While we do not label our perennials as pollinator friendly, they provide safe sources of food and habitat for bees, butterflies and a variety of other wildlife. The only reason we don't brag about that on a tag is because tags don't stay put very well here on the prairie. Wind blows them all over creation, which completely defeats our goal of being an environmentally friendly company.
The fact is, our perennials have not been treated with any insecticides in years. I know that, because I am our perennial grower and that has been my role since 2006. In the past, we have had to drench our flowers with fungicides on occasion. We are doing everything in our power to avoid doing that too. As I write this, my crew is washing one gallon pots in a stock tank full of water in our greenhouse. After all of the pots are washed, they will be treated with a ZeroTol 2.0 solution. ZeroTol is basically a concentrated version of Hydrogen Peroxide. This chemical can be very toxic to bees if they come in direct contact with it on blooming plants. To eliminate that risk, we apply the product to our pots instead. Treating the pots helps prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi that could require more serious methods of control later. I have been doing this for a few years now and have been able to greatly reduce the necessity for fungicide treatments. The process actually takes a few days, but we feel that the benefits outweigh the initial costs.
Our selection of native wildflowers continues to grow. More and more commercial and municipal projects are utilizing native plants, which is a wonderful thing for pollinators and wildlife. Many folks are warming up to the idea of less manicured landscapes. Others are utilizing native plants successfully in more formal designs. Most native plants produce showy seed heads that contribute winter interest as well as critical sustenance. They are generally extremely tough and adaptable; requiring far less from their caretakers than trendy cultivars. Native plants want to be there for the creatures that rely on them readily propagate themselves to achieve that goal. There are many reasons to plant them and I could go on for a while.
You will notice that our nursery is not weed free. While we want to look presentable for our clients, the costs associated with weed control are financially and environmentally high. Herbicides eliminate pollinator habitat, so we try not to go nuts. We treat our production areas so that we can keep our plants healthy. Other areas are hand weeded, weed whipped or left alone. The guys know that I get a little testy when they pull out milkweed plants, so they usually leave them around until the end of the season. We use cover crops to fill the spaces between our rows of trees; which helps reduce the need for pesticides and prevents soil erosion. Our greenhouse floors are covered with ground cloth to keep the weeds at bay. A combination of control strategies helps us respectfully produce beautiful plants.
Our nursery is home to about a million bunnies, coyotes, deer, rodents and raptors. While they can produce some unique challenges for us, we enjoy our encounters with them. Last year, a prairie dog wound up in our shop. We don't see them very often around here and everyone was pretty intrigued. Monarch caterpillars were all over our swamp milkweeds last summer. We also saw plenty on wild plants in the fields. A bee keeper placed his hives right next to our property and we enjoyed hearing a soothing hum while we went about our daily tasks. This is what farming is like for us and we love it! While we are occasionally forced to use insecticides on some of our other crops, we try to avoid doing so whenever possible. We want our plants to be enjoyed by everyone, including the birds and the bees.
May - November
from 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Appointments available by request
Call Connie to set-up an appointment