Native plants are on a roll. Nurseries and university extension services are noticing a growing interest in sustainable gardening. In fact, native plants are at the top of a 2020 trend list identified by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
At Matthaei-Nichols, the natural areas are living laboratories for removing invasive plants and replanting with natives. The Great Lakes Gardens at Matthaei offer an up-close view of regional plants and their habitats.
A lesser-known corner of the native plant universe is seed collection and processing. Each year, native seeds are planted and then a new bounty of seeds is harvested from the properties. In order to process all the product, volunteers lend a hand. Typically in January, you’ll find a devoted group of folks working inside the greenhouses as they burn off milkweed fluff, push coneflower chaff through sieves, and fill and label countless bags of seeds for use later on.