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Where-to-Buy Guide: Native Plants

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Flowers are on display at the Bartlett Arboretum's Spring Plant Sale in Stamford, Conn., on Friday, May 10, 2013. The sale will continue Saturday, May 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where-to-buy guide

It can be a challenge to find native plants for sale. “It’s not as easy as you would think,” Audubon Connecticut’s Katie Blake says, “but it’s getting better.” Here we have info on two public nurseries in Connecticut dedicated exclusively to native plants (including one that’s less than a year old), as well as an ever-increasing number of nurseries that mix natives among their stock. We also have ecologically minded groups’ native plant sales to share with you, and, when you’re ready for a spring road trip that involves getting up close and personal with some native New Englanders, we have the perfect one in mind. Just remember, “The public drives what’s in and out of fashion in our gardens,” Roaring Brook Nature Center’s Margery Winters says, “and it’s up to the public to start demanding more native plants for sale.”

Earth Tones Native Plants in Woodbury (earthtonesnatives.com) is a native plant nursery, opened in 2004, which offers grasses, ferns, perennials, shrubs and trees native to our region. Owners Kyle and Lisa Turoczi grow plants from local seed sources, many of which they collect themselves (with permission, of course), and also provide landscape design, consulting, installation and maintenance services. Check out the site’s Native Plant Search Wizard, which helps you find plants with characteristics you desire by allowing you to choose by plant type, flower or berry color, exposure/light requirements, soil conditions, wildlife it attracts and more. The nursery will reopen for the season on April 22.

Native in Fairfield (anativeplantnursery.com), which opened in May 2018, may not have yet celebrated its first anniversary, but owner William Kenny has operated his landscape architecture firm William Kenny Associates in Fairfield, which focuses on ecologically sound landscape design, for more than 15 years. Native stocks a diverse selection of the region’s native plant species, from trees and shrubs to ferns, wildflowers and grasses.

Nasami Farm in Whately, Massachusetts, (newenglandwild.org/visit/nasami-farm) is the New England Wild Flower Society’s native plant nursery. Its primary focus is growing plants from seeds that have been collected in the wild by a team of trained staff and volunteers who research and document local sources of healthy, wild populations of native plants. It also partners with local nurseries (like Summer Hill Nursery in Madison) to grow propagated plants to retail size, which, come April 27, it will have available for sale to the public in its seasonal garden shop.

Native Plant Sale May 11, Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens, Stamford (bartlettarboretum.org).

Native Plant Sale May 18-19, Audubon Greenwich, (greenwich.audubon.org). Pre-ordering is encouraged; check website for plant lists and order form.

Native Plant Sale for the Birds third week of May (check website for specific dates, location and plant lists), Menunkatuck Audubon Society, Guilford (menunkatuck.org). Pre-ordering is encouraged.

Northwest Conservation District Earth Day Plant SaleApril 26-28, Goshen Fairgrounds, Goshen.

North Central Conservation District Plant SaleMay 3-4, Tolland County Agricultural Center, Vernon, and 4-H Education Center, Bloomfield.

Eastern Connecticut Conservation District Spring Plant Sale April 19-20, Ocean State Job Lot Building, Gales Ferry, and April 26-27, Brooklyn Fairgrounds, Brooklyn.

Connecticut River Coastal Conservation District Plant and Seedling Sale April 26-28, Westbrook Outlets, Westbrook.

Go to conservect.org to link to individual districts and find plant-sale lists as well as information on pre-ordering. Day-of sales are also available at each location.

This article appeared in the March 2019 issue of Connecticut Magazine. You can subscribe here, or find the current issue on sale here. Got a question or comment? Email editor@connecticutmag.com, or contact us on Facebook @connecticutmagazine or Twitter @connecticutmag.