You Can be a Naturalist!
How to make Naturalist Observations
Around this time of year, everyone starts to get spring fever. Last week, we had strong southerly winds blow in our first 60 degree day. Like clockwork, we see people wearing shorts and T-shirts doing summer activities with a frozen lake in the background. The winter warm-up also gets everyone chattering: “Will this be an early year?” but “the groundhog did see its shadow?” yeah but “the farmer’s almanac says unseasonably warm weather ahead.”
So how do we really know how plants are responding to our dynamic climate? Are our flowers really blooming earlier and the leaves turning later? Does anyone keep track of that kind of information? Thankfully, the answer is yes. A multitude of seasonal changes in our environment are kept track of by people called phenologists . Phenology is the study of the timing of natural events in plant and animal life and their relation to climate. It can be as simple as making visual observations of how a plant species responds throughout the seasons and keeping a written record. 

Pollinator/Insect of the Month
Square-headed wasps
( Ectemnius spp. )

These wasps are predatory wasps, specifically targeting adult flies that they bring back to their nests paralyzed. Their nests are usually found as tunnels in the ground and decaying wood, or in pithy, hollow plant stems. This insect is just under an inch long with large eyes and small antennae. Their bodies are mostly black with yellow abdominal bands and markings on their legs.
Retail Nursery News

Mark Your Calendars!
Visit Us this Spring!
Here are our upcoming retail dates:

Fri. May 15th
Sat. May 16th
Fri. May 29th
Sat. May 30th

For more sale dates and information:
Non-native Species of the Month- Ox-eye Daisy- ( Leucanthemum vulgare )

This is a very commonly seen species that grows in disturbed areas like old farm fields, home gardens, and road ditches. The bright white flowers have about 20-30 petals and yellow centers. The whole flower is about 1-2 inches wide, larger than the similar-looking chamomile flowers. Their stems are dark green with small, lobed leaves. The leaves get longer at the plant's base. Many individual stems can come from one plant's base. The plant can grow 1-3 feet and blooms from June-August, preferring dry, upland soils. It forms dense populations that crowd out native plants. Management strategies include hand pulling smaller infestations, continual mowing to prevent seed maturation, and chemical treatments for larger infestations.
Native Plant of the Month-
Virginia Bluebells ( Mertensia virginica)

This beautiful native plant is an early spring bloomer, growing 1-1.5 feet and blooming from April-June. It prefers moist soils and full to partial shade. Their tubular flowers are an inch long and found in beautiful shades of blue and purple. Leaves are long, smooth, toothless, and light green. Leaves at the base are also bigger then those found on the stem. Virginia bluebells will eventually form large colonies but after it blooms, it will go dormant as summer approaches. Many different species of bees and butterflies that emerge in the spring visit the bluebells for nectar and pollen.
We love to read books about our natural world, and want to share our favorites with you! Every few months we will feature three books in our newsletter with dates where we will discuss them on our Facebook Page .
Here are next three!
Five Plants For- Early Bloomers!
Keep track of the phenology of these spring bloomers and when they first emerge each season. Does it change very much from year to year?
Forager Fix
If you’ve ever spent time pulling garlic mustard, you know their pungent scent. Young leaves of garlic mustard can be used in pesto and salads, or be cooked in any dish that would benefit from a garlic-horseradish flavor! The root may also be consumed, and also has a strong horseradish-like flavor. 

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