Summer 2020 has been a difficult and unprecedented one on so many different levels. However, we couldn’t be more proud of what we have accomplished in promoting and restoring Maine native plants, and the countless resulting benefits to wildlife and habitat throughout the state over the last four months. Huge thanks to our sponsors, supporters, staff, vendors, program partners, and, most of all, everyone who bought and planted beautiful and beneficial plants from Maine Audubon this season!
But we’re not quite done yet! You can still place orders online through Sunday, September 27, and schedule curbside pick-up at Gilsland Farm through Friday, October 2. We still have a huge selection and ample quantities of perennials, grasses/sedges, trees, and shrubs available (native plants such as the Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana) pictured here are literally growing out of their pots and hoophouse at Gilsland Farm this week), and early fall is an ideal time to add new species and plants to your garden, yard, and community. Ask your local school, place of worship, library, nursing home, etc. if they’d like some new plantings. Our plants look beautiful and are looking for a home in the ground to go dormant for the winter, and they promise to thank you next spring, summer, and beyond with beautiful foliage and blooms that bees, butterflies, birds, and many other wildlife will also thank you for.
If you don’t believe us, just look around. September is among the best months for growing and enjoying native plants in Maine. Whether you and your favorite wildlife are interested in flowers, seeds, nuts, or fruit, they are all out there in abundance right now. Plus, this is still a critical time for the leaves of host plants for insects like Monarchs, whose September larvae have big adventures and responsibilities ahead this winter. Not only is it not too late to help, you have more options now than most times of the year.
So, please keep shopping for another week and planting into early October! Contrary to popular opinion, many native plants experts agree that fall is actually a better time for planting. Cool temperatures and low dew points provide a gentle, lower-maintenance transition for seedlings and potted trees and shrubs, even if our typical fall showers don’t arrive. Once in the ground, these plants will focus fall energy in their roots and in getting a head start on leafing out as soon as they can next spring.
Lastly, Maine Audubon would like to thank our incredible Properties staff–James Kennedy, Nikki Oteyza, and Peter Baecher–who also took on managing the entirety of our horticulture and sales this summer! In addition to their typical stewardship duties, these three have caringly and successfully nurtured over 5,000 potted plants, more a third of which they grew from seed starting last fall. The pandemic eliminated our ability to rely on volunteers and other staff while, at the same time, we decided to more than double the inventory and duration. James and Nikki also managed the online sales and scheduling platforms, and provided incredible customer service. Please join us in thanking these three dedicated growers and team members!