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The Wild Seed Project

I have a very shady front and back yard. 13 years ago I removed all the unhappy grass and created stone paths alongside garden beds with an array of shade tolerant native shrubs, plants and trees, as well as planting sacks and pots filled with bulbs that bloom from spring into fall. The crowning addition was over two dozen hellebores whose multi colored winter blooms complement other winter flowering plants such as snow drops and camellias. Happy Gardening! Via DownEast – “Why Heather McCargo and the Wild Seed Project want us all to think differently about what we plant (and yeah, to think about it in the winter)…McCargo established the Wild Seed Project in 2014 to teach people to appreciate and grow native plant species, helping to restore some of New England’s lost biodiversity. Initially, the organization comprised only McCargo, a working board, and a small cadre of volunteers, collecting and selling seeds from plants often written off as weeds — joe-pye weed, milkweed, jewelweed — mailing packets from McCargo’s home in Portland’s West End. In her backyard, McCargo planted more than 80 species of trees and shrubs, a demonstration plot with which she attracted curious gardeners and arborists — in the hopes of radicalizing them. Today, WSP has a staff of eight, an office in North Yarmouth, a nascent horticultural center in Cape Elizabeth, and some 2,000 dues-paying members, who get access to garden tours and Q&As, discounts on seeds, and more. Through its online store, the group offers seeds for more than 90 plant species native to the Northeast. It sold some 6,000 packets in 2019, roughly doubled that the first year of the pandemic, then doubled it again the next year. In 2021, a long, admiring story in the New York Times brought WSP national attention, calling its mission “urgent.”

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