Plans for Native Plants

xplant2miOctober 15, 2010

Help i have begun to do research for a project for a school in berkley mi the school is planning to install a native plant garden and possibly add a mix of native shrubs depending on our budget (which is limited) i have started reading the books about native landscaping and plants ( i have begun to create lists upon lists of native plants and local suppliers of plants seeds etc) and love to learn more about what was here first but between being a busy mom and trying to document/create a unofficial site plan with the plants, shrubs and trees that are already existing i'm swamped

does anybody have some native plant plans that they might want to share? or live SE michigan and have tips seeds divisions etc that they might want to donate to a school when the time comes - we are still very much in the planning stages but i hope to get to a planting stage by spring if i can help it. i like annuals as much as anyone but they are just way to much work with not enough reward and no one has had the time to make the changes that really should happen

thanks for any help

( i can really use it, having xplanted to mi i am still learning all about what will live here)

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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

If you get in touch with your local cooperative extension and the master gardeners associated with it you'll find people with plants and expertise to share.

Winter sowing native seeds will help stretch your dollars as well.

Native Plants of the Northeast: A Guide for Gardening and Conservation By Donald J. Leopold is a favorite book of mine.

Be sure to check out Prairie Moon Nursery as well. LOTS of seeds, plants, and info.


    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 7:28AM
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terrene(5b MA)

What is your site like? With a school garden, I would think you would want low-maintenance and rugged plants.

I've winter-sown many native perennials, vines and a few trees and shrubs and this works extremely well, and is very easy and inexpensive. In fall of 2009 I collected seeds like Cornus florida and Cornus amomum, sowed them in December, put them outside, and had abundant germination! In fact, the dilemma for me is that it's much easier to start plants from seed than it is to figure out where to plant them, esp. woody plants which need a permanent location with the appropriate amount of space allotted.

I've also purchased native tree/shrub seedlings from the NH State nursery, which sells wonderful plants in packs of 10 for $10 (a buck apiece, can't beat that). There is probably an inexpensive source of seedlings closer to MI if it's important to get local stock.

If you want to start planting next Spring, then it would be good to place orders for seedlings or start sowing this winter. Most hardy perennials and woody plants need at least 1-3 months of cold stratification. Feel free to email me through GW email, and I would be happy to share seeds for the project.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 10:37AM
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xplant: I live in S.E. Michigan also. You can get seeds free by participating in native plat seed collecting at various places in S. Michigan at this time of year. Find out whether the Douglas Evans preservation near you does one. There is also a fine large restoration -- I've forgotten its name unfortuately -- in Lapeer County, where they collect in October or November on a Saturday or Sunday. You go up I-75 to the Lapper Road, then turn off the Lapeer Road down the Dryden Ropad, and the turn-off to the nature center is just before you get to Dryden. And you can ask the MSU Extension Service in Pontiac if they have a calendar of seed gathering dates around the county. As to suitable habitat: if you have a full-sun area -- prairie plants, if you have trees -- sring ephemeras, if you have a wet patch -- a long list of wildflowers that like to have their feet wet, and if you have all three -- you can have them all! And the CN railway might have lots of asters and goldenrods along the right-of-way, if you have someone who can point out the worthwhile ones. Regards, Peter.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 10:55AM
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Our kids' elementary put in a garden a several years ago and received a grant that covered much of the expense for plants, edging, mulch, and more. It's considered an "outdoor classroom". Be sure to search for available grants to help with the cost.

Winter sowing might be a fun learning project for the kids to do this winter. You sow seeds in containers (like milkjugs) and set them outside all winter, then they germinate in the spring. For more information, check out the Winter Sowing forum on Gardenweb. Lots of nice folks there that might have some seeds to share.

Be sure to plan some weeding and watering over summer when school is out.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 7:20AM
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xplant2mi: The Seven Ponds Seed Collection is on Sunday November 7 at 2:00 p.m. They let you collect your own seed, show you which plant is which, and tell you a bit about planting wildflower seeds. These are just prairie species. I plan to attend; I live in Birmingham MI, so if you need a lift please let me know. Regards, Peter.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 2:06PM
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neen_5mi(z5 MI)

You might consider applying to the Wildflower Association of Michigan for a grant to assist with funding.
Also, I organize a plant "swap" every spring with friends and coworkers. I have lots of natives and usually end up gifting rather than swapping because my beds are full. I'd be happy to have you come over and dig divisions and seedlings if you want to make a road trip, but you may find someone closer. I'm in Mason, MI. The swap is usually in May, but I start potting up my contributions as early as March.


    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 10:22AM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

Hi, Mary!

I could provide seeds and divisions of quite a few plants, too. And the suggestions about wintersowing can't be repeated enough. Let me know if I can help.


    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 9:10PM
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