As the days grow warm so too does our desire to plant. But hold your horses there friends! The vast majority of native plant producers start their seeds in unheated greenhouses. This allows the plants to germinate early and get a head start on the growing season while also being relatively in sync with their natural timing. However, it still takes these plants about 3 months to grow large enough to distribute to us, the hungry masses. That means that in colder climates, say Michigan for example, plants aren’t ready until mid-May at the earliest, sometimes we have to wait until late May or early June! Ugh. It truly is a hard-fought moral virtue to have patience at this time!
Until the baby plants are hardy enough to go to their forever homes, we have been hard at work preparing for another growing season of creation, restoration and connection.
Service Request Form is Open
Many of you have received one of our services in the past. Some of you may have requested one but it was unable to be fulfilled. Maybe you have friends, family or neighbors who might be interested in a deeper connection with their land – or at least getting a free garden. We are accepting requests and would love to fill up our slots ASAP. Please pass this information along. Below are links to the Service Request Form and our Facebook announcement.
We knew it would be a big year with the launch of Adapt Landscape but WOW this has been extraordinary. In addition to the 200 free micromeadow plantings and garden kits, and 200 native trees and shrubs will be installing in our member communities, we will be installing 35 large gardens in Michigan including a 2 acre prairie planting. In total we’ve ordered over 9000 plants to be installed just this spring!
As restoring our ecosystems through native planting gardening has become more popular, so too has the demand for plants. So much in fact that the demand is outpacing the supply. Each year certain species sell out earlier and earlier despite the best efforts of the producers to grow more and more. Here’s another place where hard-fought patience is a great moral virtue. If you can’t find what you need right now, don’t worry about it. Don’t find a replacement. Place your orders at your local native plant producer for fall planting within the next few weeks and get those plants guaranteed!
It’s barely spring, we haven’t put a plant in the ground and yet we will be placing our fall orders in just a few weeks! Get yours in before we do or we will take ALL the Carex rosea.
Visit our homepage (https://adaptecology.org/ ) and click on the location nearest you to find a list of recommended native plant sellers. We highly recommend avoiding conventional garden centers and nurseries. In addition to not selling appropriate native species, many or most of those plants are produced using insecticides including neonicotinoids. Bad news all around. Best to simply avoid!
Past Recipients, We have a Request.
Did you receive a garden kit or micromeadow planting? We want to hear from you! Tell us about your experience, ask any questions you may have…
PLEASE SEND US PHOTOS!!!
It is our sincerest hope that our connection with each other can last well beyond the short time we have together in person. Send us questions here or contact your local Community Leader to say hello and keep in touch.
If you are on Facebook, join our online community called The Adapters. You can ask questions, share photos, request and share resources like tools, plants, books, help.
Click here and request to join.
What to do with your Garden as it wakes up.
The short answer is … it depends. We’d like to take you through a few examples and hopefully one is right for your situation. Remember, first and foremost, that you are working with a space that should give you energy, that you should be proud of, that you should enter and exit with great feelings about what you’ve brought into existence and care for. Think about your situation holistically. Elements that may not seem to be part of the garden can still have a profound impact on your feelings in the garden. Think of the humans around you. They are as much a part of your garden as all the plants, animals and microbes.
Situation 1: The Trailblazer.
You are the first person with a native plant garden in your community. Everyone already thought you were a little weird. Now, they KNOW it. You truly do want the best for all the plants and animals out there, you even think about FUNGI and all their cute mycelium that’s stretching for millions of miles in the soil. You know that there are overwintering insects in the stems of all the plants that you thoughtfully left stand over the winter. You also know it’s not quite warm enough yet to cut them down.
Cut them down.
Your orientation at this point should be toward your human neighbors. You want them to feel as best as THEY can about YOUR landscape. Let’s just barely push the boundary and engage their curiosity, interest and questions. Let’s not run them over with a prairie and then smack them in the face with all the dead stems. We need to get these neighbors on with living diversity before we get into the fact that dead plant debris is a functional and sorely needed aspect of diversity (and, when you learn to see, it’s beautiful as well).
Situation 2: The Tentative Explorer
You’ve planted a garden and live in a community where gardens are fairly common but not the norm. Some people leave their stems up, others are tidying the moment the thermometer hits 45 on a sunny day. You are unsure what to do. You think the morally correct action is to leave the stems up. But it feels wrong to you for whatever reason.
Cut down to 12-18 inches.
This will provide some habitat while also tidying up the look. The height you leave is up to you. Remember, this is your garden. You need to feel good about your landscape as you will convey whatever energy resides inside of you. If you feel good about it, others will too. Take the time to figure out what is making you feel off and try your best to address it. If it’s simply that you like it tidying, that’s OK! Keep in mind that fire regularly swept across vast tracts of this country. Your shears pale in destructive force next to fire.
Situation 3: The Woke City Dweller
You live in a city where gardens are the norm, more are being built every year, the council supported No Mow May (please don’t do it again), and vegetation height ordinances have exceptions for native plants. Your garden is BUCK WILD.
Leave ⅓ for the whole year, cut ⅓ at 12-18 inches, completely tidy ⅓.
You have the opportunity to create a mosaic of different habitat opportunities. Go for it. Be sure to rotate the areas year after year so that debris isn’t building up for more than 3 years in any particular spot. However, all native grasses should have the dead stems and leaves around and above them removed at least every 18 months or they will start to lose vigor.
Be sure to keep vegetation near sidewalks and driveways shorter, even though your city allows you to let it grow. We need to think of our community members who feel the least comfortable and make sure we take care of them.
Situation 4: The Rural Prairie or Woodland.
You lucky sonofa… You got your acreage complete with a forest and prairie and old field and chickens and an F250 Superduty Crewcab with a 5 ½ foot bed that you use to take the kids to soccer practice in the city. I hate you because I want to be you.
Consult local prescribed fire contractors and set fire to a portion of the prairie and, if a fire dependent ecosystem (i.e. oak forests), the woods every year. Learn from the contractors how to do it yourself if local law allows AND it is safe to do so. If fire is not allowed, mow the portion of the prairie that should get burned in any particular year. Selectively cut saplings in the woods to allow for greater light penetration to the forest floor. Always be on the lookout for invasive species!
You get to participate in the flow of life as your location encourages. Give into the flow and enjoy life
Events in the Ann Arbor Area
- April 12th, “Nature in Our Neighborhood: The Heritage of Our Place in the World and How We Can Support Abundant Natural Communities” by Community Leader Jonathan Parker. Preceded at 6:30 p.m. by a potluck; bring a dish to pass. 7:15 PM talk. Pittsfield Grange, 3337 Ann Arbor–Saline Rd.
- April 16th, Earth Day Ypsilanti 4. Ypsilanti Freight House, 100 Market Pl, Ypsilanti, MI 12PM-5PM.
- April 26th Argus Farm Stop, Packard Cafe. 1200 Packard St, Ann Arbor. William will be giving a talk on preparing your garden for native planting. Spoiler alert! It’s very different from conventional landscaping advice. 6:30 PM.
We hope the longer days and warmer weather are lifting your spirits like they are ours. We look forward to a new season of planting with you!
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2 thoughts on “Adapt Now: April 2023”
In an effort to both clean up my front-yard native gardens, and protect the bees that may still be inside hollow stems, I’ve been putting the stems along the side of the house and leaving them there for a couple months (or until I get new stems a year later). I think that works but I would like your opinion.
We think it’s a great idea! If the stems are clean you can also use them as mulch in your veggie beds.