Season's Greetings, News and Resources from Prickly Ed's Cactus Patch Native Plant Emporium

December 8, 2022

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Winter Wishes

Sending wishes for a peaceful Winter Solstice Season. The longest night of the year is right around the corner, instead of dreading the darkness, embrace it. As the days get shorter take a cue from nature and slow down, reflect and make a plan for the longer days ahead.

Environmentalist Wendell Berry said "To go in the dark with a light is to know the light. To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight, and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings, and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings." Step outside here at headquarters on a winter night and you are bound to be greeted with the unmistakable calls of Great Horned Owls. Owls are especially sensitive to the effects of habitat fragmentation and thus have a lot to gain by efforts to restore habitat right at home. Some of the ways you can welcome owls to your area include:

  • Planting native plants which enhance the web of life
  • Reducing light pollution to support normal nocturnal activities
  • Avoiding the use of rodenticides and pesticides both of which are especially detrimental to owls

Owls also need large trees, including dead ones. That's one of many reasons why it is important to leave dead trees (snags) standing whenever safe and possible. Snags are an essential part of healthy habitat. Learn more at the link below.

Click here to read more about Owls, Woodpeckers and the Snags that Sustain them

Each month we share an article with area residents in the local newspaper, the Barrington Times. The feature is titled "Life in the Garden". In the latest edition we focused on Getting Your Garden Ready for Winter with tips for Leaving the Leaves and Saving the Stems to create essential wintertime habitat. We rounded out the piece with ideas for wonderful native plants you can include in your garden for winter interest and wildlife benefit. These include plants like Winterberry, Witch Hazel, Bayberry, Christmas Dagger Fern, and River Birch. In case you missed the article in the newspaper, you can read it at the link below.

Life in the Garden -Getting Your Garden Ready for Winter

Give the Gift of Nature Based Gardening

Shop local and give a gift of great gardening. A gift certificate for use at our 2023 Native Plant Emporium is the perfect way to introduce someone to the native plant movement. And, from now through 12/31/2022, purchase $50.00 worth of gift certificates and pay just $45.00. All gift certificates include a helpful and decorative handout on gardening with native plants so you can spread the message far and wide!

Bundle gift certificates with a great book to help inspire others to embrace nature based gardening. Or treat yourself to a book to help with your own garden planning. We've read dozens of books on nature-focused gardening, and are now offering our very favorite ones for purchase. You can read all about them at the link below. Visit our 2022 gift guide web page for all the details and send us a message to order.

Visit our 2022 Holiday Gift Page
Send us a Message

You Can Help Us to Help You!

Spring may feel like a long time away, but, we are elbow deep in ordering for the 2023 Roadside Stand. Help us know how to better supply you with the things you most want. Vote in our poll below. Click as often and as many items as you'd like!

What are you most excited to find at the 2022 Roadside Stand?
Native Perennial Plant Plugs
Larger (gallon sized) Native Perennials
Native Shrubs
Pollinator Friendly Flowering Annuals
Organic Herb and Vegetable Plants
Hardgoods like Organic Compost & Buckwheat Hulls Mulch
Advice and Comradery

Have you started planning your 2023 garden? What plants are on your must have list? Drop us a line and let us know what you are hoping to find at the Native Plant Emporium. If you need large quantities of any variety we offer discount pricing on preorders of deep root native plant plugs (minimum quantity 25 or 50 depending on variety). Contact us to discuss options.

Send us a Message

Working on your 2023 garden plans? We've gathered lots of tools and resources into one place to help you learn more about plants and decide which ones will add the most benefit to your space. Dig in to all of the tools and materials as you think through the steps you want to take to turn your yard into a buzzing habitat. Create your plant lists and craft your plans.

Visit Planning Your Garden
Learn even more about creating healthy habitat for birds by clicking here

A yard full of native plants is a yard full of well fed birds

Winter is a great time to watch birds right in your own backyard. North America has lost three billion (yes that's billion with a b) birds in the last few decades. We can't afford to lose any more. You have a unique opportunity to create healthy habitat for birds right at home. Each restored patch of habitat, the kind you can create in your yard, helps stitch back together the frayed ecosystem at the core of bird losses. To start, plant at least 70% native plants, eliminate pesticide and lawn chemical use, add water sources and leave things a bit messy to offer shelter, foraging and nesting opportunities. Read more about the research and the steps you can take at the link below.

Click here to read the research and learn what you can do to help

What are we up to this winter? Glad you asked!

We've hung up our hats at the Roadside Stand Native Plant Emporium for the winter season, but we are still busy behind the scenes. In addition to ordering lots and lots of great things for the 2023 growing season (see above), we are digging in on fascinating educational opportunities so we are even better equipped to help all of you bring more life to your gardens. We are 2/3 of the way through the New Directions of the American Landscape Ecology Based Landscape Practice Course with Larry Weaner and Ian Canton. What a remarkable opportunity this has been to deeply explore the concepts of creating amazing wild spaces with icons of the industry. Later this month we will start the first of 15 classes with Benjamin Vogt of Monarch Gardens, exploring all the many facets of creating resilient habitat rich spaces right at home. We have also been tuning in to lots of great content being offered through organizations like the Massachusetts Pollinator Network, Grow Native Massachusetts and the Northeast Pollinator Pathway. Stay connected this winter - we will be sharing a wealth of resources and information as we learn.

