Skip to content

Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife – Oct. 1, 2022

Table of Contents

These are not Japanese beetles. They are dark flower scarabs – native beetles that eat pollen. I’m seeing quite a few of them on my cup plants and goldenrods right now, but they aren’t anything to worry about. Just think of them as bird food with legs.

Shannon’s Note

I love this time of year. The weather is so much nicer to be out in. The late fall flowers are full of all kinds of life. The fall migratory warblers are coming through. The migratory butterflies and dragonflies are doing their thing. Everywhere you look there is something new and exciting to observe.

This is also the time of year when many people are doing their “fall cleanup” in the garden. However, if you are gardening for pollinators and wildlife, then I encourage you to think carefully about any fall cleanup you do. The list of this month’s tasks for the pollinator and wildlife gardens, and the list of relevant Backyard Ecology resources in this month’s newsletter can help guide you.

Back to top

Nursery Update

After growing them all season to get them to a sellable size, we now have southern blue flag irises and Ohio spiderwort available! It sounds kind of strange to be announcing new species at the end of the season, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

We still have a good selection of species available, although a few are in limited supply. Some species, like New England asters and obedient plant, are blooming. Looking through the drain holes of the pots, you can tell that the roots on all of our plants are really strong. And at this time of the year, the roots are really the most important thing to be concerned with.

Back to top

Upcoming Native Plant Sale

How is it already time for the last plant sale of the year? We will be at the SoKY Wild Ones Native Plant Sale at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 2033 Nashville Road in Bowling Green, Kentucky on October 8 from 9:00 a.m. until noon.

We’ll have lots of plants available for sale there, plus we’re taking pre-orders for those who want to make sure that we have the exact species and numbers they want. The deadline for placing a pre-order is noon on Thursday, October 6, 2022.

Below is a list of everything we expect to have available. Some of the species are in very limited quantities (another reason to place a pre-order). Logistics for placing a pre-order can be found below the list of available items.

Back to top

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.)

Aromatic Aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium)
Aster, Aromatic
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-anglicae)
Aster, New England
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Aster, Short’s
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Smooth Aster (Symphyotrichum laevis)
Aster, Smooth
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Blazing Star (Liatris squarrosa)
Blazing Star
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Eastern Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
Columbine, Eastern
Size(s): 1 qt ($7), 1 gal ($13)
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)
Culver's Root (Veronicastrum virginicum)
Culver’s Root
Size(s): 1 qt ($7), 1 gal ($13)
Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum)
Cup Plant
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Sweet / Anise-scented Goldenrod (Solidago odora)
Goldenrod, Sweet
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Wild Blue Indigo (Baptisia australis)
Indigo, Wild Blue
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Southern Blue Flag Iris (Iris virginica)
Iris, Southern Blue Flag
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Hollow Joe-pye weed (Eutrochium fistulosum)
Joe-pye Weed, Hollow
Size(s): 1 gal ($13)
Rose / Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Milkweed, Rose / Swamp
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Hairy Mountain Mint (Pycanthemum pilosum)
Mountain mint, Hairy
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Hoary Mountain Mint (Pycanthemum incanum)
Mountain mint, Hoary
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Slender Mountain Mint (Pycanthemum tenuifolium)
Mountain mint, Slender
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana)
Obedient plant
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium)
Rattlesnake master
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Rosemallow (Hibiscus moscheutos)
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Ohio spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis)
Spiderwort, Ohio
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Maximilian Sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani)
Sunflower, Maximilian
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Rough Sunflower (Helianthus hirsutus)
Sunflower, Rough
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Brown-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba)
Susan, Brown-eyed
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)

Native Grasses for Pollinators and Wildlife (Click on a thumbnail for detailed information about that plant.)

Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
Bluestem, Little
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
River Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium)
River Oats
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)
American Elderberry (Sambucus nigra canadensis)
Elderberry, American
Size: 3 gal ($35)
False Indigo Bush (Amorpha fruticosa)
False Indigo Bush
Size(s): 1 gal ($13)
American Hazelnut (Corylus americana)
Hazelnut, American
Size(s): 3 gal ($35)
New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)
New Jersey Tea
Size(s): 1 qt ($7)
Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)
Size(s): 3 gal ($35)
Chinquapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)
Oak, Chinquapin
Size(s): 1 gal ($13)
White Oak (Quercus alba)
Oak, White
Size(s): 1 gal ($13)
Shrubby St. John's Wort (Hypericum prolificum)
Shrubby St. John’s Wort
Size(s): 1 gal ($13), 3 gal ($35)
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
Size(s): 3 gal ($35)

Back to top

Pre-Order 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 Thursday, Oct., 6.
    • 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.

Back to top

October Tasks When Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife

  • Fall is the best time to plant native perennial wildflowers, shrubs, and trees.
    • The roots will continue to grow into early winter and will start growing again in the late winter / early spring as the ground warms up.
    • That extra root growth will give your fall planted plants a jump start on any plants that you plant in the spring.
    • I will commonly plant herbaceous native plants until mid-October where I live.
    • Trees and shrubs can be planted well into November or early December if the weather has been fairly mild.
  • Water newly planted plants, as needed.
    • The summer droughts may be over, but we can still have dry spells and newly planted individuals may need additional water.
  • Keep your hummingbird feeders up for the fall migration.
    • Hummingbirds are continuing to move through the area as they head south for the winter.
    • Keeping your feeder up may provide a much needed nectar source for any late migrants, especially as our fall blooming flowers start to fade.
    • However, if you keep your feeder up, remember to continue to regularly clean it and replace the sugar water.
  • In cold weather, hummingbirds go into a state of torpor (short-term hibernation) and can look dead. Sometimes they are even found hanging from one foot.
    • If you find a hummingbird like that, leave it alone. Going into torpor is a natural condition.
    • Bringing it inside or trying to warm it up will kill it.
  • Leave as many seed heads and other vegetation standing as possible. This will
    • provide valuable food and shelter throughout the winter for our songbirds.
    • provide overwintering sites for insects developing inside of galls within the stems and other vegetation – many of our songbirds will raid those galls during the winter as an additional food source.
    • provide places for butterfly chrysalises (often disguised as crumpled leaves) to develop.
    • allow you to create better nesting sites for our solitary, stem nesting bees and wasps in the spring.
  • For the vegetation that you can’t leave standing,
    • leave 12-24 inches standing to serve as potential nesting sites for solitary, stem nesting bees and wasps in the spring. (Waiting until next spring to do this will provide better nesting sites, but sometimes we have to make compromises.)
    • if possible, stand or loosely pile the vegetation that you cut nearby so that any insects or chrysalises associated with it still have a chance to develop.
  • Leave as many of the leaves on your property as possible.
  • Clean out in birdhouses that you have on your property.
    • Make any necessary repairs to the birdhouses at this time as well.
  • If you have a field that you typically mow, which 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.
  • Now is a good time to kill woody invasive species.
    • If you are using herbicides, be sure to read and follow the label.

Back to top

Relevant Backyard Ecology Resources

Back to top

Subscribe to the Busy Bee Nursery and Consulting email list to have these newsletters emailed to you.

Back to top

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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.