Winter Seed Sowing

Winter seed sowing is a great way to grow most native plants! The seeds of many native species require cold, moist stratification to germinate. This occurs naturally when a seed falls on the soil and goes through an average Illinois winter.

These conditions can be mimicked in the refrigerator with a moist paper towel or a spoonful of sand, planting the seeds after meeting the required time for stratification of a particular species.

Winter sowing is an even simpler option—great for gardeners of all levels of experience. Planting in a milk jug or other recycled container gives seedlings a head start, as the containers create a mini-greenhouse to trap heat, speeding up germination and protecting seedlings during spring cold snaps, and lets nature work its magic! Continue reading “Winter Seed Sowing”

Pollinator Plants for Your Garden — Part 4

This post wraps up our 4 part blog series describing 12 easy-to-grow plants for attracting pollinators (butterflies, bees, etc) to your garden. View earlier blog posts here.

The final three plants described in the post are swamp milkweed, sneezeweed and aromatic aster. All 12 species discussed in the series are available for free (while supplies last!) a locations around Petersburg–see December 12th blog for details. Continue reading “Pollinator Plants for Your Garden — Part 4”

Pollinator Plants for Your Garden — Part 3

yellow coneflower
Black-eyed Susan is a prolific bloomer with showy yellow daisy-like flowers July through September.

This is Part 3 of a 4 part blog series describing 12 easy-to-grow plants for attracting pollinators (butterflies, bees, etc) to your garden. If you missed Parts 1 and 2, you can read Part 1 here;  read Part 2 here. The 12 species discussed in the series are all available for free (while supplies last!) a locations around Petersburg–see December 12th blog, Create Your Own Pollinator Habitat at Home, for details. Continue reading “Pollinator Plants for Your Garden — Part 3”

Signs of Spring

Dicentra cucullaria

During this time of social distancing and sheltering in place, those of us who love exploring the out of doors and nature are the lucky ones. Spring is happening and every day brings new changes. Migrating songbirds are starting to arrive from the south, many trees are starting to show signs of first blooms and buds, and native wildflower foliage is pushing through the leaf litter.

What are you noticing?

Phlox divaricata
Phlox divaricata, the wild blue phlox, woodland phlox, or wild sweet William.
Stylophorum diphyllum
Stylophorum diphyllum, commonly called the celandine-poppy or woods-poppy.
Mertensia virginica
Mertensia virginica, common name Virginia bluebells.