In early 2023 we are also on tap to present programs for some of the local area garden clubs. We look forward to leading some lively activities, conversations and explorations of the goals, opportunities, trials and tribulations of nature based gardening with these wonderful groups. From the time of its founding the Garden Club of America has been a force in the promotion of ecological awareness. Indeed some of the original women who founded garden clubs were early activists in areas of conservation and environmentalism. That's why local garden clubs are so well positioned to lead a movement to encourage nature focused gardening in yards and communities.

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Read How to Protect Yourself from Lyme Disease if you Love Wildlife by clicking here

How to Protect Yourself from Lyme Disease if you Love Wildlife - from 'Dear Avant Gardener'

One of our delightful customers, Heather Evans, has launched a great blog full of information focused on nature based gardening advice. We especially love a recent piece she wrote on ticks. It is full of the kind of science based information we all need to stay safe while also remaining centered on the importance of building back ecosystem. In the piece she quotes Dr. Doug Tallamy, "To create a world with no ticks we could turn everything into lawn or pavement. The risk from Lyme disease would drop to zero, but so would the probability that we will persist on this planet much longer."

Do You Feel the Urgency? We Do!

We are losing biodiversity at an alarming rate. Why does that matter? Consider this explanation from the National Wildlife Federation. "Biodiversity is the resource upon which families, communities, nations and future generations depend. It is the link between all organisms on earth, binding each into an interdependent ecosystem, in which all species have their role. It is the web of life. Together we all form part of the planet’s ecosystems, which means if there is a biodiversity crisis, our health and livelihoods are at risk too."

That's why we urge you to devote just a quick 24 minutes to watching the video linked below. And after watching share it with family, friends and neighbors too. In just 24 minutes, esteemed entomologist Dr. Doug Tallamy sums up the urgency of our biodiversity crisis and eloquently lays out a call to action for each and every one of us. Feel the urgency! And spread the word.

View a Recording of Landscaping for Pollinators and Birds at Home by Clicking Here

Landscaping for Pollinators and Birds at Home with Desiree Narango

On December 6th we tuned in to a great webinar hosted by the Massachusetts Pollinator Network. The presentation by Conservation Scientist Dr. Desiree Narango was enjoyable, accessible and full of information you can use in your own yard. It also offered research nuggets and action steps that are helpful to share with others looking to learn more about the subject. Find an hour to watch a recording of the event. You will be glad you did!

Help Us Bring More Life to Our Region

We are on a mission to bring life back to area yards and gardens but we can't do it without all of you. Share this message with others using the links below. Invite friends to follow our Facebook Page. Use our newly updated website to share out helpful resources and information to friends and neighbors who are ready to grow habitat outside their own doors. With your support positive change is within reach.

Read our Life in the Garden Blog
Visit and Share all of the Updated Resources on our Website
LinkedIn Share This Email

Northeast Pollinator Pathway Initiative

Ready to join together with neighbors to create a buzz? Be sure to join the Northeast Pollinator Pathway. Fragmentation of habitat makes it difficult - sometimes even impossible - for bees, butterflies, birds (even our beloved hummingbirds) to find enough life supporting habitat. By creating corridors of connected habitat - private and public spaces - we give them a chance to survive and even thrive. To be most effective though, lots of connected properties are needed. So get involved, and encourage neighbors to do the same. If you are in or near Barrington, be sure to get connected to the Barrington Pollinator Pathway Project as well.

Click to Read the Article "Amid the Sprawl, a Long Island Prairie Makes a Comeback"

A Reason to be Hopeful

"Conservation gardens may seem small and inconsequential but added together they can have a major ecological impact."

Earlier this month the Yale School of the Environment published an information rich article on the growing body of research showing that conservation gardens are, in fact, very impactful in bolstering biodiversity. The piece centers on Long Island, an area we ourselves often look to for forward thinking gardening inspiration. It is well worth a read.

Prickly Ed's Cactus Patch

 6 Barneyville Road,

Barrington, RI 02806-2715

(401) 248-4785

Please note, use the address above for mailing or for GPS but the Roadside Stand/Native Plant Emporium is located in Swansea, MA directly next door to the address listed above. Just look for the sign and for the big red barn.

Send Us an Email

Prickly Ed's Cactus Patch, Roadside Stand, Apothecary and Native Plant Emporium is a super small, hyperlocal, roadside stand located directly on the border of Barrington, RI and Swansea, MA focused on making the area a little bit wilder one yard at a time! Offering great native plants, prickly pear cactus, magic dirt, unusual pollinator friendly annuals, organic herb and vegetable plants, lots of solicited and unsolicited advice & random curiosities designed to get your yard really buzzing. You can read all about us on our website, including the story of where the name Prickly Ed's Cactus Patch came from.

Read More About Us Here