Perusing the 2019 Plant Catalogs: Prairie Moon Nursery
Prairie Moon Nursery, based in southeast Minnesota, is one of my 2 favorite online sources for native plants, the other being Prairie Nursery in central Wisconsin. Prairie Moon gives us all natives and nothing but natives. Straight species only – cultivars need not apply!
Prairie Moon has an exceptionally large selection of plants, although most are available only as seed. Their catalog is divided into 2 parts. The Native Gardener’s Companion includes lots of enticing photographs of their more popular plants, along with brief descriptions and basic cultural information.
The Pricing and Cultural Guide lists all the plants on offer without pictures or descriptions. However, there are side-by-side charts, one listing prices and the other more detailed cultural information.
A big change for Prairie Moon this year is its shift away from bare root plants. Bare root plants make a lot of sense in that they are cheaper to ship and may actually offer more plant for your money. But let’s face it: they tend to look like dried squid, and so have limited consumer appeal.
Most of Prairie Moon’s plants used to be offered as bare root only, then they started selling potted plants – but only in trays of 38 (single species or mix and match). This year they are selling lots of species as potted plants in 3-packs. Only a few seem to be offered as bare root.
I don’t know why, but it is a pleasure to mosey through lists of plants I’m already familiar with. However, with each year’s catalog I like to hunt for the new items. One that initially piqued my interest was Tall Coreopsis (Coreopsis tripteris) – a Coreopsis that reaches 7 feet! But then I thought: just what I need, another giant yellow daisy. I love giant yellow daisies, but I’ve already got plenty.
Bunchflower (Melanthium virginicum) is a plant I’m totally unfamiliar with. Beautiful flowers that remind me of Camassia, except that they start white and fade to green, then maroon, and finally black. Plus it grows 5 feet tall. An intriguing plant, for sure!
There was also a species of Milkweed that was new to me – Oval Leaf Milkweed (Asclepias ovalifolia). Milkweed species vary considerably in how easy they are to grow, but I’m always game to try a new one. (A. tuberosa, A. incarnata, and A. sulivantii do well for me, and I’m giving A. exaltata another try. A. purpureum lasted a few years but then punked out. A. verticillata just never took.) Oval Leaf Milkweed is nice and compact with greenish-white flowers.
Incidentally, if you’re interested, here’s a link to an interview I did with Bill Carter, who has been one of the leading lights at Prairie Moon for many years.
More catalogs to come!