Garden Catalog Review: Prairie Moon Nursery
This is the time of year when I end every day leafing through garden catalogs before going to sleep. The promise of new blooms and greenery help me get through the short bleak days of winter.
Fortunately I get lots of catalogs, and over the next few weeks I’m going to write about some of my favorites.
Prairie Moon really stands out in a number of ways. Their website is here. They carry plants native to the American Midwest almost exclusively, and they have a vast selection – well over 500 wildflowers, grasses, sedges, ferns, shrubs, trees, and vines.
Partly because the variety is almost overwhelming, Prairie Moon actually puts out two catalogs. The Catalog and Cultural Guide is for hard core native plant enthusiasts. All plants are listed, and most of the information is in tables with limited descriptive text.
The Native Gardener’s Companion is limited to the most garden-worthy plants and has more narrative text. Both catalogs have really nice photographs, and neither engages in the kind of plant hype you find in some catalogs. Both are on my bedside table.
Prairie Moon sells seeds, bare root plants, and trays of 2×5 inch pots. It is generally simplest and cheapest to buy bare root. They tend to look like dried squid, but are easy to plant and establish.
Over 70 plants are available in pots. Pots are only sold in trays of 38. A tray of just one species costs $92 ($2.42 per plant – pretty good!). You can fill the tray with up to six species of your choosing for $129 ($3.40 per plant, still pretty good).
This year Prairie Moon has quite a few new plants on offer, most of which I haven’t seen before. Right now I am on the lookout for shorter plants that don’t need a lot of moisture, so the following grabbed my attention:
Small Yellow Wild Indigo (Baptisia tinctora). A wild indigo with yellow flowers, growing just 2′ high.
Downy Wood Mint (Blephilia ciliata). About 1′ tall, with pink-purple flower spikes. Actually, they have carried this one for a while.
Dwarf Blazing Star (Liatris cylandracea). Just 1′ tall and blooming July into autumn.
I’m also thinking about Smallspike False Nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica), which is sold only as seed. Like Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica), it is a host plant for Red Admiral butterflies, but without the nasty stinging hairs. Not terribly attractive, I could sow it in a few out-of-the way spots.
Prairie Moon emphasizes plants that benefit pollinators, and does all their growing without neonicotinoid insecticides.
Do you usually order plants as seed, bareroot, or in pots?