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Our plant nursery specializes in native plants as well as particularly useful, non-invasive and/or naturalized food producing perennial plants (permaculture plants!). We feel it is most ethical to raise and nurture plants that restore our bioregional ecosystem services while simultaneously providing for human needs. Our commitment is first and foremost to soil and plant health for each species we offer.
Each species is selected for several qualifying factors, namely:
Is this a native plant?
Is this an all-star plant for polycultural, multifunctional and perennial food systems?
Is this plant hardy and adaptive to a variety of conditions?
Wild Bergamot (monarda fistulosa) is a fine example to explore… this visually appealing wildflower of the mint family (lamaciaea) is easy to grow in a variety of conditions, is loved by native bees and honeybees, hummingbirds and butterflies, and can make a delectable tea or tea additive (Earl Grey anyone?). By pairing this understory plant with another understory of Echinacea (echinacea purpurea, another pollinator favorite with medicinal and culinary uses), and say, a Native Plum (prunus americana) as the canopy layer, then utilizing a ground cover of native Strawberry (fragaria virginiana), we create a plant guild, or collection of plants, that have minimized competition via intentional design and vertical layering. All of these plant species are native, and together, offer many useful components (food, medicine, etc.) for us humans, and the many other players in our complex ecosystem.
A Word on Native Plants:
Native plants are essential to the overall health of an ecosystem, as they attract many pollinators and other insects with whom they have co-evolved and thus developed specialized relationships with. Planting native wildflowers, shrubs and trees subsequently attracts birds, wasps and spiders – all of our natural garden defenders who do the work of keeping the bad bugs in check for us while reducing our inputs (AKA work). Insects are crucial to every bio-region’s ecological health, as they are an important base of the food web. Approximately 90% of insects, including pollinators, require a native host plant to complete their life cycle. If native insects and pollinator populations drop, so do the population of the small mammals, reptiles, birds and before long, we experience the serious consequences of habitat loss. It all starts with native plants, so go native!
(Pictured above) A beautiful and functional plant guild in our orchard consisting of Peach (prunus persica), Swamp Mallow (hibiscus moschuetos), Brown Eyed and Black Eyed Susans (rudbeckia spp.), a splash of Echinacea (echinacea purpurea), Bocking 14 Cultivar Comfrey (symphytum x uplandicum), with annual vining beans growing up the trees (phaeseolus coccinues). Requiring little more than an annual sheet mulching, weeding, and harvesting, this mostly native and perennial system design is also appreciated by birds, butterflies, bees and other pollinators.