At long last, spring is really here. Let’s get ready to roll up our sleeves and build a better habitat!
I’m not just talking about planting in gardens and backyards. I partner with all sorts of landowners to make a difference for wildlife in forest habitat, farm habitat, wetland habitat, and so much more.
Whatever your land looks like — no matter how big or small — I just want to say how happy I am that you are here. It is so fulfilling to know that you are dedicated to cultivating a special place for wildlife.
So many wildlife species are experiencing precipitous declines, but we can make a real difference for wildlife – just one plant at a time.
Really! I’m not being naïve, I am convinced that our groundswell effort is like a quiet revolution that is going to turn the tide in a meaningful way. I’ve been saying this in the numerous talks I’ve been giving, and I swear I can see a twinkle in people’s eyes when I offer up that kind of real hope. “Hope is stronger than fear,” and we just need to keep going.
We need to be a voice for the voiceless. We need to get out there and plant for wildlife!
If you got my last newsletter with the list of Superstar Plants, you may be scheming a trip to the nursery. In that case, please see the below section of recommended local nurseries, and plant and seed sources.
Also here are some top tips for planning a habitat garden, which will also give you a lot of direction as you get ready to acquire planting materials.
Ready to say goodbye to the guesswork and endless Google research (it’s like a black hole of information sometimes, am I right)? Maybe you just need a little prod, a few guideposts to help you find your way.
Book me for a virtual or in-person property consultation to get specific on-site recommendations and expert suggestions for your unique space, or land.
Where to Source Plants for Your Habitat Garden
To begin with, I highly recommend this article on “Navigating the Nurseries: How to Find Native Plants” by Heather McCargo.
1. Be a Local Hero – Support Your Local Nurseries!
We are fortunate here in Maine to have many high quality local nurseries. Top choices include Skillins, Estabrooks, and O’Donal’s. Each carries a growing selection of high-quality native plants, and they are knowledgeable and helpful (something you won’t get at a large chain or box store). My personal favorite is Skillins. They are really dedicated to green living and carry many natives, or will get something in on request. They would love to carry more natives, and if there is enough market demand – they will! So ask for natives! Do your research and ask for the straight species (not a cultivar), using the Latin name.
Fedco is also a great place to get shrubs and trees, and their big sale is happening this weekend! They have a great selection of reasonably priced native shrubs and trees.
Also, ask your local Soil and Water Conservation District when and how you can order plants through them.
2. Some Small, Specialty Nurseries Worth Checking Out
Northeast Pollinator Plants in Vermont is a mail-order nursery that only ships to New England and is taking orders through May for delivery in June. Check out their garden collections.
Burnt Meadow Nursery specializes in native plants, especially trees and shrubs.
Fernwood specializes in shade plants.
Native Haunts carries “native New England trees, shrubs, and perennials grown from locally collected seed.”
Edgewood Nursery specializes in “edible and uncommon plants.”
3. Sources for High Quality Seed Wild Seed Project sells “seeds of locally grown native plants.”
Botanical Interests is a great company that specializes in beautiful, untreated seed packets for the home garden. Sold at Skillins, Paris Farmer’s Union, and more.
To get customized recommendations on what to plant where, I’d love to develop a habitat design for you.
by Deborah Perkins, M.S. – Wildlife Ecologist