Info on classes, gardening and more
"The rain to the wind said,
'You push and I'll pelt'
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged-though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt."
- Robert Frost
After this week, everything will explode in a frenzy of green.
All the early flowers are ready and waiting.
The insects are ready, too, so we'll start with a little pollinator consideration. We've been getting lots of questions about declining bee populations, and about how certain systemic pesticides may be harming bees. Many of you have expressed concern over the use of pesticides called neonicotinoids in the horticultural industry, and many have asked questions about the articles and studies related to it. This is a nuanced and complicated topic, and the majority of scientists agree that there are multiple factors involved in colony collapse disorder and the depressed numbers of pollinators in general. Those factors include pathogens, mites, and loss of habitat, along with pesticide use. Any response to this worrisome situation has to include developing healthy and diverse ecosystems. There are over 40 million acres of lawn in the U.S. We all can help bees and other pollinators by planting for diversity, by providing habitat and by continuing to speak up for more sustainable solutions. Getting rid of neonics may be part of the solution, but behind neonics there are other pesticides, many of which cause different, or worse problems. Our mission includes educating ourselves and our customers, and to be as transparent as possible with the information we have. We are happy to share our comprehensive statement about our products and plants, available for pickup at the store, or by emailing us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also have plant lists and advice about planting for diversity, along with several helpful books. They include: Landscaping with Native Plants of Minnesota, Raingardens, and Pollinators of Native Plants.
Native perennials, along with other great heirloom perennials that attract pollinators, are rolling in to the store every week now - neonicotinoid-free, no worries there.
NOW is a perfect time to put out larvae of mason bees, or to hang a mason bee nesting kit in your yard. Mason bees are non-aggressive, non-hiving native bees that are amazing pollinators. The female looks for tube-like openings in which to lay her eggs. Mason bee kits with tubes that can be cleaned or changed every few years are a great way to keep the bees pollinating your plants.
Is it too cold to plant? Not for a lot of things. Ask us about anything we've got in the store, but by and large, if we've got it, you can plant it. BASIL is one exception. We have it, yes, because everybody wants it! But it needs to hang inside until we start seeing overnight temps consistently around 45 and above. Coleus is also sensitive at those temps.
So if you're planting for pollinators, guess who else is going to show up?
If insects are flying around, soon you'll see more birds flying around, too. If you want to see hummingbirds, consider agastache, salvia, honeysuckle, columbine or lantana. If we don't have it already, most things will be arriving at the store this last week of April and into the first week of May. Putting feeders out now, before the arrival of the birds, also helps to draw them into your space.
Since it's supposed to rain all week, consider planting some warm weather flowers like zinnia, marigold or sunflower indoors. They grow fast and will be ready to put in the ground after the average last frost (May 10-15). Pollinators also love dill, lavender and chamomile.
There are so many issues that are so large in our lives. No one person can take it all on. But each of us can plant a seed. Each of us can nurture a plant. We can't change what's already happened but we can go forward and do no more harm. At least in our little corner, whether that's a yard or a pot on the stoop.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead.
Pretend you're a plant and enjoy a week of rain! Hope to see you all soon.