Monday, September 23, 2019

The Grand Finale

Hairy Blazing Star
The end of the summer season has come.  Fall is here. You can see it everywhere in nature. The days are getting shorter. The sun has a lower angle in the sky. Some leaves are beginning to change. And the native wildflowers? Well, they are looking spectacular! It’s what I like to call the Grand Finale, the final blooming period of the season when there seems to be an explosion of flowering plants, particularly in the Aster family, Asteraceae. Plants in this family include Asters, Goldenrods, Bonesets, Sunflowers, Rattlesnake Root and Liatris.

Fields and roadsides come alive with the colors yellow, purple and white. Actually, it’ not a sudden thing. There are many species of late summer and fall plants, some blooming early, some later and some in between that overlap and the show seems to peak in mid to late September. Then there are those which bloom in October, which keep the color coming. One of those is Seaside Goldenrod, which happens to bloom around the time of the Monarch butterfly migration and is a valuable food source for them along their journey.
Seaside Goldenrod
Early species which start in mid-August include Sweet Goldenrod, Slender Aster, Woodland Sunflower, Silver Rod, Bog Aster, American Boneset and Round Leaved Boneset.

Mid species include Showy Aster, Wrinkle Leaf Goldenrod, Slender Goldenrod, Hyssop Leaf Boneset, Hairy Blazing Star, Flat Topped White Aster, Maryland Golden Aster, Blue Mistflower, White Snakeroot and Rattlesnake Root.
Later species include Stiff Leaved Aster, Heath Aster, New York Aster, Late Purple Aster and Seaside Goldenrod that bloom well into October. These plants are an important late nectar source for our pollinators.

New York Aster
As the days get shorter, and the weather becomes cooler, it’s a great time to get out for a nature walk and enjoy this one last spectacle of nature’s beauty for the season.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Earth Day Celebration 2019!

It is time once again for the annual Earth Day Festival at the Atlantic County Utilities Authority in beautiful Egg Harbor TWP, NJ. This year the event will be held on April 28, from 10am - 4 pm. Looking at their website, it appears there will be even more to see and do this year.

One thing I am doing different this year is that instead of giving a workshop in the amphitheater, I will be giving a guided tour of the native plant gardens that were installed a couple years ago. I did a few of these last summer  and folks enjoyed them so I am excited to do it again. Although it is early and not everything is on bloom, there will be photos posted in front of the plants that reveal what they look like in bloom. I will be talking about the benefits and natural roles of each plant. My tour is at 1:30pm and the garden in located in front of the Geo building near Delilah Rd.

As always there will be food vendors, crafters and live music and a tent with regional non profits including the Pinelands Preservation Alliance. lots to see and do for the whole family. Hope to see you there.

More info  here:

ACUA Earth Day Festival
Sunday, April 28, 2019
ACUA Environmental Park
6700 Delilah Road, Egg Harbor Twp.
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  |  Rain or Shine

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Fall is for Planting Native Plant Sale Sat & Sun, Oct 6 & 7

Sat & Sun 10am - 4pm

The heat and humidity are gone and fall weather is finally here. Did you know that this is the best time to plant perennials for next year? Planting now gives plants the opportunity to establish themselves without the stress of reproduction efforts, heat, drought, bugs and disease. This also gives gardeners the opportunity next year to spend less time planting and more time enjoying their already established gardens.

This weekend will be our final Open Garden sale of 2018. It is also an opportunity for our customers to save on native plants. In appreciation for our customers planting natives in their gardens, we are offering the chance stock up on native plants with tiered pricing discounts. The more you buy, they more you save. Our $3.75 square potted perennials will be:

 5 for $18, 10 for $35.00, 15 for $50.00, and 20 for $65.00. Additional plants are $3.25 each.

We still have over 50 species left to chose from, some that were not available last spring. There are plants for every yard, be it coastal, pine barrens, moist, dry, sun, shade and just average gardens. Some plants include Asters, Goldenrods, Sunflowers, Cardinal Flower, Rhexias, Irises, Grasses, Rudbeckias, and Mints.

 We also now carry trees and shrubs like Swamp Rose, Red Maple, Steeplebush, and Sweet Fern and specialty plants like Coral Honeysuckle and Nodding Ladies’ Tresses orchids. These plants are $10.00 each.


Our gardens are still in bloom and offer a glimpse of how plants look in their natural habitat.

