Wild plant reproduction and how our landscape practices affect native plants in natural areas and in our gardens.
The seeds of wild plants have a different set of needs than those of garden and vegetable species. In this talk, Heather will describe the reproductive life cycle of different types of native plants and explain how we can change our landscape practices to help support wild plant reproduction and pollinators, birds, and other wildlife. Growing native plants from seed is a different way to interact with our native flora and is an inexpensive way to produce a lot of plants. Heather will explain native seed sowing and outdoor propagation techniques. Fall is an excellent time to sow the native seeds.
Heather McCargo, the founder and director of the Wild Seed Project, is an educator with 30 years of expertise in plant propagation, landscape design, and conservation. She was the head plant propagator at the New England Wildflower Society’s Garden in the Woods in the 90’s, worked at several landscape architecture/planning firms specializing in ecological design, and has been a contributor to several research projects with USAID, National Gardening Association, and with MOFGA. She has lectured nationally and is widely published in journals and magazines such as Horticulture and American Nurseryman. Locally she designed the master plan for the medicinal gardens at Avena Botanicals in Rockland and was the creator and lead teacher for the Bay School’s Agricultural Arts program. Heather has a MA from the Conway School of Landscape Design and BA in plant ecology from Hampshire College.
Wild landscapes in Maine are rapidly being developed, and as a result native plant populations are diminishing. This loss of wild plant species has a ripple effect on biodiversity and ecosystem health. Native plants have an evolutionary history with insects and other fauna and are the foundation for a healthy, ecologically diverse environment. When native plants are absent from a landscape, so are many other creatures.
Native plants are adapted to every type of ecosystem in Maine, and many species thrive in urban and developed environments. Fortunately, when native plants are reintroduced into a landscape, many of the other creatures with whom they coevolved also return. Unfortunately, commercial offerings of native plants remain limited, and many nurseries do not have the time or knowledge to collect seeds. There is a need for locally sourced seeds that are collected from genetically diverse wild populations or from uncultivated forms growing in gardens.