If you’re like me and have ordered plants or seeds from mail-order nurseries in the past, you’ve probably received several plant catalogs in the mail recently. It’s almost therapeutic to see those luscious ripe tomato photos on an icy winter’s day. They are visual encouragement that the earth will warm and your garden will again bear fruit, albeit not as perfect as the ones pictured in the catalogs.
Don’t forget about Missouri’s wildlife when planning your spring plantings. If you manage rural acreage for wildlife or have a back corner of your residential lot available, the 2009-2010 Seedling Order Form from the George O. White State Forest Nursery should have a place among your catalogs. The state nursery, operated by the Conservation Department in Licking, has provided low-cost shrub and tree seedlings for planting in Missouri for more than 60 years.
The bare-root seedlings are 1 to 3 years old, depending on the species. These plants are smaller than what you would typically purchase for home landscaping needs. Most species are sold in lots of 25 seedlings of the same species, but several bundles of mixed species are also available, such as the conservation bundle, wildlife cover bundle, pecan variety bundle and quail cover bundle. Many of the plants are nut or fruit producers of value to native wildlife. Evergreens have wildlife value and can also be planted to create windbreaks.
Plants can be shipped in February, March, April or May and orders are accepted as late as April 30. The nursery will sell out of popular species, so order early or allow substitution of similar species. Orders may be placed online , mailed to the nursery, or faxed to 573-674-4047. A discount is available for holders of Conservation Heritage Cards.
Thinking about spring planting now won’t make the winter any shorter, but it might help to reassure you that these icy days will not last forever. You can make future winters easier for your local wildlife by planning now for additional plantings of food and cover on your landscape.