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July Article
Maintenance Memo- July Observations

1.       Peak Bloom Period is Upon Us:  Our natural areas are looking simply gorgeous right now with beautiful wetland and prairie flowers blooming in an array of breathtaking purples, pinks, yellows. Bergamot, Oxeye, Grey Headed Coneflower, Swamp Milkweed, Butterfly Flower, and Purple Coneflower are just a few species that are in full bloom. Blazing Star species, Prairie Onion, and Cardinal flower are following close behind and should be showing off their amazing colors in the next week or so.


2.       Native Grasses Gaining Respect!  Cool season

Big Bluestem

grasses like Canada rye and Prairie brome often share the stage with our showy flowers by putting up some pretty dazzling seed heads, while our warm season grasses are just starting to become more noticeable.  Blue grama, with its delicate eyelash shaped seed heads are a welcome site in July.  With the consistent rains that we have experienced, little bluestem is filling out and putting on many shades of grey, blue, bronze, and green.  Big bluestem is just starting to form its "turkey-foot" seed head.  Our native flowers often get a lot of attention, but a multitude of grass species are a wonderful addition to ecological restorations, as they provide essential habitat and eye-catching colors and textures throughout the year.


3.       Watch out Overhead! With a multitude of flower

Swallowtail on Pale Purple Coneflower

species blooming right now, we are seeing so much flying activity that it would give the best air traffic controller a migraine! Native bees and butterflies are doing figure eights around their favorite plants. This year, we have seen hundreds of swallowtails and American and Painted Lady butterflies. Unfortunately, despite what seems like a good year for milkweed, our maintenance crew hasn't been seeing that many Monarch butterflies or caterpillars. Usually by this time of year, we observe them in our greenhouses as well as all over milkweed in the field.  Fingers crossed, we will soon begin to see the Monarch.



Purple Loosestrife

Uggg - weeds: It's been a robust summer for our weeds as well, with all the timely rain, growing conditions for weeds have been excellent. Reed Canary Grass, Burdock, Sweet Clover, and Canada Thistle are already going to seed.  Weeds like Hoary Alyssum, Sow Thistle, Prickly Lettuce, and Purple Loosestrife are flowering and beginning to set seed. Tip of the month: To break the weed seed cycle, be sure to cut the flowers off or bag and collect the weed seed before it disperses on the ground!  This is a critical step in getting pesky weeds under control.


5.       When to Water? It's been a rainy summer but things are still getting dry in July with our sunny days and 90 degree temperatures.  Established native plants are great at handling drought conditions - no watering is needed.  Their deep root systems are a safeguard against extended dry periods.   However, newly planted restoration areas need about 1" of water per week to ensure survival and establishment.  Also, remember to check on newly planted trees and shrubs.  Gator tree bags are an efficient way to deliver water to woody species.  Over the long-run, established natural areas will work to conserve and protect our cherished water resources in our great state.


What have you noticed in your restoration this month?  Visit our retail greenhouse and pick up a few new species to add plant diversity.  Enjoy the beautiful weather and all the wonderful native blooms! 
Native Plant of the Month
Mountain Mint     
Pycnanthemum virginianum

Moisture: Wet or Moist
Exposure: Full Sun or Partial Shade
Color: White
Bloom: July-August
Height: 1-3 Feet

Mountain Mint is a very aromatic plant with square stems and hairs along the edges.  This plant has a bushy appearance and spreads by rhizomes.  Being a mint, all parts of the plant emit strong scent when bruised.  Their small white tubular flowers are found in robust clusters at the terminal ends of their flower stalks.  The flowers are white but dotted with purple spots on inside of petals.  Mountain mint has a long blooming period, lasting a month.  It grows best in sun to part sun in upland moist to wet saturated soil.  Will tolerate drier conditions.  Found in moist sand prairies, wet meadows, fens, swamps, along lakeshores, and streambanks.  Flowers attractive to butterflies, bees, beetles, and wasps.  Deer resistant.  Leaves and flowers used for tea, in cooking, and for medicine by Native Americans.  Other common names are Virginia mountain mint, wild basil, prairie hyssop, and narrow-leaved mountain mint.
Invasive Plant of the Month
Giant Ragweed
2002 Peter M. Dziuk

Ambrosia trifida
Exposure: Sun or Partial Shade
Moisture: Dry
Height: 3-12 Feet!
Blooms: July-September
Color: Green

This plant is native to Minnesota but because of its height, prolific nature, and its ability to cause allergies, it is considered weedy. Leaves can be a foot long and have 3-5 deep lobes. Stems are purplish in color and hollow. Fine hairs cover most of the plant.  Management strategies include hand pulling or mowing.  Native plant alternatives include Oxeye or Anise Hyssop.
Insect of the Month
Great Golden Digger Wasp
Sphex ichneumoneus

Range: Southern Canada, United States, Northern Central America
Habitat: Prairies and open fields
Adult Identification: Large but docile wasp with black and orange/gold markings on abdomen and thorax. Dark wings. Golden hair on head. 
Pollination: Adults feed on nectar from various native plant species such as Swamp Milkweed, Culver's root, Purple Prairie Clover, and Rattlesnake Master. They also bring back paralyzed insects back to feed their young in their nests. 
Employee of the Month
Becky Dittrich
Maintenance Crew

Becky joined our maintenance crew this year and has been a great addition! She has years of site management experience and is very knowledgeable with native and non-native plant identification.  Her background education is a B.S. in Environmental Sciences from Bethel as well as a minor in Biology. She enjoys hiking, knitting, and playing hockey. She is a greatly appreciated addition to our maintenance crew!
July 2016 Issue
Our Company
Retail Nursery News
Our retail nursery is re-opening f or the 2016 season! Check out sale dates below. Want to place a plant order? Contact Jill at

Our retail nursery will be open 10am-4pm on the below dates:

August 12th-13th

Click and visit our website for current
Minnnesota Native Plant Brand ensures that plant species are native to Minnesota. 
Five Plants For:
Shady Areas:

1. Sprengel's Sedge
( Carex Sprengelii)
Moist, Sun/Part Shade, 1-2ft.
2. Foxglove Beardtongue
( Penstemon digitalis)
Moist/Dry, Full Sun to Full Shade, White, 3-4ft. 
3. Columbine
( Aquilegia canadensis)
Moist/Dry, Full Sun to Full Shade, Red, 2-3ft.

4. Zigzag Goldenrod
( Zizia aurea)
Moist/Dry, Sun/Partial Shade, Yellow, 1-3ft.

5. Bottlebrush Grass
( Hystrix patula)
Moist/Dry, Sun/Partial Shade, 2-4ft.