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Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife – March 16, 2024

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Shannon’s Note

Wow! What a difference a month makes! The spring ephemeral wildflowers are starting to bloom. I’ve seen several species of native bees already. Even the redbuds have started blooming, which seems a couple of weeks early to me, but then it has been a relatively warm winter.

We’ve been really busy with the nursery. In addition to watering and caring for seedlings, I’ve been working on the website. Slowly but surely, I’m redesigning it to hopefully make it a little easier to use and to give it a fresh, new look. I’m not done, yet, but I’m making good progress.

The part of the website that I am most excited about is the new Right Plant / Right Place Selection Guide that I created (more details below). My goal was to make it much easier for you to pick which of the species we are growing will work best for your site. Of course, we’re still happy to help you choose, but we thought this might be helpful too. Please, let me know what you think about the new selection guide.

We’ve also been busy creating educational content and providing ongoing support, guidance, and mentorship through Backyard Ecology. Creating the educational content and providing the ongoing support are so important to us because we believe that having access to native plants is only one piece of the puzzle. Just as important is knowing how to incorporate them into your landscape, how to maintain them, and how they fit into the larger ecosystem.

One of the upcoming Backyard Ecology educational opportunities that I’m looking forward to will take place on Earth Day (April 22). It will be an online workshop focused on native plants and selecting the right ones for your site. More details will be available in the next issue of Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife, but you can sign up below to join the waitlist and learn all the details next week. I hope you’ll consider joining us.

Have a great day!

I was surprised to find the bluebells in one of my container gardens already getting ready to bloom.

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Announcing Our New Right Plant / Right Place Selection Guide

If you’ve ever been frustrated trying to figure out which is the “right” native plant species for you, then I’m super excited to introduce you to our new Right Plant / Right Place Selection Guide. The Right Plant / Right Place Selection Guide allows you to pick your site conditions, the type of plant you are looking for, and when you want it to bloom.

The Right Plant / Right Place Selection Guide will then show you the plants we’ll have available this year which meet those criteria. Clicking on any of the thumbnails that are displayed will take you to a detailed description of that species.

We also still have the comprehensive list as an option if you prefer seeing all the species listed together. Over the next couple of months, we hope to add a few more species to the Right Plant / Right Place Selection Guide and the comprehensive list, but we’re waiting to see how well they germinate before listing them on the website.

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Save the Date

Do you…

  • want your property to look nice while also attracting and supporting local pollinators and wildlife?
  • wonder “How do I know what plants are native to my specific area?”
  • struggle with choosing the right native plants for your property and your goals?
  • get tired of generic, cookie-cutter solutions that never seem quite “right” for your situation?

If so, then I am developing an online workshop just for you.

Native Plants 101: Select the Right Native Plants for Your Eastern U.S. Garden will be on Monday, April 22, 2024 (Earth Day) from 7:00-8:30 p.m. CT / 8:00-9:30 p.m. ET. The workshop is a Backyard Ecology event that we will host on Zoom.

If you are interested in finding out more, sign up for the wait list and I’ll email you next week with all the details including how to register.

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Nursery News

Things are germinating like crazy! We have at least one new species, and usually multiple new species, popping up every few days. It’s always exciting to see the flats turn green as all the new seedlings start to appear. We’ll have to start transplanting a few species out of the starting flats before too much longer. If the weather stays as warm as it has been, then we should have quite a few plants available by the end of April.

Newly sprouted blazing star seedlings. You can even see the outer part of the seeds still on some of the cotyledons.

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Native Plant Spotlight

Do you love hummingbirds? Are they among the pollinators and wildlife that you want to attract to your yard? Then this is a species you want to check out.

Eastern Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)

Height: 1 to 2 feet

Blooms: April to June

Classification: Native, Perennial

Sun: Full sun to part shade

Soil moisture: Medium

Provides food for:

  • Butterflies (flowers)
  • Hummingbirds (flowers, insects)
  • Native bees (flowers)
  • Caterpillars (foliage)
  • Songbirds (caterpillars and other insects)


  • May hybridize with other columbines.
  • Hummingbirds typically show up in an area about the time that the eastern columbine starts to bloom.

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Upcoming Sales

I’m continuing to schedule programs and events where we will set up this year to sell our native plants. I was hoping to have all the currently scheduled events on the website by now, but other things had to take priority. I’ll have them up by this time next month for sure.

We also still have room for a few more activities or events. 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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