What's Growing in the Greenhouse?
Are you ready for spring?!
Every winter we eagerly anticipate the arrival of spring, the migrating birds returning, plants greening up, and trees leafing out. It is a tell-tale sign of another year of native plant installations and busy invasive species management. But before all that new life, when the winter winds still blow and the snow and ice is still covering the sleeping landscape, we start warming up the greenhouse. 

The hard work of growing the native plants we will sell at our retail nursery and use in our installations starts in February. We sow seeds, clean up overwintering plants, divide plants, transplant seedlings, and so much more! Our native plants grow quickly and robustly after a lot of hard work and special care, and then are ready to be planted on the landscape.

Click on the link below to see a slideshow of our efforts to bring you the healthiest Minnesota native plants we can!
Host Plant Highlight
90% of plant-eating insects use native plants to grow and survive. Without their native host plants, many butterflies and other insects cannot survive. Birds and other wildlife use caterpillars and other insects to feed their young. Over the last few years, we have seen major declines in both insect and bird populations due to a variety of factors, especially habitat loss and fragmentation. Rebuilding habitat with native plants is crucial in providing food for caterpillars, which in turn provide food for baby birds; making native plants the foundation of our food webs.
Willows (Salix spp.)
Willows, shrubs within the genus Salix, serve as host plants for 355 species of larval insects! The leaves are typically linear to oblong in shape and host caterpillars of the Henry’s marsh moth and mourning cloak butterfly. Pussy willow (Salix discolor) has soft, whitish gray flowers with bright yellow pollen on the anthers. They flower in the spring and are an important early food source for pollinators. Willows grow best in moist to wet soils. There are around 20 native willow species in Minnesota.
Henry’s marsh moth (Acronicta insularis)
Pussy willow
 (Salix discolor)
Mourning cloak butterfly (Nymphalis antiopa)
Retail Nursery:
Spring is Here! And it's almost time to start planting!

Our retail nursery and online ordering are currently closed but will reopen this spring on the following dates:

May 14-15
May 21-22
June 4-5
June 25-26
July 16-17
Aug 13-14

For more information visit:
Non-native Species of the Month Hoary Alyssum (Beteroa incana)-

Hoary Alyssum is an annual, occasionally biennial, plant that prefers dry and disturbed areas. Although not a threat to existing native plant communities, its infestations can affect the success of plant restoration efforts. Identification is by gray-green alternate leaves with fine hairs, round clusters of 4-petaled white flowers that appear June-August, and round, flattened seed pods that appear under the current flowers. Hoary Alyssum has a strong taproot, which makes pulling and digging hard to accomplish. Other control methods include weed whipping when seeds aren’t present to reduce plant production and prescribed burning for large infestations. 

Native Plant of the Month-
Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense)-

Wild Ginger is a stemless, hairy plant growing from shallowly rooted rhizomes. A native groundcover, it blankets shady areas in a show of attractive leaves that remain throughout the season. A single red-brown flower, growing low to the ground, arises between a pair of kidney-shaped leaves. Flowers are well-hidden by the leaves. Grows in shady, woodland conditions. Pollination by beetles, flies, and ants. Rhizomes have an aromatic scent reminiscent of the tropical true ginger. 

We love to read books about our natural world, and want to share our favorites with you! On the last Wednesday of each month we will feature a book discussion and review on our Facebook Page.
Here are next three!
Watch March's Book Review Here!
Our March Book Club Review was local bee and wasp expert Heather Holm's new book Wasps. Watch our zoom meeting with her as we discuss the interesting details of the lives of our fascinating local wasps!
Forager Fix

Stinging nettle may be unfriendly in it’s uncooked state, but if you can withstand the prickles enough to pick young leaves and get them to a kitchen, cooking or blanching the leaves will take away the sting. Nettle leaves are great for teas, pesto, and delicious soups.

Greenhouse Jacob's Ladder, ready to go!
Natural Shore Technologies, Inc. | www.naturalshore.com