We are thrilled to kick off another season of plants sales, the hallmark of Maine Audubon’s “Bringing Nature Home” program. Our hoop house and farmhouse lawns are loaded up with thousands of beautiful, healthy, and organic potted Maine native plants. Just like last year, we launch online sales at shop.mainenativeplants.org on June 1, and contactless curbside pick-ups start on June 3, and will run on Thursdays and Fridays through the summer.
Maine Audubon’s impressive horticulture team will be transplanting and growing new plants all summer, and we’ll be sourcing new trees and shrubs weekly while supplies remain. Check the website for updates throughout summer. We are also holding back species that don’t look great yet, or haven’t rooted out due to cool temps this spring. We’ll be adding species weekly for most of the summer.
The team has been hard at work over the winter sowing seeds, sourcing seedling “plugs” from our partner vendors, and updating our online Maine Native Plants Finder (mainenativeplants.org) as a reference for you. Look for the following updates and lists coming in June:
- New species: We’re still thinking of and stumbling upon great native plants that are well adapted for our gardens and yards. This year’s new arrivals include new species of Joe Pye Weed, Beardtongue, and Goldenrod, all selected to be better behaved and suited to smaller locations.
- Climate Resiliency species: We are very picky about what we call “Maine native plants,” but there is no denying that ranges are changing in ways that have become predictable, especially when you note the birds and insects already foraging here. While we’re still not characterizing them as native to Maine, we are growing and promoting species like Scarlet Beebalm, Northern Blazing Star, and New York Ironweed that serve as caterpillar hosts and help Maine birds.
- Ongoing releases and new plants all summer: Horticulture is a full time job for us from April through October, and we hope that you’ll keep planting and coming back all growing season long. Pick little projects where you can replace or add plants, pause long enough to admire your work, look for critters, and then move along to your next little project.
Please also stay tuned for news about our exciting partnership demonstration plantings. We have large projects in Portland, Lewiston, and South Portland that promise thousands of new Maine native plants and acres of improved wildlife habitat in some of our state’s most developed landscapes. We’ve also been advising on plantings for large solar arrays, starting a new community engagement program with Maine State Parks, and are teaming up with the Cooperative Extension on a new Maine Master Gardener training curriculum.
As things reopen and stay safe, Maine Audubon will look to add in-person “Bringing Nature Home” programs and events. Check the events page of our website and sign up for our e-newsletters to get regular updates. We hope to add native plants walks, outdoor workshops, and in-person plants shopping as safety and resources allow.
Happy planting, and thank you for “Bringing Nature Home” this summer and beyond!