DES MOINES –The Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ State Forest Nursery and Reiman Gardens are teaming up to promote butterfly and songbird habitat. Customers who order a Butterfly and Bird packet before March 25 will receive two free passes to Reiman Gardens in Ames.
Reiman Gardens is a 17-acre botanical garden that includes a tropical plant conservatory and a butterfly wing, with hundreds of live butterflies.
“This packet consists of five shrub species selected for their potential to attract butterflies and songbirds to your property,” says state forester Paul Tauke. “There has been an increasing amount of attention and concern over the declining number of pollinators active on our landscape. Planting a Butterfly and Bird packet is one small way that you can work to help these species recover and improve the health of our environment.”
This Butterfly and Bird packet is available this month only. Cost for the 250 bare-root seedlings is $110 plus tax, shipping and handling, the same price as a regular 200-seedling packet. The Butterfly and Bird packet includes 50 each of the following:
Arrowwood produces white flowers in late May to early June followed by bluish-black berries in the fall. Found in open woodlands, along forest edges and stream sides, it attracts and provides a nectar source for butterflies such as the spring azure, red admiral, eastern comma, red-spotted purple, white-m hairstreak, question mark, and the striped hairstreak, a species of special concern, and the threatened Baltimore butterfly. It is a larval host for Henry’s elfin butterfly.
Aroniaberry flowers in May and produces blackish-purple berries later in the season. The nectar of this plant attracts a variety of pollinators and the leaves are a food source for the coral hairstreak butterfly and the bluish spring moth. Berries are eaten by ruffed grouse and cedar waxwings.
Chokecherry flowers from April through July and attracts butterflies, honeybees and other pollinators to its flowers and nectar. The caterpillars of the red-spotted purple butterfly use chokecherry leaves as a food source. It is a larval host for the great ash sphinx and the hickory hairstreak, another butterfly species of special concern. It is a nectar source for Juvenal’s duskywing and Henry’s elfin butterflies. Robins, thrushes, grosbeaks, woodpeckers, jays, bluebirds, catbirds, kingbirds and grouse eat chokecherries.
Redosier dogwood produces cream flowers in May and June. It is a larval host for the spring azure butterfly, and nectar source for the American snout, banded hairstreak and white-m hairstreak butterflies. Redosier dogwood also provides food for the northern flicker, robin, eastern bluebird and purple finch.
Ninebark produces clusters of white flowers and blooms in late spring to early summer. Its flowers provide a nectar source to butterflies and other pollinators.
To take advantage of this offer, the Butterfly and Bird packet order form can be found online at www.iowadnr.gov/nurseryat the top of the page or call the State Forest Nursery at 1-800-865-2477 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and mention the “Butterfly and Bird packet.” Using the order form is the fastest and easiest method for ordering the packet, as phone lines can get very busy. Landowners purchasing this packet will receive delivery this spring.
Each month, the State Forest Nursery creates a different specialty packet to offer a unique mix of tree and shrub species for that month only. This month’s specialty packet is only available through March 25.
Anyone can purchase seedlings from the Iowa State Forest Nursery for CRP projects, to increase wildlife habitat, pollinator potential or diversify backyard woodlands. More than 40 species are available from the nursery. Seedling choices, including photos and descriptions, can be seen in the seedling catalog at www.iowadnr.gov/seedlingcatalog
For more information about this monthly special or other tree and shrub seedlings, contact the Iowa DNR State Forest Nursery at 1-800-865-2477.