Winter 2019 - The Magic Three vs The Insect Apocalypse
Today the phrase Insect Apocalypse was trending on Twitter. Sigrid Ellis posted a simple thread talking about how each and everyone of us can actually help stop this. And you know what?
WE CAN STOP IT.
YOU CAN STOP IT.
I want to make this super simple for anyone to start making a measurable difference in their own backyard, right now.
Plant these three plants this spring in a sunny spot in your yard. Water them occasionally this first year, then just sit back and enjoy them for years to come. Plant them once and they will come back for you every year.
If planting these three is literally the ONLY thing you do, you will already be doing 100x more for bees, butterflies, birds, and your ecosystem than you were a few short months before.
MIracle Worker # 1: Purple Coneflower - Echinacea purpurea
I know you’ve seen this flower. It’s beautiful, cheery, blooms for a good portion of the summer and behaves itself by not spreading like crazy in your yard. Once you plant it, you only want more. Butterflies love its nectar, birds eat its seeds in the fall and winter, and native bees use the leftover standing flower stalks as nesting material.
Miracle Worker #2: Swamp milkweed - Asclepias incarnata
This one is a little lesser known, but you will come to love it too. Don’t let its name fool you, this dude will grow in regular, non swampy yards in full sunlight. It pink flowers smell like vanilla when in bloom, and native, non-aggressive bumblebees lose their minds over it. Also, most importantly, it will feed the caterpillars of the monarch butterfly - a species which is THISCLOSE to becoming endangered. If you plant it, you WILL get monarchs.
Miracle Worker #3: New England Aster - Symphyotrichum novae-angliae
You don’t see these everywhere (yet) but they are lovely. These asters produce tons of little purple blooms in the fall. Having a late bloomer like this is extremely important, because pollinators are still hanging around until the middle to end of fall and not many plants are blooming and providing nectar for food during this time. This plant will stay right where you plant it and not get crazy. Again, the leftover stalks will provide important shelter and nesting material in the winter.
Your local home and garden shop may not be WOKE enough yet to carry all of these. Online nurseries have them, though! Prairie Nursery, Prairie Moon Nursery, and American Meadows are perfect places to start. And, they will ship them to you at the right time to plant them!
Do an online search for the phrase “native plant sales in (my city, state)” and you may find a sale close to you that carries them.
There are any number of varieties of plants out there and it is absolutely overwhelming. However, these three plants WILL make a difference. Will you join us?