Workshop

Many of us grew up hearing about the evils of fire in the landscape. However, scientists and land managers have learned that viewpoint isn’t as absolute as we once thought. Yes, fires can damage an ecosystem, but they can also be critical to the health of an ecosystem.

In the last couple of decades we’ve started to realize how important fires were to healthy ecosystems in much of the eastern U.S. Fire is now being viewed as a valuable tool in the land and habitat management toolbox. Just like any tool, it doesn’t work for every location or situation. But it is a good tool to have in the right situation and location.

If you live in Kentucky and are interested in learning how to do prescribed burns on your property, please send me an email. Anthony and I are working with the appropriate state agencies to organize a landowner prescribed fire training session for this fall


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Nursery Update

We’re still accessing damage from the recent storms, but most of the plants survived without any major damage. A few of the herbaceous perennials were flattened but they should bounce back without any long-term issues. We also have multiple new species growing which should be ready for the fall planting season.

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Upcoming Sales and Events

We are not having any sales during July. The August newsletter will have details about our August sales and events.

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July Tasks When Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife

  • Give any new plants plenty of water to help them get established.
  • Give extra water to any plants in pots.
    • Plants in pots dry out much faster than plants in the ground.
    • Placing the in semi-shade can also be beneficial, especially if the weather turns super hot and dry.
  • If you are trying to plant, do so in the early morning or evening (my preferred time) and avoid planting in the heat of the day for the sake of yourself and your plants.
    • Your best bet might be to wait until we move out of the heat of the summer before planting. Just make sure that anything still in pots stays well watered.
  • 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.
    • A decrease in the number of birds visiting your feeders is to be expected because the females are sitting on nests and prefer to visit native flowers at this time of year.
    • Decrease the amount of food you are putting out to accommodate the decrease in number of visitors and the need to clean the feeders more frequently.
  • 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. I discuss why in this Backyard Ecology article.
  • Kick back and enjoy the pollinators and wildlife visiting your native plants.
  • Take time to watch the fireflies at night.
  • It’s always a good time to kill invasive species.
    • Stilt grass (Microstegium sp.) 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.
  • Lazy summer days can also be a great time to learn more about gardening for pollinators and wildlife, growing native plants, or the plants and animals that can be found in our yards and communities.

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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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