The COVID-19 pandemic may have wiped out our fifth annual in-person Native Plants Sale & Festival, but it has still been a wildly successful year for the “Bringing Nature Home” initiative. We launched the new Maine Native Plant Finder website in May, and look forward to an expanded 2.0 version in time for late summer. We saw nearly 1,000 people all over the state on virtual programs screens learning about the benefits of growing native plants and where to find them. In the first month of online plants sales, our sales have exceeded $40,000. Perhaps most importantly, though, together we have put more fantastic plants in the ground throughout Maine’s landscapes than ever before. We are incredibly grateful for our sponsors, Ann & Jim Hancock, as well as the support we got from Maine businesses like Pierson’s Nursery, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, and Bissell Brothers Brewery, all of whom were also pivoting to brand new operations and business models to survive. Most importantly, thank YOU for buying and growing Maine native plants!
Don’t forget, though: we’re only halfway through the growing season and really just getting started reaping the full rewards of years of investment and growth. As we approach the dog days of August, we continue to stock fantastic plants, and species that we grow from seed are just now becoming ready for sales. Midsummer is a fine time to plant new plants as long as you can water them through the dry, hot spells (remember, watering deeply and less frequently is far better than frequent shallow watering). Plus, the absolute best time to plant all year in our experience is stillover a month away, starting after Labor Day when the extended heat usually breaks and we generally get more precipitation.
Right now, you should be sizing up your midsummer colors and host plants. If you don’t have milkweeds, bee balms, sunflowers, Joe Pye Weed, mountain mint, or other midseason bloomers and pollinator staples starting to bloom around you, visit our online plant store and order some for curbside pickup in Falmouth. If you had Coreopsis, Rudbeckia, Heliopsis, and other all-summer-long bloomers, the blooms you could have enjoyed the past few weeks will be around for many more. Lastly, how is your supply of late-season sources of nectar such as goldenrods and asters that are still a full month away from filling your fall with color and pollinators?
Keep visiting shop.mainenativeplants.org often as we’re adding new plants weekly. And send us your photos and success stories! We’d love to see the plants we have nurtured make their way into your yards and spaces and flourish. Post here, or on social media and tag @maineaudubon or #mainenativeplants.