May Day is almost upon us, and the nursery is MUCH calmer than last year. I’ve heard no rumors of a Moss-in this year. I guess all the plants are feeling appreciated – it IS Native Plant Appreciation Week!
Tadpole Haven’s plants get plenty of appreciation right here from all the little creatures that make Tadpole Haven home. In the last week or so, Lisa and I have found a couple of Rough-skinned Newts and a Long-toed Salamander hiding among the plant pots. Our nursery provides a good home for native critters. It is hospitable partly because we don’t use toxic chemicals or “hot” chemical fertilizers on our plants. These amphibians appreciate the fact that most of the plants sit on a bed of wood chips that is ever in the process of breaking down, enriching the soil and providing “habitat” for fungi, worms, beetles and other small invertebrates (many of which the salamanders and newts eat for lunch!).
The Pacific Chorus Frog eggs have hatched, and the tiny tadpoles are visible along the edges of their kiddy pools. The Mason Bees are becoming more active, laying eggs in their house and stashing nectar and pollen with the eggs for the larvae to eat. They gather nectar and pollen from the nursery plants and native plants around the adjacent fields and woods.
This morning I opened up the greenhouse and discovered that a hummingbird had spent the night. It must have come in yesterday afternoon seeking nectar from the Great Camas (Cammassia leichtlinii), which is in beautiful full bloom, and the Upland Larkspur (Delphinium nuttallii), which has started to flower.
And other birds are appreciating the native plant habitat in and around the nursery. I am always seeing Juncoes flitting along low to the ground, in among the nursery pots. And the Varied Thrushes have been serenading all day long from the big Douglas Firs (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and Western Hemlocks (Tsuga heterophylla).