Please share your comments and questions in the comment section following the posts (rather than write to me directly), that way everyone can benefit from your comments and questions, my answers, and all the additional sage advice that others share.
Chris Clemenson of Clemenson Farms Native Nursery shared this exciting news:
“For years those of us who are part of the Native Plant Society of NJ have been trying to encourage retailers to recognize the need to offer native plants for the public. Please pass on the word to all your native plant friends that several of the ACE hardware stores in southern NJ will offer native plants for sale and at very reasonable pricing during a Memorial Day Weekend sale (and afterwards as long as supplies last).”
“Joe and Cindy Smith own the ACE hardware stores in Vineland, Egg Harbor Township, Northfield, Brigantine, and Galloway. Cindy is a bird enthusiast and has been offering lots of bird related products for years. Cindy attended one of Pat Sutton’s lectures and really got turned on to the idea of natives (she has been installing natives to transform her yard into a native bird habitat ever since). She’s passionate about getting the word out on the need to plant natives.”
“Please encourage folks to go and buy plants at these stores this weekend (and as long as supplies last) AND to be sure to thank the store manager for offering native plants!”
For their Ace Hardware 2015 Memorial Weekend Sale the following stores will have 3 different milkweeds (Butterfly Weed, Common Milkweed, and Swamp Milkweed), Wild Blue Indigo, and Coral Honeysuckle (grown by Clemenson Farms Native Nursery, so we know these plants are safe and neonicitinoids free) for the amazing price of $4.99. One other grower is supplying natives for this sale (not sure of their plant line up). In June these stores will host a Father’s Day Sale including more of Clemenson Farms Native Nursery plants including Seaside Goldenrod, New England Aster, Joe Pye Weed, Little Bluestem, Red Bee Balm, and Spotted Horsemint.
Here are the 5 ACE Hardware Stores in southern NJ where these native plants will be for sale during their 2015 Memorial Day Weekend Sale (and afterwards as long as supplies last):
We left in winter conditions and returned to summer conditions. Tackling the next part of garden cleanup has been quite a task in the heat and gnats. I wondered how you all were faring with your own gardens especially since some of you are quite new to wildlife gardening.
I thought it might be timely to step-by-step explain how I wrap up the garden cleanup in spring.
I hope my post helps guide you. Please share your comments and questions in the comment section following the post (rather than write to me directly), that way everyone can benefit from your questions, my answers, and all the additional sage advice that others share.
Is my garden cleanup done yet? Not nearly. Heading back out as soon as I send this off. Good luck with yours and please wish me some luck and stamina with mine. It will all be worth it when it’s done.
Back in February the Press of Atlantic City pointed the finger at wildlife gardeners as contributing to the demise of Monarchs, specifically that by planting Tropical Milkweed we “may be killing” Monarchs. My e-mail box overflowed. My phone rang off the hook. I promised to get back to folks but didn’t get a chance until now.
I’ve addressed the issue and the latest news of Monarch numbers this past winter in Mexico, which directly affects the coming year.
To learn more be sure to read my latest post on Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens:
PLEASE leave any comments in the comment section at the end of my post. That way other readers can benefit from your comment and my reply (rather than writing to me directly). Thanks a bunch!
Many are concerned and planting milkweeds, but there too you have to be careful of where you buy your native milkweeds. Don’t buy milkweeds from big box stores because many plants sold by big box stores have been treated with insecticides called neonicitinoids. Monarch caterpillars will die eating these plants! Read more HERE.
Other posts I’ve written about Monarchs may also be of interest:
I thought you would enjoy Susan Harris’ Garden Rant post, written after she attended the September 21, 2014 “South Tour of Monarch Gardens,” featuring private backyard and front yard gardens in Cape May, Lower Township, and Cape May Point:
As you can tell from the title, she was quite complimentary. Bravo wildlife gardeners and thank you SO MUCH for letting me share your gardens with tour participants! Keep enjoying your oases and the many wildlife visitors they attract and have fun inspiring others to do the same. If you know anyone who is ripe to be hooked on wildlife gardening, be sure they are aware of the upcoming workshops I’l be teaching: “2015 Gardening for Wildlife Workshop Series.”
I had a ball leading tours of private butterfly gardens in South Texas in early November at the 2014 Texas Butterfly Festival. Leaving Cape May when the butterfly season was coming to a close and heading to an area swimming in butterflies, including many exotic strays from Mexico, was a treat for this wildlife gardener.
Speaking of wildlife gardens I can’t wait to once again teach the series of 6 in-depth
“Gardening for Wildlife” Workshops (pdf) on select Saturdays and Sundays February 28 – March 28, 2015,
the perfect time to shake off winter and begin planning and planting (or enhancing) your property and wildlife garden.
Learn to create gardens and habitats in little time, save money (by encouraging seed production rather than hampering it with traditional gardening practices), and see long-term results (by implementing wildlife-friendly garden practices rather than traditional wildlife death-trap practices).
