Go Native In Your Garden


Several Nurseries Are Near Madison
By Kaitlyn Novotny, Illustrated by Molly Krolczyk

When it comes to native plant nurseries, Wisconsin has an embarrassment of riches, and several are close to the Madison area.

Here are a few to check out.

Agrecol, Evansville: Agrecol has a diverse selection of native wildflower and grass seed, as well as live native plants. Retail orders require pick up on-site, giving you the opportunity to check out their vast selection. With recent high demand for native species, and, in particular, milkweed—the chief food for monarch butterflies—Agrecol offers plants throughout spring, summer and fall.

“We have people come back every year to add new plants, see new species. It’s definitely a passion for them,” says Agrecol Sales Manager Matt Weber.

Weber says Dane County has many resources for folks interested in making native plant gardens to help pollinator species. He recommends Plant Dane!, a local plant cost-share program that offers native plants at reduced prices. And he suggests getting involved in local native plant sales (annually at the UW Arboretum and Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison). He encourages enthusiasts to sign up for pollinator and prairie walks and workshops.

“These are great places to get basic understandings of plants that are appropriate for this area and become familiar with things that provide what you’re looking for in your garden,” Weber says. agrecol.com. 

Bluestem Farm, Baraboo: Offering nursery-propagated prairie, savanna and woodland potted plants native to southern Wisconsin. Co-owner Muffy Barrett recommends checking out the Wildones website (wildones.org)  for additional gardening ideas. “Aim for plants that bloom throughout the season, a broad variety of species,” so the garden is always awash in color, Barrett says. The farm sells at the Dane County Farmers’ Market or buyers can make an appointment to purchase at the nursery in person. bluestemfarm.com. 

Prairie Nursery, Westfield: An hour’s drive north of Madison, Prairie Nursery

provides native wildflower and grass seed, seed mixes and plants and has recently launched the new U-Pick Plant Kit, combining your choice of 32 of your favorite potted perennials for a reduced price. Shipping and pick-up are available. prairienursery.com

Taylor Creek Restoration Nurseries, Brodhead: An hour south of Madison, the nurseries have a wide-ranging display of native plants including prairie grasses and wildflowers, shrubs and trees. Its retail plant area opens in early May with limited hours, and otherwise sees clients by appointment. Restorationnurseries.com

Looking for a specific native plant species? Check out Plant Native at plantnative.org for a sizable list of Wisconsin-based nurseries and their specialty stock and get to gardening!

Find more nurseries around the state on the Pollinator Conservation Resources list at the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation website,  xerces.org

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