Thursday, August 14th, 2008...9:50 am

Toadshade Wildflower Farm


The other day a catalogue arrived. It came from a small nursery that specializes in Nursery grown and Propagated Perennial Wildflower plants native to Northeastern America only; Toadshade Wildflower Farm in Frenchtown, NJ. All the plant species in their catalogue, they say, to the extent that the Toadshade owners can determine,  are NATIVE – not alien, introduced or naturalized. They also let the reader know that “No plant or plant parts are dug from the wild!”

Since TheGardenLady has been so upset to see so few butterflies this summer- yes, she has seen a few more since she wrote the article- she decided to try to find more host plants to plant on her grounds. One butterfly enthusiast the TheGardenLady knows said that she has so many butterfly eggs and larvae on her host plants that she is “harvesting” them and raising them for the 6th annual Master Gardener Insect Festival to be held on Sat. Sept. 13 from 1-4 in Pennington, NJ on Federal City Road. TheGardenLady has offered to attempt to raise butterflies for this event.  Any budding scientists can raise butterflies themselves or teachers of science can purchase kits for their students to raise butterflies.

The reason this butterfly friend has so many butterfly eggs and larvae is because she has a meadow on her property. Meadows and prairies are most conducive for growing butterfly host plants as well as nectar plants and they are on the kind of sunny terrain that butterflies love. Loss of meadows and prairies will result in a loss of host plants and therefore butterflies.

But TheGardenLady digresses; back to the 2008 Toadshade catalogue. This small catalogue is extremely informative. The line drawings with a small mark of the color of the plant can be used to ID wildflowers. The information about each plant not only tells something about the plant, but also tells the Native range, the zones it grows in, where it likes to grow, whether it is deer resistant and which butterflies it hosts (a host plant is one that butterflies deposit their eggs on and when they hatch, the larvae eat parts of the plant and then make their chrysalis on) or if the plant is a nectar plant for hummingbirds as well as butterflies.

Sad to say, Toadshade Wildflower Farm does not ship overseas or to California or Hawaii.


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