Many (1000s) have taken these workshops, been empowered, and created habitats that have given them pleasure for years to come. They know and I know that there is nothing more special than stepping out the door into a habitat that YOU created, a habitat that fills up with wildlife visitors galore: hummingbirds, butterflies, caterpillars, chrysalises, dragonflies, ladybugs, many different native bees, beetles and other fun pollinators, songbirds, frogs, turtles, moths at night, and more! Every walk down your garden path is full of wonder, learning, delight, awe . . . almost like traveling to an exotic land, but that exotic place is your own back (or front) yard. There is nothing more gratifying than knowing that you provide safe haven for all these creatures.
Consider joining me for one, two, three, or all six of these workshops (discounted fees when you sign up for any 3 workshops). Native plants and wildlife-friendly practices are the key and will be emphasized and detailed throughout.
I present a zillion one- to two-hour programs each year and maybe you’ve attended a few of these. I love teaching them, but (with only one or two hours) they are more one-sided presentations, me sharing fun natural history information and images with you, the audience.
These workshops offer the opportunity to be far more in-depth and interactive and are more likely to empower you, take you to the next level.
The 5-hour format (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) allows for:
an interactive workshop atmosphere
each workshop covers a unique aspect of wildlife gardening (in-depth)
each workshop builds on the others, but is not repetitive (so you’ll want to try and attend all 6 to maximize your learning opportunity)
resources (handouts and circulated books) will be shared and showcased
you’ll learn how to utilize these resources (find answers to burning questions you may have)
time for in-depth questions
time for in-depth answers
during a working lunch we’ll brainstorm (as a group) each participant’s specific challenges (you’ll draw a rough sketch of your yard and submit a photo of your sketch that I’ll project so we can all see it for this brainstorming)
time to get to know one another and learn from each other (of garden triumphs and tribulations, successes and pitfalls). Nothing beats collective experience and roundtable discussion
each workshop will culminate in a site visit to a nearby backyard habitat (including my own and others) where wildlife-friendly practices and design and plant selections will be showcased
So, what do you say! Will I see you in late February & March?
Take advantage of the discount by signing up for any 3 of the workshops. Sign up today and begin getting ready for the workshops. Draw a rough sketch of your yard, indicating structures (and hardscapes like driveways, decks, etc.), existing habitats (lawn, forest, lone trees, shrub islands, gardens, bird feeding station, brush pile, etc.), and mark NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, WEST on the sketch. Take time to note the sun’s path through your yard and where the sunniest areas are. Begin making a wish list of the elements you want to add as well as the elements you need to work around.
Where: Please note that the 6 workshops in this series will be held at the Cape May Bird Observatory Center for Research & Education, 600 Rt. 47 N, Cape May Court House, NJ 08210 and not at the Nature Center of Cape May in Cape May.
Limit: 20 participants; preregistration required (through NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May, 1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204; 609-898-8848 — if you reach their message machine, do leave a message . . . they’ll get back to you).
Cost/workshop (includes handouts):
$35 member of NJ Audubon Society, $45 nonmember Sign up for any 3 workshops for a discount:
$75 member (or $25 each); $105 nonmember (or $35 each) All workshops include a site visit to a nearby wildlife garden (Sutton’s garden and others).
At the peak of Cape May County’s world-famous fall Monarch migration, tour diverse gardens that have hosted Monarchs since May. Each features native nectar plants and as many as five different kinds of milkweed (used by Monarchs for egg laying to create the next generation). Expect Monarchs and other butterflies, Monarch eggs, caterpillars, and maybe even a chrysalis. The complex Monarch migration will be both explained and enjoyed.
I’ve worked with 18 garden owners to line up this set of Garden Tours. Don’t miss this opportunity to see a fine selection of wildlife gardens with lovely stands of MILKWEED: Common Milkweed, Swamp Milkweed, Butterfly Weed, Whorled Milkweed, Purple Milkweed, and Tropical Milkweed. The annual, Tropical Milkweed, will be in bloom. Most of our native perennial milkweeds have already bloomed, but their robust leaves still pull in mating and egg-laying Monarchs well into the fall, as our local Monarchs create yet another generation. These gardens are coming into their fall attire, which will be as stunning as the summer garden, yet completely different.
2014 TOURS OF PRIVATE MONARCH GARDENS
10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 19 — Mid-County Tour, including amazing gardens along the Delaware Bayshore in North Cape May and Villas Saturday, Sept. 20 — North Tour, including Pat Sutton’s garden and other gems from Cape May Court House north to South Seaville Sunday, Sept. 21 — South Tour, including gardens south of the Cape May Canal
Expect these gardens to also be hosting lingering hummingbirds, butterflies, caterpillars, stunning native plants, and undoubtedly some surprises. Fall migration will be underway, so anything’s possible.
