10 27, 2019

Help the Monarch Butterfly by planting milkweed

By |2019-10-27T06:00:42-04:00October 27, 2019|

You can support Ohio Monarch butterfly populations by planting milkweed, which you can get for free from Mentor Public Library's Seed Library.

You can support Ohio Monarch butterfly populations by planting milkweed, which you can get for free from Mentor Public Library’s Seed Library.

Ohio pollinators are in trouble. The populations of many pollinators like bees and and butterflies are declining because of habitat loss. One threatened species is the Monarch butterfly.

This colorful visitor migrates to our region in the late summer each year. But you can help them by planting milkweed — the plant on which their caterpillars subsist exclusively.

You can get milkweed for free from Mentor Public Library's seed library.

You can get milkweed for free from Mentor Public Library’s seed library.

And where can you get milkweed? You can have some for free from our seed library! Our Adult Reference Manager Amy Senning has spent the last few months collecting milkweed pods for us to share with you.

Here’s how our Seed Library works. Anyone with a CLEVNET card in good standing can check out seeds from the library for their own garden. The library’s collection includes more than 100 varieties of seed, including herbs, flowers, vegetables and fruit. People can check out as many as 15 types of seed per year.

You can take those seeds; and, if they grow into plants, save some of their seed and donate it to the library.

November is the best time to plant milkweed. (Here are some simple steps for planting milkweed, if you’re looking for a primer.) Help create both a home and food for Monarch butterflies by planting milkweed.

By the way, any green thumbs should check out the special collection from Holden Forests & Gardens’ Corning Library available at our Main Branch.

In addition to a gorgeous arboretum in Kirtland, Holden also has a spectacular collection of gardening, horticulture, environmental and botany books at Corning Library within its arboretum.

Dozens of Corning Library’s books are now available to borrow at our Main Branch. Thanks to a partnership between libraries, you can use your cards to check out books from this special collection. Our typical lending rules apply.

04 28, 2017

5 notes for using native plants in your gardens & landscaping

By |2017-04-28T06:00:16-04:00April 28, 2017|

Support biodiversity and invite local fauna (like the Monarch butterfly) to your yard by using native plants.

Support biodiversity and invite local fauna (like the Monarch butterfly) to your yard by using native plants.

Listen, we all love tulips. But you can create problems when you fill your gardens and yards with non-native plants.


  • decrease space for native plants.
  • drive out native animal species, especially pollinators like birds, bees, and butterflies.
  • make gardening harder by trying to grow a species that didn’t evolve to survive in our habitats.

(Besides, the deer are going to eat all your tulips anyhow.)

Master Gardener Kathy Terrell offered a different tact when she visited our library earlier this month.

Use native flowers, shrubs, and trees, she advised. Your gardening will become easier, your lawn will look more distinctive, and you’ll support local wildlife.

Here are five notes to help you get started:

1. Learn to appreciate the beauty of nature for what it is.

We’re accustomed to the cut grass and meticulously curated garden. But there’s also beauty in going au naturale.

After all, roses, daffodils, and hostas are all lovely. But so are the black-eyed susan, butterfly weed, coneflowers, bee balm, and Jupiter’s beard that grow naturally.

2. Let nature make your life easier.

Native plants are inherently easier to grow than alien species.


Because they spent millions of years adapting to our climate. Meanwhile, the tulips we import from Denmark are so much deer fodder.

You can save the time that you might spend mulching, fertilizing, irrigating, or weeding by going native.

3. You still need the right plant in the right spot.

That having been said, not all plants from Northeast Ohio will automatically blossom.

A smooth sumac is still going to want sun, a blackhaw viburnum will still need alkaline soil, and a scarlet oak still likes it dry. (Follow the link for more native plant preferences.)

You can try to force a bunch of square pegs into round holes, or you can pick your plants based upon the conditions that nature already gives you.

4. Native species support local wildlife.

Native, host plants like butterfly weed, dogwoods, tuliptrees, and milkweed provide sanctuaries to local pollinators like birds, butterflies, and insects. (And, frankly, our local pollinators could use the help.)

Meanwhile, invasive species can wreak havoc on fragile ecosystems.

5. Make sure to get your local plants legally.

The bad news: It’s illegal to take wildflowers from the wild.

The good news: Most local nurseries are well-stocked with native seeds. Also, Holden Arboretum has gaggles of native plants available during its annual sale.

Or you could check out our seed library.

If you want to know more about gardening with native plants, we (naturally) have some book recommendations:

  • Go Native: Gardening with Native Plants and Wildflowers in the Lower Midwest by Carolyn Harstad
  • Landscaping with Wildflowers and Native Plants by William Wilson
  • Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb
  • The Woody Plants of Ohio by Lucy Braun

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