Monday, May 20, 2013

Nuts for Natives

Two Sundays ago I went native plant shopping with a couple friends from work.  We drove out to Kalamazoo to the native plant sale being held by Hidden Savanna Native Plant Nursery.  What a cold and dreary day it was.  As you can see, though, I came home loaded down with goodies:

My purpose for this trip was to stock up on native milkweeds.  Now, perhaps, like me, you know of the common milkweed, and the butterfly weed, and you may even have heard of swamp milkweed.  BUT!  There are a whole passel of milkweeds out there, many of which are in serious decline.  So, I added to my stash three poke milkweeds (they like wooded areas or edges), whorled milkweed (I had this one in my gardens in Newcomb - the monarchs loved it), green milkweed, tall green milkweed, sand milkweed and purple milkweed (extremely rare).

Also in the mix were early and late figwort, smooth blue aster, white prairie clover, purple prairie clover, leadplant (haven't had any luck with this species yet...these are my 3rd and 4th ones), pale purple coneflower, green dragon (thanks, Paul!!!), jack-in-the-pulpit, blazing star...and a couple others that my memory fails to recall at the moment.

Some have already gone in the ground, but a few have yet to be planted.

Meanwhile, I was excited to see some of my prairie smoke getting ready to bloom:

They don't seem to have done much more than this (these photos were taken 2 weeks ago).  It's when they to to seed that they look like puffs of smoke.

The honey locust.  Native or not?  I've always thought it was not, but around these here parts it is considered native.  Hm.

I was also out about a week ago checking my nest boxes.  Full of house sparrow nests (aliens).  Chucked them out.  But then I found this in one of the boxes out in the field:

I'm fairly sure these were baby bluebirds.  The nest was indicative of a bluebird nest, but built on top was a messy nest - house sparrows.  They built on top of the bluebirds...and these little ones died.

Never had problems with house sparrows in Newcomb.  All my bluebirds did well (except when the heat or cold rain did them in).  My boxes here all end up housing the dang sparrows.  Grrrr.  May have to get a bit more aggressive.

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