We believe that native plants are the bedrock of indigeneous ecology; supporting a wide spectrum of life, of which is mostly unidentified. We are taught about failing ecosystems around the world, while a 1%> remnant of once comprised our neighborhoods is losing yet more ground. It is essential that we expand our remnant plant communities from 1% of the previous coverage to much more – say 20%, 30%, 50%>(?). This is possible, and could be achieved at very little cost if the “owners” of land simply managed a portion of their property for species other than Homo sapiens. Management could mean as little effort as excluding the mowing of unused areas, or planting tight mosaics of native flowering species, grasses, sedges, shrubs and trees, instead of turf grass, crops or widely-spaced arrays of non-native decorative species. The first step is to observe biodiversity, then appreciate it, love it, aspire to it, and hopefully foster it.

With your help, native plants can repopulate areas where they once prospered. 

Native plants, plants wild to our region before European settlement, are the foundation of a healthy ecosystem, supporting countless species of insects, birds, animals and other plant species. Native plants also play a tremendous role in the sequestration of carbon from our atmosphere.

Despite decades of research reinforcing the necessity for native plant communities, the destruction and loss of these endangered ecosystems continues. Careful collection and propagation of local plant genetics can ensure that 10,000+ years of evolutionary adaptation will not be wiped out by short-sighted human activity. With your help, native plants can once again populate areas where they once prospered. 

Every season we snake our way across the landscape, looking for strong populations of native plants. Large, intact populations offer an opportunity to collect “foundation” seed (seed gathered from the wild). We offer this foundation seed seasonally, in addition to the native plants that we grow from these collections. All plants, either bare root or potted, are grown from seed – never wild dug.

My wife Sarah, with a macro lens in one hand and a Parsnip Predator in the other. This photo was taken on our 40 acre “10 mile restoration project” in Ogle County, Illinois.
Each deck contains a sampling of over 150 plant species native to Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa.

In addition to foundation seed and native plants, we’re now offering our first deck of native plant flash cards. Each deck contains a sampling of over 150 plant species native to Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa. Large, colorful 3.5×5.0″ cards depict a plant on one side, including general growing conditions. The other side lists its botanical name; family, genus and species, as well as common names.

However you observe native plants, you’ll inevitably begin to notice associated insects and the seemingly endless relationships that result. We hope you’ll find these observations as enriching as we have.

There is so much to learn in this world. Get outside, slow down, look and notice.
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