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3 Unique Gifts for Native Plant Lovers

Looking for a gift for the native plant lover in your life? Here are 3 ideas to mix and match.

1. Inspiration & Hope: Books by Douglas W. Tallamy

Doug Tallamy is the gateway into the world of native plants for many, many people. His books Bringing Nature Home and Nature's Best Hope use both science and engaging anecdote to lay out the difficulties of having a world either paved, plowed, mowed, or filled with exotic cultivars. But then comes the magic: Tallamy clearly shows how easy it is to make a difference, and how simple changes can have tangible and almost immediate rewards. Doug Tallamy’s books are both easy and fun to read. If someone in your life needs to see the light, Tallamy is the one holding the lantern.

If your recipient is already into native plants and looking to branch (pun intended) beyond the basics, Tallamy’s The Nature of Oaks is a lyrical journey through a year in the life of an oak. Interconnected lives of plants and insects are woven through the tale in bright threads of science and story. This is a perfect book for tucking into on a cold winter's night. For a truly unique gift, we have The Nature of Oaks in stock for instant pick-up, paired with either a gift certificate for a spring oak seedling or three acorns for do-it-yourself seedlings! All of our acorns are pesticide-free and from our property - a stocking stuffer to remember!

2. Native Plant Promise

After reading Tallamy's books, people usually want to get right to planting. Reading about host plants tends to do that to people. It’s hard to learn that oaks are the single best host plant, feeding over 400 types of caterpillar, who then feed the nestlings of dozens and dozens of birds, and not want to find a corner to fit in an oak seedling. (Being small does not diminish its value on the landscape.) It’s equally difficult to face the heartache of learning that the best host plant flowers are the goldenrod, aster, and sunflower families, and then realizing how many different kinds of each you don’t have yet! (Collect them all!)

Fortunately, U.P. Native Plants is here to help. The ground is too frozen to accept a shovel, (trust me - I’ve tried. Have you ever seen a cartoon where a character hits something hard and the vibration travels up and makes the character vibrate like a harp string? That was me trying to get a shovel into the ground last week to squeeze in a few last plants.) so, the native plant lovers in your life will have to make do with a gift certificate. It’s not all bad, though.

A native plant gift certificate is a promise: a promise of the fresh green of new plants; of birds, butterflies, and bees; and of sweet, sweet springtime dirt. Welcome promises indeed in a frozen world.

Best of all, a native plant gift certificate comes with the extra gift of Time. A gift certificate has within it time to plan, and scheme, and research. Time to dream of butterflies discovering new spots for eggs, bees finding new flowers on the menu, and birds a-flutter from stem to stem. What could be more perfect?

You have a choice to make, though. Do you want to send the tangible heft of our traditional cardstock gift certificate, or do you want the sleek convenience of our new eGift Cards flashed to your recipient in a blaze of pixels?

A cardstock gift certificate looks great peaking out of a stocking or is a welcome surprise tucked into the mundane mail in the mailbox. Because they represent a bit of work on my part to stock, mail, and record, cardstock gift certificates expire 12 months from date of purchase and there is a small fee if you would like them mailed. Cardstock gift certificates can be used on our website and can also be used at our farmer’s market booths.

a thick paper gift certificate with a smooth snowflake sticker
Look what Santa's bringing!

Traditional paper is undeniably nice, but an electronic gift card is convenience incarnate, both for you and the recipient. Purchase the eGift Card online and select a delivery date. On your chosen date the recipient will receive an email with their eGift Card and your personal message. The eCard has a unique number which can be applied at checkout so payment can be completed right online - no searching for misplaced gift cards in the spring! When your recipient is ready to order their plants (online only; can’t be used at farmer’s markets), they can just search their emails to bring up their card, making checkout fast and stress-free. eGift Cards have no fees and do not expire (honest!).

No matter which option you choose, you can bet your recipient will have fun picking out their new plants. Who doesn't love free plants??

3. Gardener's Helper

Ordering the plants is easy and fun, especially with a gift card. The actual planting takes a tiny bit more work. Here is a favorite product to help out.

We plant a lot of native plants in plugs (see this blog post on the benefits of landscaping with plugs). A plug flat is a molded tray with 38, 2" by 5" cells. A plant or two comes in each cell, called a plug. We often plant multiple species, and digging a hole by hand for each plug gets backbreaking quickly! To make the job a lot easier, we like to use a bulb planter like the one here (currently out of stock, but you can backorder or get the specs to order elsewhere). This attaches to a cordless drill (use a good-quality drill) and makes drilling holes in lawn or prepared beds a breeze. Not recommended for rocky soil or under trees because the auger will damage roots and get hung up. A bulb planter like this works great with our garden kits! We will probably stock a few of these in the future, but for now you'll have to dig one up (ha!) yourself.

I hope you like these gift ideas for the native plant enthusiast in your life. And, if you want to order for yourself, I promise not to tell. ;-)

2024 is just around the corner

We have been asked a few times if we are taking orders yet for 2024. The answer is yes! We have put a limited quantity of plants which we are reasonably certain will be ready for spring back in stock. We haven't put too many in inventory yet because growing plants always carries with it some uncertainty. We have a lot of plants overwintering in plug flats and hope to have a robust inventory early in the season - assuming the freeze/thaw/rain/freeze weather of this weird year doesn't kill them. With no snow cover, the voles look like they won't be an issue (knocks on wood and summons the nearest cat), but who knows what the rest of the winter will hold. And then there is germination - we have a good supply of fresh seed for most things, but you just never can tell.

If we waited to take orders until we were certain of spring inventory, we wouldn't get any plants out the door until July! So, go ahead and get those orders in as soon as you have picked your favorites. It will help us plan for our spring workload. Plus, we get a boost of excitement knowing that it's going to be a good year of people wanting our plants. Speaking of good years,

Happy Holidays from all of us to all of you!

Thanks for making this all worthwhile, and best wishes for your 2024.

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