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December Article
Gift Ideas to Improve your Restoration!

The holidays are certainly festive and stressful at the same time.    As we set our party list and decide on what cookies to bake, we are also thinking of unique and meaningful presents to add to the Christmas list.  If you are still looking for that perfect present, hopefully, we can help you out with a few good ideas to consider.  The items below can be economical, a boost to wildlife, and add visual interest to restoration areas.

Wildlife Houses
There are many different species of birds that will build nests in patches of native vegetation. But there are even more species you can attract to your restoration by adding bird houses. If you are near a lake or pond, consider adding a wood duck house.  Blue bird houses or purple martin condos are also great options for prairie areas. There are even houses you can put up for owls!

Bats are extremely beneficial to the natural environment and help control pest insects in your restoration. Putting up a bat house will give these interesting creatures a safe place to live throughout the season.

As we know, pollinators are critical to our natural ecosystems.  There are numerous species of bees and wasps that use different materials to make their nests. Many use the hollow, pithy stems of native plants to build homes. Simply drilling holes in a block of wood will provide attractive nooks to carpenter bees.  This could be a thrifty and fun gift for a young restorationist.  

If you would like to take it a s tep further, a bee hive may be a perfect gift for you or one of your loved ones?  The University of Minnesota provides extension support for those interested in the budding hobby.

Bird/Butterfly Baths
If you have a restoration that isn't near a body of water consider adding a bird bath or a butterfly water bowl.  Adding a water source is a critical component in your restoration.

Sculptures and other artwork
A restoration adds to our local environment, and also adds to our individual surroundings, creating a comforting sense of place.  Adding art is a terrific way to express yourself and create visual points of interest.  Interesting art and quality restoration go hand-in-hand.

Benches or tables
A bench and table is an invitation to spend time in a restoration.  Having a way-point or a destination in a restoration is a critical component that necessitates human interaction.  So consider a bench or table on the Christmas list - a place to drink morning coffee, read a book, or just a cozy spot to observe the wonders of an ecological restoration!
Rain Barrels
This is another practical item that collects rainwater that later can be used to water your plants.  Rain barrel design has evolved from simple plastic barrels to ones that actually add visual interest to your landscape.  New designs are worth consideration on any Christmas list.
Need another great gift idea? Natural Shore offers native plant gift certificates, as well as certificates for consultations, Phalen Plant ID guides, and restoration projects. Please contact our office for more information.
Merry Christmas from Natural Shore!
Native Plant of the Month
Cardinal Flower
Lobelia cardinalis

Moisture: Wet or Moist
Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade
Color: Red
Bloom: July to September
Height: 2-4 Feet

Cardinal flower is a striking wetland forb that blooms bright red from July to September. This plant prefers "wet feet"- it does best in wetlands, shorelands, and in the basins of rain gardens. It attracts hummingbirds, orioles, butterflies and other insects. Hummingbirds pollinate this plant. It is not long lived, so collect seeds in the fall and spread them in wet areas in order to get more plants.
Invasive Plant of the Month
Copyright 2005 Peter M. Dziuk
Nasturtium officinale
Exposure: Sun or Partial Shade
Moisture: Wet
Height: 0.5-1.5 Feet
Blooms: April-July

A very invasive plant from Europe, watercress chokes out streams and prevents native plants from growing. This is the same species of plant that can be found in your grocery store and are edible. Flowers are small, white, and have 4 round petals with
 yellow  stamens. Leaves are about 3 inches long and compound.
Watercress choking a stream
Watercress invading a stream
 Leaflets are larger at the top and the shape is rounded.  Management strategies include water safe
 herbicides, manual hand-pulling, and removing seed heads. Large infestations can take years to control, especially if the plant remains upstream. 
Insect of the Month

Hummingbird Moth

Hemaris thysbe


Range:Canada, Eastern United States to the Great Plains

Habitat: Open habitats like prairies and meadows


The thorax is a yellow-green olive color. The abdomen is a dark brown color as well as the margins of the wings that are otherwise clear. Underside of thorax is lighter yellow. Antenna are black. 

Pollination: Hummingbird Moths gather nectar from a variety of native plant species. These include Wild Bergamot, Liatris species, Milkweed species, Lobelia species, and many others. 

December 2015 Issue
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Retail Nursery News
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Minnnesota Native Plant Brand ensures that plant species are native to Minnesota.