This is the time of year nursery catalogs arrive in our mailbox. Yours, too, I expect. We used to get catalogs from all over offering us vegetable seed and non-native plants including trees and shrubs. But now we get native plant catalogs, and I’m so glad we do. Arrival of the catalogs means spring is on its way and soon it will be time to watch for the first buds on the trees and shrubs and the first spring ephemerals to burst through the ground, or to start something new.
Catalogs I have received so far are from:
Cardno Native Plant Nursery – formerly the JFNew Native Plant Nursery, they are headquartered out of Walkerton, Indiana and are part of the international infrastructure and environmental services company Cardno which hails from Australia.
Prairie Nursery – one of the oldest prairie nurseries in Wisconsin, it is located in Westfield.
Shooting Star Native Seeds – Spring Grove, Minnesota
All three handle Midwest ecotype seed, while Prairie Nursery and Cardno also include plants. They all have appropriate guidelines for design, planting and maintenance included in their catalogs. Each of them includes pre-designed gardens covering various soil, sunlight and moisture conditions. Prairie Nursery and Shooting Star also include pre-designed mixes for various types of havens — pollinators, birds, wildlife, etc. Cardno carries trees and shrubs and bio-engineering materials such as erosion control blankets and pre-vegetated blankets and logs.
Although they all talk about the importance of burning a prairie, only Shooting Star suggests burning a new prairie planting the third year — I, however, would caution you against that. From my experience, burning the third year is too soon. Often there is not sufficient prairie plant growth to keep underlying weed seed from germinating, and a burn too soon will just encourage that weed germination making maintenance of the new prairie that much more time-consuming.
Although I’ve focused this post on a few native plant nursery catalogs, there are likely many other local sources available to you for native plants. When purchasing from sources which carry a variety of native and non-native plants, however, please follow the Wild Ones local ecotype guidelines when selecting native plants. I’d also encourage you to participate in one of the Wild Ones chapter plant sales, if there is one near you. They will provide the finest native plants at a reasonable price, and you’ll know the plants will be from local ecotype.