Monday, January 26, 2015

LEAP into Landscapes

If your idea of a perfect snow day includes browsing seed catalogs, we must be friends.  Back in the days I ran a greenhouse, Stokes was one of my favorite catalogs.  It offers extremely detailed information on seed germination and is an excellent resource for planting information. If you have ever pondered the terms "scarify" or "stratify," Stokes is for you.

Plant like the professionals!
It is never too early to think about planting.  However, January is too early to actually plant, unless you have access to grow lights or a green house.  Raising your own flowers and vegetables can be very therapeutic. You can even grow them in the same beds, or try adding berry plants in your landscape.  Here at home we have blueberries and strawberries festooning the shrub bed. What could be better than having your landscape and eating it too?

A good variety of potted plants from Native in Harmony nursery.

 Once I became more interested in growing native plants, I found it was harder to find native plants and seeds to purchase.  In the last ten years, this has become much easier.  If you are looking for a place to purchase native plants, plan to attend the Midwest Native Plant Conference in Dayton.   They always offer a great variety of native plant vendors and many plants from which to choose.  You should also continue reading this blog, at the bottom of the page is a link to many native plant sources.

Weedpicker- planting native plants in the Lakeside landscape.
Planting a native plant garden is not very different than planting any other garden.  You should assess the soil, day light and water available to the garden. A native garden is more likely to use plants that will thrive in the local soil, where horticultural gardens often amend soils to nurture plants that would not be native.  For example in  mid-Ohio clay-based soils, we would have to add peat-moss and acid to grow azaleas.  Or, we might add sand to our soil to grow succulents. 

Native plants host native wildlife, like this moth caterpillar.  
Anyone know what moth this will become?

The landscape we planted last fall in Lakeside was comprised of Ohio native plants.  These plants are suitable for the soil along the lakefront and were chosen for their durability and sun tolerance.  The grasses were used to stabilize the lake shore and reduce erosion.  Many were one gallon potted plants, but some were even smaller.  I prefer using younger plant material and allowing it to become established in situ.

The LEAP (Lake Erie Allegheny Partnership) has developed a new interactive map where you can find the location and information about many of Ohio's native plant nurseries.  Just click on this link to visit their website.  It is important to use only reputable vendors who do not wild collect plants. This map will make it easier for you to find those reputable dealers.

Do you know of other nurseries specializing in native plants,which should be included on this map? Or do you know of seed vendors who supply the native plant seeds we might like to grow?

Leave me a note in comment section below and I will be happy to pass the info on to LEAP.

Now, back to my seed catalog...

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