Northern Westchester’s Hilltop Hanover Farm is receiving a grant to start a native plant nursery.
The grant, which totals $4,375, comes from the Bedford Garden Club and will fund the volunteer-run nursery intended to cultivate plants that are native to Westchester County, like swamp milkweed, New York ironweed and bee balm.
All of the nursery's plants will be low-maintenance and able to flourish naturally in the area, helping local ecosystems to thrive near the farm's location in Yorktown Heights.
“This grant will strengthen the ecosystems of Westchester County as we move towards our goal of increasing availability of native plants, and sharing knowledge of their use, maintenance and propagation,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer.
Botanists will train the nursery’s volunteers in a series of six classes that will include subjects like plant culture and the collection, cleaning and propagation of seeds. Workshop leaders include New England Wild Flower Society Propagator Dan Jaffe, Highstead Operations Manager Geordie Elkins and Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank Consulting Botanist Molly Marquand.
“The seeds collected in this program will be used to plant founder plots that can be harvested for seeds subsequent years so the nursery can continue to grow ecoregional native plants without over-harvesting from wild populations,” said Hilltop Hanover Farm Director Shanyn Siegel.
The nursery is scheduled to begin production in June. Plants should be ready in the fall and will be used in civic and local conservation projects and sold to residents for ecological landscaping.
Hilltop Hanover Farm will launch the volunteer program starting Thursday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m. New York Botanical Garden Director of the Thain Family Forest Jessica Schuler will be discussing lessons from her experience with garden management as well as tips residents can use in their own gardens focusing on native plants.
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