Blandy Partners with the Clifton Institute for Local Plant Conservation
Most native seed suppliers carry only the most common and showy native wildflowers, which is just a small subsection of our incredibly diverse flora. In most cases, commercially available plants are sourced from only a few areas and shipped to other parts of the country – a framework that doesn’t preserve local varieties of plants and often produces an inferior product for customers (a milkweed adapted to Minnesota weather might not do well in the warmer climates of Virginia).
One of the State Arboretum’s core missions is to preserve biodiversity, so when the Clifton Institute asked if we’d like to start a plot to produce seeds of rare and locally unavailable plants, we jumped at the opportunity. Our Native Plant Trail volunteer crew was essential in preparing and planting the beds and will continue to look after them as they mature and start to flower.
The goal of these plantings is to produce enough seed to distribute to interested local landowners through sales and seed swaps. The plants will need at least a year or two before any significant amount of seed is produced.