Return of the Native - About Us

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Aug 28

‘Everything must change so everything can stay the same’

This time last year, I was in New York. Naturally, I made a beeline for Central Park, of which I’d read much but had never visited. What a jewel!

Besides expanses of lawn on which children played, dogs raced and sunlovers basked, there were beautiful wild areas buzzing with pollinators. The plantings include lots of goldenrods, lots of asters, spikes of Bottlebrush Grass, graceful curves of Canada Wild Rye, fluffy white clusters of Boneset, tall stems of Joe Pye Weed, drifts of Anise Hyssop, ladders of White Turtlehead and, very effectively, the pale pink sepals of Spotted Beebalm. Also an aromatic bed of Sweetfern, a native shrub used for many medicinal purposes that flourishes in dry rocky or sandy conditions. Old friends, as the vegetation of New York State is much the same as ours.

A striking aspect of Central Park is the huge outcroppings of bedrock that shaped the 1850s design by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux. Thank goodness for the vision of those who designated the original 778 acres on Manhattan! Let's remember their names, as well as those who sacrificed, but whose names were never recorded. I find it instructive to recall how Central Park was born as, in our own time, efforts to set aside and preserve urban green space continue to be met with obstinate political opposition. The prime movers were American landscape designer Andrew Jackson Downing, Croton Aqueduct Board president Nicholas Dean (a reservoir in Central Park was to be an essential element of the city’s drinking water supply system) and poet and New York Evening Post editor William Cullen Bryant (the delightful Bryant Park, next to the main branch of the New York City Library, is named after him). Read more
Aug 6

Open for September

We will be open Fridays and Saturdays 10am-4pm in September, ending set open hours on Saturday September 28. We will be open by appointment in October - email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 705-322-2545 to arrange a time that works for you. 

The plant list is continually being updated.

We use no pesticides or commercial fertilizers, to ensure that are plants are safe for pollinators and other insects and therefore safe up the ecosystem food chain. 
Jul 24

$5 everything - plus seasonal thoughts

We're having an end of season sale: All plants are $5 regardless of listed price. Plant list. So fill those gaps - dense plantings discourage weed spread and conserve moisture - and try something new and native! Planting in mid-summer is fine as long as you're around to get plants settled in and watered for the first couple of weeks, especially if there's a drought. This applies to potted plants, not ones you dig up - wait until September to move those. 

We're on our mid-summer schedule -  open when we're here, which is most of the time, but to be sure of finding us, check ahead, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 705-322-2545. Note: We are closed in August.

Seasonal thoughts:

- Water. Leave saucers of water out at different levels for insects, birds, toads and other creatures, especially if your space and the surrounding landscape is largely hard-surfaced and lacking in water sources for wildlife. As for actually watering your plants, if they're native and in the ground (pots are another matter) they are adapted to local conditions and under normal circumstances will survive just fine without you. So don't waste your time and the Earth's resources. Read more