Return of the Native - About Us
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 by appointment in October

We end set open hours on Saturday September 28 (10am-4pm). 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

Seasonal thoughts for end of July

- 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. 

- Dead-head. Cut the spent flowers off and your plants will flower for a longer time. If you let them go to seed, they figure, job done and time to get into the next stage, which is storing energy to survive winter.

- Weed. In sharp contradistinction, weeds should not be allowed to go to seed as that's just making more work in the future. Get them before they have seeds on them. Pull and lay the weeds on their side to decompose, return nutrients to the soil, and turn into mulch.
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