Maintenance Field Notes
What a year it's been!
As the summer season quickly cascades into fall, our maintenance crews reflect on another season and what made it unique from past seasons. Every year is different and even though these observations are anecdotal, collectively they are interesting and help us understand the systems that we create and manage at Natural Shore. Below are a few highlights that our staff put together. We are really happy to share them with you!

Host Plant Highlight
90% of plant-eating insects use native plants to grow and survive. Without their native host plants, many butterflies and other insects cannot survive. Birds and other wildlife use caterpillars and other insects to feed their young. Over the last few years, we have seen major declines in both insect and bird populations due to a variety of factors, especially habitat loss and fragmentation. Rebuilding habitat with native plants is crucial in providing food for caterpillars, which in turn provide food for baby birds; making native plants the foundation of our food webs.
Large leaf aster (Eurybia macrophylla)
# of Larval species- 14
Large leaf aster serves as a host plant for 14 species of larval insects! The large, heart shaped leaves are attractive to the caterpillars of crescent and checkerspot butterflies and several species of moths. Large leaf aster makes an excellent ground cover in shady areas and blooms later in the season from August to October. 
Silvery checkerspot butterfly
Large Leaf Aster
Pearl crescent butterfly
Retail Nursery:
Our Retail Nursery is Closed

Thank you for visiting us this season! Our retail nursery is closed but you can still contact our Nursery Manager Jill for information on wholesale stock.

For more information visit:
Non-native Species of the Month- Canada Thistle
(Cirsium arvense)

Canada Thistle is an aggressive perennial and easily displaces native vegetation. It can create large stands from creeping rhizomes and produces an over-abundance of seed. Plants grow 2-5 feet tall, and traits for identification include numerous small pink-violet flowers June-August, flower bracts that are spineless and usually spineless stems. Canada Thistle is widespread in Minnesota, found in areas of disturbance such as roadsides, fields, waste areas, and forest margins. Management includes weed whipping repeatedly before seed formation and spring/fall herbicide applications.

Native Plant of the Month-
Bottle Gentian
(Gentiana andrewsii)

Bottle Gentian is a showy, slow-growing, late-season blooming perennial. The deep-violet flowers are in clusters at the end of stems above whorled leaves or in axils of upper leaves. The flower petals are fused into a bottle shape resembling an unopened flower bud. Even upon maturity, the flowers never open. It thrives in full sun or part sun in moist to wet soil. Found in low prairies, near streams and ponds, wet meadows, and woodland openings. Pollination is by bumblebees and other large bees that can force their way into the "closed" flowers through the small openings.

We love to read books about our natural world, and want to share our favorites with you! On the last Wednesday of each month we will feature a book discussion and review on our Facebook Page.
Here are next three!
Forager Fix

European Bellflower or Creeping Bellflower (Campanula rapunculoide) is our featured Forager Fix this month and is an invasive plant from Europe that should be gobbled all up! NST dog Maya does her part on our walks and can't get enough of it! When she finds European Bellflower she scarfs it down fast before her human can stop her. Disclaimer: we don't advocate giving this to your dog. But it has been found safe for human consumption. The leaves, shoots, and roots are all edible and are rich in vitamin C. They taste better when cooked and can be added to many different dishes. Add the beautiful (but highly invasive) flowers to a dish for garnish as well!

Recent Staff Outing at Keller Golf Course
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