Order Missouri Native Plants

George O. White Nursery ordering form available online. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

George O. White Nursery ordering form available online. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Order Missouri Native Plants

September 1, 2019 was the opening of the George O. White Nursery 2020 ordering window through April 15, 2020 and I have my order, and check, in the mail. Yes, that may just be a new record, even for me!

You don’t have to be so quick, I just have my heart set on getting a nice supply of native Beauty Berry bushes. I was given one earlier this year and I was astounded at how beautiful it is, photos don’t do it justice. The berries are also excellent wildlife food, which may keep my wildlife menagerie happy.

I ordered some seedlings last year as well; witch hazel, button bush, elderberries and rose mallow, all excellent pollinator plants. I wanted some serviceberries, a lovely spring tree but those were sold out. They are already sold out this year as well.

Once the seedlings arrived, I potted them in new soil and kept them moist for most of the growing season. The seedlings are now big enough to fend for themselves in the garden.

Some of the plant starts from earlier this spring, ready for transplanting. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Some of the plant starts from earlier this spring, ready for transplanting. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

You can also plant the seedlings directly into soil once you get them next spring. I prefer to give them a growing season in pots so that I can more easily find them later.Placing them in pots also helps their roots get established so that the transplanting is more successful.

Here is one example of witch hazel seedlings. On the left the original seedling, on the right the witch hazel established and ready to be transplanted.

On left, one of the spring starts. On right, witch hazel with established roots. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

On left, one of the spring starts. On right, witch hazel with established roots. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Not all seedlings make it but I have a good 90% success with the ones I have received. They are shipped bare rooted so it’s good to be prepared for when they are expected to arrive.

In the case of these seedlings, I had the pots filled with new potting soil waiting for the seedlings. Here is a rose mallow start, on the left:

This native rose mallow started out as the tiny stick on the left. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

This native rose mallow started out as the tiny stick on the left. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

The native rose mallow start sprung off that seedling and is now almost 5 feet tall, more than ready to be transplanted into the garden.

Rose mallow is a cousin to the hibiscus. The Missouri native ones are white with a burgundy center. What I like about rose mallow, also a cousin to what people call Rose of Sharon, is that it blooms from July to frost, providing nectar and pollen to my bees during the August dearth.

That same native rose mallow is now almost 5 feet tall, ready to move into the garden. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

That same native rose mallow is now almost 5 feet tall, ready to move into the garden. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

Once you place your order online, you will get an email confirming your order. You have 30 days from when the order was placed to pay. After the 30 days if you don’t pay the seedlings are made available to the next person who placed an order.

Last year, I ordered all items marked “sold out'“ online but ended up getting them all when previous orders were not finalized with payment.

When you order, you can designate what week of the month you want your seedlings shipped. I usually select mid-April because the weather tends to be more cooperative then.

If you live in Missouri, shipping to your Missouri address is free.

This is an excellent place to get yourselves native tree and shrub stock. Ten seedlings are $8.95; 25 seedlings are $10.95.

If you wait until December 1 or later, you can call 800-392-3111 for a recorded message concerning possible shipping delays and the kinds of trees still available.

This is my latest addition to my garden, Missouri’s native Beauty Berry, which provides wildlife winter food. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

This is my latest addition to my garden, Missouri’s native Beauty Berry, which provides wildlife winter food. (Photo by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins)

What trees and shrubs do you plan to order?

Charlotte

Hummingbirds in Gardens

Hummingbird at a Bluebird Gardens syrup feeder.

Hummingbirds in Gardens

 I have had a couple of calls about aggressive hummingbirds protecting sugar water feeders this time of year.

Hummingbirds are territorial most of summer but we seem to notice their aggressive behavior more early fall. I don't know if it's because we are more cognizant of them because of changes in our weather in September or they are spending more energy chasing off rivals but they do get protective of their feeding stations.

Territorial hummingbirds make things easier for us in the Midwest by migrating end of September. These lovely tropical birds winter over in Central and South America so if they are eating you out of house and home, know they will be leaving shortly.

If you have been feeding them all summer, continue to feed them until they leave. They have become accustomed to your source of sugar syrup, one part sugar to four parts water. No need to add red dye, the red color of the hummingbird feeder is enough to catch their eye. Make sure to use hot water when mixing with sugar, then allow to cool before filling the feeder. Also make sure to change the sugar water every second or third day, especially if temperatures are hot. 

Don't clean hummingbird feeders out with soap, they don't like feeders that have been treated with most soaps. I use hot water to kill the bacteria, then clean the feeder out with a bottle brush. 

Hard to believe I will soon be putting the hummingbird feeders away, it feels like I just dusted them off.

Hummingbird feeders make nice gifts so if you find one you like, pick an extra one up for someone's birthday or holiday gift. They can be hard to find around the holidays so I buy them now if I want to gift them. Sometimes they are available on sale this time of year so you can pick them up for next year's use, too.

Do you have hummingbirds visiting your garden?

Charlotte

Bumblebees in Gardens

Bumblebees on gooseneck loosestrife at Bluebird Gardens.

Bumblebees in Gardens

It’s been a busy time for calls about bumblebees. We may think our gardens are places to grow food and flowers, and develop a green mantle of a lawn, but to wild animals gardens are home.

Several recent calls centered around bumblebees stinging. Bumblebees, like many other pollinators such as butterflies, are at their peak population in September. Most bumblebee nests are in the ground and house 300-400 bees. Only the queen bumblebee makes it through winter so their canning supplies – honey – are only enough for one bee.

Bumblebees are normally quite docile, going about their business of shaking pollen out of flowers and not bothering anyone. They will sting if they feel threatened. Driving a lawn mower over their nest entrance qualifies to a bumblebee as a threat.

On the other hand, bumblebees are wonderful pollinators, providing a bounty of green peppers and tomatoes.  If you don’t have them in your main traffic area, one option is to stay away from that area until a hard frost. It is a small price to pay for their pollination services.

Have you seen bumblebees in your garden?

Charlotte

Help Pollinators By Not Using Pesticides

Bluebird Gardens homemade bug spray.

Help Pollinators By Not Using Pesticides

Last but not least on how we can help pollinators, from bees to butterflies. we need to rethink how we use pesticides.

I saw my first Japanese beetle drowned in one of my bird baths earlier this week. Instead of using sprays toxic to bees and pheromone traps, which only attract more Japanese beetles, I use a coffee can with a few drops of dishwashing liquid in water to drown the bugs.

I will start knocking the bugs out of fruit trees early morning when the bugs are sluggish and hand pick all I can. 

Make Your Own Bug Spray


I also make my own spray, a few drops of dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle full of water. When I need to discourage a bug from my plants, I use this combination. If I need to ramp it up, I add a few drops of hot sauce and apply using gloves so the hot sauce doesn’t get on my hands.

Pesticides As Exception


That doesn’t mean there aren’t situations where it is appropriate to use pesticides but please consider other options first. Home gardeners continue to be the leading misusers of pesticides, one of the major causes of the continued bee population struggle.

If you have to use pesticides, also please read product labels first. The Environmental Protection Agency has revised their product labels to make it clear when a product is dangerous to specific pollinators.

By helping pollinators, we are not only helping our ecosystems but ensuring our varied food supply.

Charlotte