Some Sources of Native Plants in 2020

Seaside Goldenrod and nectaring Monarchs on October 3, 2018, at Cape May Point, NJ. Native goldenrods are KEYSTONE SPECIES (115 different butterflies and moths use them for egg laying in the Mid-Atlantic region). Read Doug Tallamy’s book, Nature’s Best Hope to understand how important Keystone Species are in your landscape.

Once hooked on wildlife gardening with native plants, it can be a real challenge to find native plants.  Yes a few have been mainstreamed, and the nursery down the street may carry them.  But beware of cultivars of native plants.  Cultivars are plants created or selected for specific characteristics such as early blooming or color, often at the expense of nectar, berries (the plants may be sterile), and sometimes even the leaf chemistry is changed so the plant can no longer be used as a caterpillar plant.  We (wildlife gardeners) want the nectar, the berries, and we want the leaf chemistry intact so our butterflies can create the next generation!

Be careful too that your plants are Neonicotinoid free.  Neonicotinoids are systemic (get into every part of the plant, including pollen, nectar, even dew) pesticides that are applied to many commercially-available nursery plants and are harmful to bees, caterpillars, moths, and butterflies.

Educate yourself about Neonics by reading the following:

  1. Xerces Society’s  Protecting Bees From Neonicotinoids in Your Garden (includes list of products that have neonics in them)
  2. Xerces Society’s How Neonicotinoids Can Kill Bees, the Science Behind the Role These Insecticides Play in Harming Bees (in-depth study, 2nd Edition)
  3. Xerces Society’s “Neonicotinoid Movement in the Environment” POSTER (how neonics move through the landscape and are being found even where they were not used)
  4. American Bird Conservancy’s  Neonicotinoid Insecticides Harm The Little Creatures, including how 90 percent of food samples taken from Congressional cafeterias contain neonicotinoid insecticides (highly toxic to birds and other wildlife) .

HUGE IINSECT DIE-OFF / INSECT APOCALYPSE

  1. A car “splatometer” study finds huge insect die-off
    Nov. 13, 2019, by Damian Carrington, Environmental Editor, The Guardian
    Measuring how many bugs fly into car windshields might sound silly. But to scientists predicting an “insect apocalypse,” the numbers are deadly serious.
  2. Insect apocalypse’ poses risk to all life on Earth, conservationists warn        Feb. 12, 2020, by Damian Carrington, Environmental Editor, The Guardian

BIRDS ARE VANISHING

  1. “Birds are Vanishing from North America”
    The number of birds in the United States and Canada has declined by 2.9 billion, or 29 percent, over the past 50 years (1970-2019), scientists find (Science, 2019).
  2. “A Neonicotinoid Insecticide Reduces Fueling and Delays Migration in Songbirds,” by Margaret Eng, Bridget Stutchbury, Christy Morrissey.  Science, 13 September 2019, Vol. 365, Issue 6458, pp. 1177-1180.

WHAT WE CAN DO

Here are just a few of the things that each and every one of us can do:

  1. Plant NATIVES
  2. Leave fallen leaves on the ground: they are full of insect life, they protect tree and shrub and perennial roots, they break down and naturally nourish your soil, and they prevent erosion
  3. DO NOT USE Pesticides (including Organic) or Herbicides or synthetic Fertilizers
  4. Turn outdoor lights OFF at night (use motion sensor lights instead)
  5. Remove as many invasive plants as possible on your property
  6. Share some of your native “Chocolate Cake” perennial divisions (that are also Keystone Species: Asters and Goldenrods, for example) with others to help get them hooked
  7. Read and give Doug Tallamy’s books (Bringing Nature Home and Nature’s Best Hope) to family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors
  8. Share all this with your neighbors, friends, co-workers, family

Some Sources of NATIVE PLANTS: 2020
by Patricia Sutton
click here for the 4-page printable pdf

3rd Edition (4-24-20)

The Meadow Project (“Urban and Suburban Meadows” and “Hometown Habitat” by Catherine Zimmerman) shares an excellent state-by-state “Find Native Plants” link, with many additional sources of native plants.

Be sure to also check with your state’s Native Plant Society to see if they have a list of nurseries that carry native plants.  The Native Plant Society of NJ’s Native Plant Nurseries list includes the percentage of natives that each nursery carries, so you can readily see which nurseries you can let your guard down in and which you need to pay sharp attention.

To help people find the top ranked plants in their county Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, is working with National Wildlife Federation on their Native Plant Finder website.  In browsing this site, there are many, many plants for my own area (Cape May County, NJ) that I have been promoting for years and know to be TOP ranked plants that are not yet included . . . so keep checking back and realize that this is a work in progress.

Native Plants for Sale at 5 South Jersey Ace Hardware Stores

ButterflyWeed
Butterfly Weed, one of 3 milkweeds in the sale

Hi Gang,

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):

  • Vineland Ace Hardware, 2330 Dante Ave, Vineland, NJ 08361 – 856-692-8800
  • Egg Harbor Township Ace Hardward, 2254 Ocean Heights Ave, Egg Harbor Township, NJ 08234 – 609-653-8001
  • Northfield Ace Hardware, 231-301 Tilton Road (Tilton Shop Ctr-Unit 1-B), Northfield, NJ 08225 – 609-272-3132
  • Brigantine Ace Hardware, 3116 Atlantic Brigantine Boulevard, Brigantine, NJ 08203 – 609-266-7782
  • Galloway Ace Hardware, 322 S Pitney Rd, Galloway, NJ 08205 – 609-748-7400

There are more sources of native plants in 2015 than EVER!   Access my “Some Sources of Native Plants: 2015” HERE (updated 4-25-15) to learn of other sources.

Happy Gardening,
Pat