The Earth First Native Plant Nursery is located at 4054-A Tremont Ave, Egg Harbor TWP, NJ 08234  609-287-5090

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

ACUA Native Plant Evening with Raven Ahmed July 24, 7pm

Native Plants Society 
of New Jersey
Southeast Chapter  
Raven Ahmed on Native Plants at the ACUA
7 pm, July 26th
Thursday July 26, 7 pm

Join the ACUA for an evening walk, talk, and garden upkeep session. Raven Ahmed, founder of Earth First Native Plant Nursery, will share her knowledge of native plants by guiding participants through the garden and pointing out native species along the way.  We'll talk about the importance of planting native plants and also have the opportunity to remove some of the pesky species that need to be controlled.  The idea is for participants to be able to take this information back home and apply it to their own backyards - keeping those invasive species in check!
Gloves will be provided, but please feel free to bring anything else you like to garden with!  The evening should involve walking, sharing knowledge, and light yard work. 
If you would like to be updated with details about our future meetings, please contact Jesse Connor at:  (Contacting this site will put you on the list for monthly meeting information, field trip info, and timely updates.)
Jesse Connor, Jack Connor, Barbara Fiedler, and Steve Fiedler.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Natural Happenings at the Nursery 2017

What's in Bloom...Aug 5

As August comes in, all three Rudbeckia species are in full bloom, as is the Swap Milkweed, Phlox, Marsh Rattlesnake Master, Seashore Mallow, Swamp Rose Mallow, Boneset, Meadow Beauties, Spotted Horsemint and Great Blue Lobelia. The Lobelia look particularly great paired with Brown Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia triloba.) On deck are Cardinal Flower, New York Ironweed and Joe Pye weed ready to pop within a week.

The moon garden received a few White Phlox I got from Bowman's Hill. They took off and are blooming already. The Maryland Meadow beauty I planted there was unfortunately eaten by bunnies. The Pale pink Swamp Milkweed did great and is a butterfly magnet.

I have been honored to have company for the past month and that meant a helping hand to rip out some of the invasive species in the front of the property and to fill in some nice compost for planting a rain garden. This will be a NJ rain garden with all South Jersey plants and a couple Piedmont species that don't mind wet feet on occasion.

In the Lives of the Wildlife
The frogs have grown quiet except for rainy nights, but there are so many tadpoles in the pond. but in their place are the Katydids. I have seen over ten species of butterflies including a Monarch who laid eggs on the swamp milkweed, The babies have hatched and are feeding. A young Northern Fence Lizard has become quite comfortable in the nursery lounging on the plant tables and not a bit camera shy. Mama the rabbit has had babies who unfortunately eat my plants. I guess I better get them started on carrots like Mama.


What's in Bloom...July 1

As July comes in, so does Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) both purple and the white cultivars White Swan and Pow Wow White. While I usually don't do cultivars, I like them for the moon garden for the white flowers that stand out in the moonlight. Also both Monardas are breaking out, the red (didyma) and the lavender (fistulosa). I find the fistulosa attracts many more pollinator than does didyma, which I have only seen the hummingbirds on, but boy do they love it. Rattlesnake Master (Eyringium yuccafolium is just starting to bloom in the moon garden.  I have added some non-native annals in pots like white vinca, impatiens and pentas to add some white between the perennials blooming. With additional solar lighting and wind chimes, its beginning to become a peaceful night spot.

Whorled Loosestrife
Then there are the woodland plants, Wintergreen, aka teaberry, (Gaultheria procumbens), and Spotted Wintergreen, (Chimaphila maculata),and Whorled Loosestrife, (Lysimachia quadrifolia). There are not in the garden, rather along the trails and driveway.

In the Lives of the Wildlife

Pine Barrens Tree Frog
 A ground skink hangs around the nursery trays and a Pine Barrens Tree Frog has appeared this year for the first time often calling on wet evenings along with the Grays. It's really a treat to have him. I hope he sticks around for the season. 


What's in Bloom... June 7

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
The Slender Blue Flag continues to bloom as the Northern Blue Flag, (Iris versicolor) is beginning to burst out. These look more like your typical Iris with the wide leaves. Also blooming in the Moon Garden are Colic Root and Foxglove Beardtongue( Penstemon digitalis). The Penstemon are breath taking to see at dusk, an ideal moon garden plant. Also a Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) is blooming across the street as well as Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis). The Laurels seem to be having a great year this year with nice tight, full blooms. The Blueberries in the native fruit orchard are also forming. Can't wait to harvest them.

