Lupinus perennis production field

Biologs, Bees, and Blooms – A Tour Around the Nursery in Mid-spring

May 08, 2015

This was a beautiful week on the Nursery grounds and things are humming—both literally and figuratively. Figuratively humming with all of the seeding, planting, building, and shipping that’s taking place. Literally humming with bumblebees and other pollinators flitting about, searching out nectar and pollen from everything in bloom.


In this week’s post, we’ll take a tour around the Nursery grounds and have a quick look at all that’s growing and going on.


This week we constructed and installed an expanded vegetated coir log growing crib. This site will eventually be able to house over 1000 vegetated coir logs, which are biodegradable logs composed of tightly packed coconut coir material. These logs are highly effective tools for stream bank restoration, erosion control projects, and wetland edge establishment. The logs can be planted with custom mixes of our native plugs, which extend their roots throughout the material, and eventually establish themselves once the logs have been installed. We’re really excited to expand our capacity for vegetated coir logs and to be able to offer this expanded inventory to our customers. 


The greenhouses continue their lively springtime ebb and flow. Flats are planted, transplanted, grown out, and shipped, just to make way for the next successional planting. Here you can see a beautiful mix of Asclepias, Scirpus, and Carex species, all deep green and waiting to find their permanent home in some habitat restoration or native landscaping project.


We’ve been hard at work in our seed production fields, as well. To produce the highest quality seed, our production crews began early in spring with the necessary regimen of fertilization and cultivation. Come autumn, this field of Solidago speciosa (showy goldenrod) will have already shown off its beautiful yellow blooms, and will be heavily laden with full clusters of seed for harvest.


Already in bloom in the fields are Baptisia bracteata (cream wild indigo) and Lupinus perennis (wild lupine).



Our bee blocks are also showing signs of habitation by our blue orchard mason bee friends. These blocks were featured in a previous post about helping to provide native pollinator shelters at the Nursery. These “bee blocks” were installed several weeks ago on the edges of our fields, and the bees that take up residence there will help to pollinate our Lupinus and Baptisia, among others.


Our wetlands are beginning to come to life with the onset of warm weather. We have several acres of managed wetland areas for bareroot plant propagation. Below is a photo of the first green shoots emerging from a planting of Scirpus fluviatilis (river bulrush) that was installed late last summer.


Nearby there are several young seedlings of Alisma subcordatum (common water plantain) springing up through the Houghton muck soil.


And the first Nuphar advena (yellow pond lily) blossoms have emerged from the surface of our wetland propagation ponds.


All in all, it’s a very exciting time to be growing things, and sending out thriving native plants to be included in many different kinds of projects—wetland mitigations, large scale ecological restoration projects, small home monarch plantings, and many others.