Appreciating Tadpole Haven’s Habitat

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).

Ciscoe & Corydalis

Check out these links: Tadpole Haven in The Herald AND Ciscoe comes to Tadpole Haven!

Lots of excitement at Tadpole Haven in the last couple weeks!  First, we were featured in the Home and Garden section of the Everett Herald (March 21).  Then, last week, the producer for KING-TV’s “Gardening with Ciscoe” called and asked if they could shoot portions of an upcoming episode at Tadpole Haven!  The next day! 

After the arrangements were made, I hung up and told my co-worker Lisa about our upcoming brush with fame.  She screamed (she denies it, but I swear she did) which is probably what knocked me to the greenhouse floor in a fetal position with my hands over my head.  We struggled to pull ourselves together and decide what to clean up first.

The “shoot” was fun and interesting to watch.  Thank goodness they didn’t interview me.  Hosts Ciscoe Morris and Meeghan Black, Producer Anne and Cameraman Tom were all very friendly and Ciscoe even let ME interview him afterwards (my son Erik came equipped to record this event for posterity).  They admired the ready-to-hatch frog eggs in the kiddy pool, and Ciscoe gave a plug for our new coolest plant, Scouler’s Corydalis (Corydalis scouleri).

Tadpole Haven will be featured on “Gardening with Ciscoe” THIS Saturday, April 6 and Saturday, April 20, 10 a.m. on King 5.  It replays on Saturday 1:30 p.m. on Kong 6/16 and Sunday 11:30 a.m. on NWCN.

Want to know more about our new coolest plant?  Scouler’s Corydalis is a big gorgeous perennial closely related to Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa).  It has delicate ferny blue-green foliage and 4-6” pink towers of flowers.  Happiest in bright shade and moist soil, it will grow to over three feet tall, and spreads via underground rhizomes.  So give it some space of its own where it won’t overwhelm neighboring perennials.  The Scouler’s Corydalis in our front yard attracted a large White-Lined Sphinx Moth to its flowers one evening, a beautiful glimpse at one of nature’s partnerships.

Enough of moth-and-flower love; I’ve got a date with some brussel sprouts.  Ooh-la-la!