In the Lives of the Wildlife

The last couple days of rainy weather has brought back the Spring Peepers and The Northern Grey Tree Frogs at night. Hummingbirds are hanging out on the wires and nectaring on the Eastern Wild Columbine.

What's in Bloom...  May 27

April saw the blooming of Golden Ragwort, Golden Alexanders, Wild Stonecrop and Violets. As May approached they began to fade and the Lyre Leaf Salvia opened up, and as it has spread quite a bit, made for a very showy display this year . Shortly after, the Eastern Wild Columbine burst out, also doing really good this year. It is currently still blooming, though starting to fade. In the wooded are the Ladies Slippers bloomed. Meanwhile my Pitcher Plant looks better than ever, having benefited from being divided last year. It is in full bloom right now as is the Blue Eyed Grass.
Also just beginning to burst out is Hairy Penstemon and Echinacea "Pow Wow White" a cultivar I picked up last year for the Moon Garden. And finally in the bog garden, Slender Blue Flag, (Iris prismatica) is just beginning. This week in the wooded area, Cow Wheat and Sheep Laural are blooming.

In the Lives of the Wildlife

The Carolina Wrens nesting in my bag of hickory chips under the charcoal grill have grown up and flown away. There were three of them

The Titmouse pair that inhabited the Bluebird house last year returned and had their young. Today I saw four fledglings leave the nest.

The Bluebird couple that has always nested in the old woodpecker cavity of the cut tree have decided to build elsewhere. The tree has mostly rotted at the top now and I supposed they didn't think it made a good home any longer. So they are attempting to get in the bluebird house on my front porch which was inhabited by Chickadees last year. But the Chickadee has also returned, so I am waiting to see which one will have it. Cardinals are nesting, many woodpeckers, Pine Warblers, House Finches, Goldfinches, Hummingbirds; everyone is back except the Cowbirds, haven't seem them yet. The Chuck Will's Widow is back and singing at night at the top of his lungs.

There are plenty of butterflies, Tiger Swallowtail, Black Swallowtail and Red Spotted Purple to name a few. Saw my first Swamp Darner of the season today.

Spring Peepers have moved to the pond and also sing at the top of their lungs...... ALL NIGHT LONG!!!. Seriously they don't stop until about 530am. They are starting to fade now though, returning only after a good rain. The Northern Grey Tree Frogs can also be heard in the wooded area near the pond as can the Fowler's Toads.

"Mama" my tame wild rabbit, has built a nest in the Echinacea in the pollinator garden, and let me film her doing it. She is quite a character. It was interesting to watch. Now there are baby rabbits running around along with the squirrels and chipmunks. I will update here when I see something
new to add.

A female Ebony Jewelwing has been visiting the pollinator garden. No doubt looking for insects. She appeared again today and I was able to get a picture. They are not commonly seen in the yard, but there is a stream about 500 feet from me, so she probably ventured from there.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

2nd Open Garden Sale of 2017

The second Open Garden sale will be held Saturday, May 27th here at the nursery. This is the second of six sales, three in the Spring and three in late Summer/ early Fall. There will be most of the species listed in the previous sale, plus some additional species like Blue Eyed Grass, Virginia Meadow Beauty, Echinacea "White Swan", Coastal Panic Grass, and Coral Honeysuckle (great for hummingbirds.) There are still some Swamp Milkweeds available for Monarchs.
Blue Eyed Grass is a low growing
grass-like plant in the Iris family.
Its great for the front of borders.

The address is 4054-A Tremont Ave, Egg Harbor TWP, NJ 08234
You may call 609-287-5090 for directions if needed.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

May Events

 Earth First Native Plant Nursery

May 2017 Events

Go Green Galloway Greenfest 
 Saturday, May 13 at 10 am

Raindate - Sunday, May 14th

Patriot Lake, Galloway Township Municipal Complex
300 E Jimmie Leeds Rd
Galloway, NJ 8205

5th Annual Yard, Garden and Native Plant Fair

Sunday May 20, 2017 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm, Rain or Shine!

Jakes Branch County Park – 1100 Double Trouble Road, Beachwood, NJ

For more info call: 732-281-2750 or visit
Earth First Native Plant Nursery 
 Open Garden Plant Sale
May 27, 10am – 4pm
4054-A Tremont Ave, Egg Harbor Twp, NJ 08234
For info, call 609-287-5090