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  1. The New Goldielocks And The Three Bears For LGBT Families
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Coral Honeysuckle and Coral Bells are blooming and pulling in hummingbirds. And many, many other native perennials are in bud and will be in full bloom by July 13! From now until the frost every day will be a different mix of blossoms. Maybe take a peak at the history of our year old wildlife gardens on our website: HERE.

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If so, there are 2 very close opportunities to acquire native plants:. Josh Nemeth, The Wildlife Gardener , will welcome tour participants at his nursery behind his house from Noon to 1 p. The Wildlife Gardener cannot accept credit cards at this time, so all sales are cash or check only. You can see the excitement in the photo above as tour participants find, study, and share with each other butterflies, spiders, caterpillars, native bees, frogs, turtles, hummingbirds, and the beautiful nectar plants, host plants, wildlife ponds, water features, and habitats that have attracted them.

Many garden owners shared with me that a personal goal was to have their own garden included on these tours. The number of wildlife gardens grew and grew. Eventually there were so many educational gems to share that I broke Cape May County into three regions and led back-to-back tours, covering different parts of the county each day.

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On the final tour, garden-owner Gail Fisher presented me with my very own Chocolate Cake made by her Mom it was delicious. And to further spoil us on that final September garden tour Gail Fisher served homemade Chocolate Cupcakes. Many of the gardens that were included on the Cape May County tours can be seen in the photo galleries below. Though this post is for folks with plants that are several years old and flourishing, not for brand, spanking new plants that have just been put into the ground this year. New England Aster can get very tall and top heavy by the time it blooms in the fall.

And the last thing any of us want is for its lovely spread of glowing purple flowers, nectar, and joy to be laying on the ground come fall. To help it grow into a many-branched, bushy plant instead of a tall, gangly, top-heavy plant, all you need to do is to give it 2 hair cuts on or around the 1st two holidays of the growing season: Memorial Day and 4th of July. Of course these dates are not single-day events, but roughly when you want to give New England Aster its hair cuts.

That way any caterpillars that went for a tumble with the cuttings can climb back onto the plant and continue to munch. Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home , shares that species of butterflies and moths lay their eggs on our native asters, making asters one of the TOP 20 perennials used by butterflies and moths for egg laying.

What happens next is that each cut plant stem sends up 2 or more new shoots where it has been cut, in other words it branches and becomes more bushy! Around 4th of July, I give my plants their 2nd hair cut not back to the 1st cut, but cutting back some of the new growth since Memorial Day. You may want to be more creative for this hair cut and cut the many stems in your plant different lengths. For instance, give the stems in the foreground more of a hair cut, the stems in the middle less of a hair cut, and the stems in the back just a little hair cut.

This way your plant stems will bloom at different heights. This staggers the blooming period so that you have New England Aster nectar, color, and joy far longer in your wildlife garden. For some summer-blooming plants that grow too tall for your garden, you can give them one haircut around Memorial Day, forcing them to branch, become bushier, and bloom lower.

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You can always experiment on other summer and fall-blooming perennials too that have flopped in your garden. Then see how your plant reacts and whether you like the results. 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. 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.

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. Canna tubers multiply! For about 5 years I dug up all my Canna tubers each fall. My back is much happier with this decision too. I dig my Canna tubers up in late November or early December before the ground freezes. My step-by-step process follows:. Have you called your legislators yet about this desperately needed legislation to address invasive plants in NJ?

Others told me the same, that they have not heard anything back. So, I wrote snail-mail letters to each of them and called their local office today December 4, Details below. I am writing to you about some key legislation that New Jersey desperately needs regarding the regulation of invasive plants. As a wildlife gardener and native-plant-enthusiast, the overwhelming abundance of invasive plants spreading through protected lands — plants that are still being sold at nurseries and big box stores and being planted by landscapers — is almost too much to stomach.

Two bills have been introduced to the NJ Legislature and will be discussed this term concerning the sale, distribution, and propagation of certain invasive plant species in New Jersey. In addition, each bill allows the Department of Agriculture to expand the list in the future to include invasive plants not yet listed. Also, each bill would require better labeling of invasive plants — so that consumers are warned.

Cape May County, where I live, is the county with the highest number of invasive plant species in New Jersey with species found on thousands of sites and continuing to spread. Cumberland County has invasive plant species spreading across the county. If you live in another State, select your State at the top of the page. The spread of invasive plants is impacting our natural areas, wildlife dependent on those areas, native plants, wildlife dependent on native plants, and the very integrity of our protected lands and of our state.

As a long-time wildlife gardener and educator I am knowledgeable enough to recognize invasive plant seedlings. Heaven help others who are not as informed and are frequently victims, as their properties become more and more smothered by invasive plants. Nurseries are not policing themselves; instead they are growing and selling highly invasive and problematic plants to unsuspecting members of the public and making the situation worse and worse by the day. The same is true for landscapers, who are heavily utilizing these invasives. Since the nursery trade and the landscape trade is acting irresponsibly, it is time for checks and balances to push these growers, sellers, and landscapers to be more mindful of our natural environment.

I have heard horror stories from many of you over the years.

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The spread of invasive plants at each of these areas is so disturbing that I feel like I need to take clippers along. I fear that the land managers are overwhelmed and have given up. And who could blame them? The very same invasives that are spreading across the lands they manage are still being sold in nurseries and planted on adjoining properties.

Bobwhite for example , outcompeted native nectar plants and native berry-producing plants, less healthy habitats, uglier landscapes, and impenetrable lands. Thank you for caring about the natural world and its health. And thank you if you have already reached out to your representatives! Please share this with others who are as concerned as you are by the unchecked sale, planting, and spread of invasive plants across New Jersey.

FOOD needs can be met by planting or preserving native nectar plants and native berry-producing and seed-producing plants. Cover also provides safe places to nest, roost through the night, or get out of bad weather. Native evergreens like Red Cedar and American Holly offer excellent cover for wildlife. If your yard is wide open and without adequate cover, gather fallen branches and make a winter brush pile. Or collect discarded Christmas trees and place them near bird feeding stations and bird baths, so that birds are not too vulnerable when they come to feed or drink or bathe.

And next spring seriously consider planting a Red Cedar or American Holly or two or three! Songbirds lose water through respiration and in their droppings. To replace lost water, most songbirds need to drink at least twice a day.

In order to stay fit and healthy birds also need to bathe to keep their feathers in good condition. Bathing loosens dirt and makes their feathers easier to preen. Preening is a daily ritual where birds carefully clean, rearrange, and oil their feathers one-by-one with their bill — spreading oil along each feather from the preen gland. This daily preening successfully waterproofs their feathers and traps an insulating layer of air underneath to keep them warm. Keeping their feathers in perfect condition through daily preening is a matter of life and death. Providing water in the wildlife garden is something many accomplish easily spring through fall, yet fail to do once freezing winter temperatures settle in. There are solutions even in the dead of winter.

A heated bird bath coupled with an outdoor socket is the key. We use an outdoor power cable to connect the two. The pole with its additional leg for support, when driven into the ground, is very sturdy and remains standing no matter what! So even though expensive, this heated birdbath has served me and wildlife very, very well. Give them a call to see if that is still the case this winter. If far from cover, place some cut evergreen branches nearby, as we have.