Natural Shore Technologies |  612-703-7581 
August Article

Greenhouse Life


Year after year, we are continually amazed at the living complexities that we observe in our retail and production 

greenhouses.  Once we pack them full of native plants in the spring, it is guaranteed that a rich assortment of animals will quickly show up in these unique and inviting environments.   We don't use any sort of pesticides or insecticides, so it is definitely a safe, stable, and inviting environment.  The saying "If you build it, they will come," can be loosely applied to ecological restoration as well as our native plant greenhouses.


Once we see flowering take place, a multitude of pollinators quickly take up residence in our opaque and very toasty hoop shelters.  Bumblebees and butterflies constantly flutter around the natives, and put on quite a show.  Although our plants will only be in the greenhouse for a short amount of time, pollinators waste no time visiting them.


Monarchs are often seen feeding on the pollen of flowering swamp milkweed or 

butterfly weed. At times, their caterpillars may chew on our plants for food, but we are more than happy to share.  Sometimes, our happy clients even may walk away with a milkweed plant and a hitchhiking monarch.  What a bonus!


Our friendly bumblebees seem to be happy to feed on just about any flower that they can land on. However, we have noticed over the years they seem to be particularly fond of purple prairie clover, mountain mint, joe-pye weed, anise hyssop, and of course bergamot-also appropriately called "bee balm."


Pollinators are not the only creatures we see using our native plants before they are even planted in the ground.  We are continually entertained by leaping frogs, slithering snakes, stealthy birds, friendly chipmunks, wary mice, and tiny voles that are looking for food and safe shelter.  Certain animals will seek out certain plant species, even in the greenhouse.  For example, we often notice many small

 voles and mice seem to single out bebb's and fox sedge for nesting material.  Who knows, this may have to do with the fine texture of the sedge leaves?


So you may not have a greenhouse, but you can introduce native plant communities to restore a

 shoreline, wetland, prairie, woodland or other unique habitats.  "Plant it and they will come."  Choosing plants that have different bloom periods can be a very effective way to provide for pollinators throughout the growing season. This ensures they have a continual food source and you will have an amazing air show day after day.  Planting emergent aquatic plants like bulrush and arrowhead is a magnet for fish, frogs, turtles, and wading birds.  The possibilities on how you can create and improve native habitats are almost endless.

Native Plant of the Month
Anise Hyssop          
Agastache foeniculum

Moisture: Moist or Dry
Exposure: Sun or Partial Shade
Bloom: July-August
Color: Purple
Height: 3-4 Feet

A perennial with 4-sided stems that is typical of Mint Family members.  Anise Hyssop has dense terminal spikes of blue flowers.  The top side of their leaves are dull green with a whitish underside due to short hairs.  If you crush their leaves you get a strong black licorice or anise smell.  Anise Hyssop is also more resistant to drought than other Mint Family species. They are pollinated by honeybees, bumblebees, and other bees seeking pollen.  Their flowers are also very attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds for the nectar and their seeds are eaten by gold finches.  They propagate by division and seeds and grow in dry upland woods and prairie.  Deer don't like the plant because of its aromatic oils.  The flowers are edible and the leaves are used to make tea and used medicinally for coughs, fevers, and diarrhea.  Other common names are blue giant hyssop and licorice mint.

Invasive Plant of the Month

Russian Olive

Elaeagnus angustifolia


Exposure: Sun or Shade

Moisture: Dry or Moist

Height: Up to 25 Feet

Blooms: June-July


A shrub or small tree, the Russian Olive was introduced for landscaping and wildlife habitat purposes but now invade native woodlands and fields. Leaves are alternate, lance shaped, and a very distinct silver-gray color. Bark is gray and falls off in long fibrous strips. Twigs can develop terminal thorns. It spreads by suckers, resprouts, and from olive-like seeds that can stay viable for years. Management strategies include cutting the tree down and treating the stump with herbicide. Stumps that go untreated can resprout new shoots. 

Pollinator of the Month

Northern Pearly-eye
Enodia anthedon


Range: Throughout North America

Habitat: Wet areas like low woodlands and marshes. 

Identification: A small tan moth with lines of eyespots going down the margins of its wings. The ends of their antenae are also black. 

Pollination: The adults use sap from willow, birch, and poplar trees. The caterpillars use Bottlebrush grass as a host plant. 

August 2015 Issue
Our Company
Retail Nursery News
Our Retail Nursery is open! Come visit us during these dates in August!

We are open from 10AM-4PM

Friday August 14th
Saturday August 15th

Click and visit our website for current
Minnnesota Native Plant Brand ensures that plant species are native to Minnesota.