What's Happening at the LandHealth Native Plant Nursery?
At the nursery, we have 4 different spaces for our plants. We have a garden for food plants, 2 greenhouses and one open space we call “the pad”. One greenhouse is designated as the “warmhouse” for plants that need a little extra jump. The other greenhouse is designated as the “shadehouse”. Plants here like to be in cooler conditions with a little less sun. This week, plants in the warmhouse got their jump on the season and are ready to move out of the heat. We are shifting our focus to move plants into their specific habitats that suit their needs, such as moving shade-loving plants into the shadehouse and meadow plants out into the open sun on the pad. One example of a plant that we are paying attention to is the Blue Wood Aster (Aster cordifolius). The aster was placed in the warmhouse in March and has grown amazingly. It is ready to be moved into its preferred location, the shadehouse, where it will continue to bloom for the rest of the season.
Belmont Charter Program
One of the best things about the Nursery is the learning opportunities ingrained in our mission. Twice a week, 8th and 9th grade students from Belmont Charter visit the Nursery to learn about what we do and the meaning behind it. With a focus on hands-on learning, students discuss about biomes, habitats, food plants and native plants. The students learn how to identify the different ecosystems present on the site, such as forests, savannas and meadows. In addition, the students familiarize themselves with the plants that grow in these environments and the balance between the wildlife present. The students also help us plant food plants, such as tomatoes, and help with the garden. Furthermore, the students have the opportunity to learn about the necessary conditions for native plants and gain experience repotting as these plants continue to grow.
New Focus for the Future
Many of our clients expressed interest in building natural habitats in their yards. One additional aspect we heard was that many clients live in row houses, so they were looking for native plants that could tolerate shade. This shifted our focus this year to more shade-tolerant native plants. One variety that we have been working on is ferns. We have been growing Cinnamon Fern (Osmundastrum cinnamomeum), Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis), Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina) and Royal Fern (Osmunda regalis). We have also been growing shade-tolerant native plants that flower, such as the Foam Flower (Tiarella cordifolia) and Dale’s Strain (Heuchera americana). By listening to what our clients want based on their home habitats, we can grow more to meet that need.
Sensitive Fern Foam Flower Royal Fern