"Hi Charlotte, I enjoy our blog and newspaper articles so much! Do you happen to have a recommendation for a native plant catalog that shows how to handle monarch seeds and other wildflowers? I haven't been able to get too many wildflower seeds to sprout..." -- Anne Marie
Native Plant Catalog with How to Guides
Hi Anne Marie,
Glad you enjoy my writing. That's a very good question because many wildflowers do need special care before they will grow, something some people don't realize when they pick up wildflower seeds.
Stratification is exposing seeds to the same conditions they would have in nature to break their dormancy, something akin to kissing Sleeping Beauty to get her to wake up. Some seeds require moisture and warmth, others exposure to cold for a period of time, and even others such as pine tree seeds need exposure to heat and fire. Many seeds sold today don't tell you whether they have been pre-conditioned or not so if you're not sure, it's best to treat the seeds.
My favorite native plant catalog just arrived marked "damaged by the Postal Service" so my apologies for the rough look, I didn't do it, I promise!
My favorite native plant catalog with how to guides is the Native Gardener's companion out of Winona, Minnesota is Prairie Moon Nursery's Native Gardener's Companion, Seeds and Plants of authentic North American Wildflowers for Restoration and Gardening. Whew, long title but it gives you an excellent idea of what you will find inside.
Not only do they have lovely photographs of wildflowers, a must for any reference catalog, but they have added "how to" guides including a very helpful guide to stratification. They call it "germination codes and instructions," a handy guide to how to unlock those seeds and how long they need to be exposed to specific conditions.
Not sure what to plant together? This catalog has suggested planting combinations, which always gives me some good ideas for where to add plants to ones I already have started, or how to combine the ones I may find on sale. Since I tend to be a frugal shopper, these combinations are great inspiration because I don't always buy the plants that end up together at the same time. Or my friends don't share their surplus plants when I get other ones.
This is also another good source for plants if you don't want to wait, they are locally-grown, not wild-dug, and at least 1-2 years old, which is unusual any more. That means these are established plants and have a better chance of successfully transplanting.
Back to those tempting seed packets. The seed packets are $2.50 each which is a less expensive way to try new native plants to see if you can grow them, and if they take in your growing conditions.
This last seed mix name had me chuckling, we all want seeds to quickly start, don't we?
Not sure what plants attract what pollinators? Let's all turn to page 35-36, they have a wonderful guide on what kinds of plants attract what pollinators. And to those of you new to this, if you find your brand new plants munched on, congratulations, that means some bug found the food source you planted for them.
Their plant photos actually feature some of the pollinators that are attracted to the wildflowers. I now am at a point in my garden photography that if I don't see a pollinator on a plant, the photo is not complete, every plant with a pollinator on it is a story. Aren't these just marvelous??
One more note, Prairie Moon Nursery has this native plants catalog and a more detailed cultural planting guide for advance gardeners and professional landscapers. You can also download both catalogs online if you don't want to wait for a catalog to be mailed to you.
If you live close to where they are located, make sure to call first, tours of the nursery are only available through appointment.
Sigh. I sure do like seeds. So this year, every Prairie Moon Nursery order includes a free packet of Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), I have bergamot growing all over my one-acre certified wildlife and Monarch Way Station hillside garden but I would gladly add more!
Let me know what you think of the Prairie Moon Nursery catalogs, and if you try out any seed packets!