TOUR DETAILS AND PRICING
Gardening naturalist and author, Pat Sutton, leads these tours, which include her own garden in Goshen (North tour). Bring lunch since the group will eat in one of the gardens. Limit: 25 per tour. Three Tours / Cost per tour: $35 members (NJ Audubon), $45 nonmembers.
(Join three tours at a discounted rate of $90 members, $115 nonmembers.)
These tours require preregistration with payment.
Registration: you may register by phone at 609.898.8848 with a credit card or send payment to the Nature Center of Cape May, 1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204 (noting which tours and full names, addresses, and phone numbers of registrants). NCCM reserves the right to cancel programs, and refunds are available only if NCCM cancels the event. Walk-ins are welcome on a space-available basis. Become a member of NJAS and receive discounts in the gift shop and on many programs.
It is the peak of Ruby-throated Hummingbird migration. Numbers have exploded now that young have left the nest, females are busy with second broods, and hummingbirds that nested in the far north (Gaspe Peninsula) are moving south. Gardens designed and planted with hummingbird-friendly plants and a wealth of yummy soft-bodied insects (which hummingbirds also love to eat) are experiencing a virtual blizzard of hummingbirds.
At the peak of Ruby-throated Hummingbird migration, we’ll savor an array of diverse gardens that have hosted nesting hummingbirds since May and are now drawing in dozens of migrants. Native nectar plants, healthy insect populations, water sources, and adequate cover are key elements of each garden.
TOUR DETAILS AND PRICING
Gardening naturalist and author, Pat Sutton, leads these tours, which include her own garden in Goshen (North tour). Bring lunch since the group will eat in one of the gardens.
If some of you are keen to create a butterfly & hummingbird garden, be sure to download the article & plant list Sutton wrote / created:
Limit: 25 per tour. Nine Tours / Cost per tour: $35 members (NJ Audubon), $45 nonmembers. (Join three tours at a discounted rate of $90 members, $115 nonmembers.) These tours require preregistration with payment.
Registration: you may register by phone at 609.898.8848 with a credit card or send payment to the Nature Center of Cape May, 1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204 (noting which tours and full names, addresses, and phone numbers of registrants).
NCCM reserves the right to cancel programs, and refunds are available only if NCCM cancels the event. Walk-ins are welcome on a space-available basis. Become a member of NJAS and receive discounts in the gift shop and on many programs.
Garden Gang members Bob and Carol Marceluk in Ocean City, NJ, and their WILDLIFE HABITAT were featured in the Press of Atlantic City, Saturday, July 12, 2014: “New Boardwalk Attraction,” by Martin DeAngelis.
I met Bob and Carol in 2012 when I taught a series of Gardening for Wildlife Workshops for the Ocean City Environmental Commission . . . and, as they say, the rest is history!
They transformed a large expanse of boring lawn into gardens full of native nectar plants (that bloom spring through fall), lots and lots of caterpillar plants (including MILKWEED of course), native berry-producing trees and shrubs (for cover and food), water features (including a new pond), neat seating areas. It has given them SO MUCH pleasure and provided an oasis to migrant and resident wildlife.
I wish I was brave enough to add Bob & Carol Marceluk’s habitat to the “Tours of Private Wildlife Gardens” that I lead, but taking people into Ocean City in the summer on a weekend . . . In the future I might plan a special tour to barrier island gardens on a date after the crazy summer tourist season. I’ll keep you posted!
Fellow wildlife-gardening educators Jack and Jesse Connor have brought to my attention 4 bills proposed in the NJ Legislature that we all should be aware of and consider voicing our support.
In short, here are the 4 proposed bills that we can speak up about and show our support:
A3133 Requires DEP to establish “private wildlife habitat certification program”; creates affirmative defense against municipal nuisance ordinances for properties certified under the program.
A3125 Prohibits sale or planting of certain invasive plant species.
A1305 Requires any State entity planting vegetation to use only vegetation native to area being planted, and when purchasing vegetation, to purchase, to the maximum extent possible, only from NJ businesses.
A1373 Prohibits use or sale of neonicotinoid pesticides.
Working with Jack and Jesse, Garden Gang member Jean Riling put together a concise document about these 4 proposed NJ Bills and who to contact (depending on where you live):
Have you (or do you know anyone who has) been harassed for having a wildflower meadow or perennial garden? I do, quite a few in fact. Sadly manicured lawn (“neat as a pin, ugly as sin”) is the norm and any venture towards wildlife habitat in the way of native perennial gardens or meadows in some neighborhoods is seen as a threat. No wonder pollinators are struggling!
Are you fighting English Ivy or Bamboo or Japanese Honeysuckle (all invasives) that are spreading from a neighbor’s yard or were planted by the previous property owner? I have. This bill is an excellent start to help address some of the worst invasives. Once passed hopefully additional invasives can be added to the list.