The Nature Institute plans Wildflower Market

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GODFREY — The Nature Institute (TNI) and Lewis and Clark’s Restoration Ecology Program will host their annual Wildflower Market 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 27 at TNI’s greenhouse at the corner of Levis Lane and South Levis Lane.

The Monarch butterfly has been put on the endangered species list due to the lack of high quality habitat available as they migrate in the spring and fall. By adding native plants to their yards, Riverbend residents can help provide a refuge for visiting wildlife.

The annual Wildflower Market was begun in 2000. TNI will also provide plants for online purchase to people who cannot attend the in-person market. Online sale open Aug. 19 and will stay open for three weeks or until all of the plants have been purchased.

While many plant sales in the area occur in the spring, native plants can be planted and will thrive in the summer and fall. Natives planted in the fall are able to develop a stronger root system. New plantings will require water, especially after several dry days in a row, but once they are established they will be happy in the hot dry summer weather of the Midwest.

Native plants require less water than non-native ornamental plants. Because native plants are adapted to local soil types, the addition of compost and fertilizers is not necessary.  Native plants also have co-evolved with insect herbivores and can grow despite light to moderate insect damage without the use of insecticides.  More benefits to wildlife and less maintenance makes native plants perfect for any yard. Once you have established a plot of native plants, they will sustain themselves through reseeding without much effort on your part.

The flowers of native plants provide nectar and pollen to butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. In the spring, songbirds feed their babies the insects collected from the native plants.  After native plants have bloomed, birds and other wildlife rely on the seeds of native plants as a source of food in the fall and winter months. 

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