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Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife – October 7, 2023

Table of Contents

Shannon’s Note

I’m often asked when is the best time to get started with a native plant garden. The best time is after you’ve done the necessary planning and site prep which can be crucial to making your project a success. But, assuming you’ve done that, then from the plant’s perspective fall is generally the best time to plant. (If you want to learn more about why this is true, then you can go here to request a free copy of my super short e-book on the topic.)

Here in southcentral Kentucky, we still have a few more weeks of the fall planting season for container grown perennial herbaceous (wildflowers and grasses) native plants. In fact, I’m hoping to do some planting myself this weekend. Container grown trees and shrubs have an even longer planting window.

Do you have any final fall planting projects planned? If so, I’d love to hear about them.

Have a great day!

The fall bird migration is well underway and we’ve been enjoying all the different birds we’ve been seeing around our property.

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Educational Opportunities

Time is running out…

Design Your Pollinator and Wildlife Oasis: Garden-sized Plots

🦋 Do you live in the eastern U.S. and want to start a new pollinator garden? Or incorporate more native plants into your existing landscape to attract pollinators and wildlife?

🦋 Are you unsure where to start? Or confused about how to sift through and apply the information you’ve found on the internet?

🦋 Would you like help figuring it all out?

We are offering a 4-week group coaching program in October. During those 4-weeks, we will guide you through designing a customized pollinator and wildlife oasis that you can be proud of and which will achieve your unique goals based on your unique property and circumstances. This is much, much more than just a course.

Only 2 days left to register!

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Upcoming Sales and Events

Our last plant sale of the season is next Saturday, October 14, 2023! Not only will you be able to purchase native plants from us, but you’ll also be able to purchase plants from SoKY Wild Ones and Ironweed Native Plant Nursery.

We will be accepting pre-orders. In fact, we highly encourage pre-orders because it is the end of the season and we are running low on some species. The deadline for putting in a pre-order is noon on Thursday, October 12.

The link below has all the details of what we will have available and how to place a pre-order.

If you prefer to do an October pickup in Glasgow, please let me know and we’ll make arrangements for that.

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Introducing: Contract Orders for 2024

🌱 Are you planning a pollinator garden for next year and want to make sure we have the species you want?
🌱 Are you planning to plant a larger area in native plants and want to make sure you can get a large number of plants from us next year?

If your answer to either of those questions was “yes,” then you may be interested in a new service that we’re planning to offer – contract growing. We’re still working out the details, but this is generally how it will work:

  • You place an order this fall for the number and species of plants you want next year.
  • We grow them for you and let you know when they are ready.
  • You get your plants at the appropriate time next year.

If you decide you want additional plants, no problem. We still plan to grow plants to sell like we’ve been doing at various community events and through regular deliveries in Bowling Green and Glasgow. Contract orders just help both of us plan and ensures that we’ll have the plants that you already know you want for next year.

If this is something you want to learn more about or possibly participate in, please let us know.

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October Tasks When Gardening for Pollinators and Wildlife

  • Begin finishing up your fall plantings of native herbaceous wildflowers and grasses.
    • You can also be planting native trees and shrubs now, but your planting window is longer so if you have to prioritize get the native wildflowers and grasses in the ground first.
  • Water newly planted plants, as needed.
    • September was awfully dry and although October is starting off with some rain it is also traditionally our driest month.
  • 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. This is a natural condition.
    • If you find a hummingbird like that, leave it alone.
    • 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.
  • Take time to enjoy the migratory songbirds and butterflies as they pass through as well as all the other pollinators and wildlife using the mini-ecosystem you’ve worked so hard to create.

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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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