Wild Seed Project tree background
Wild Seed Project: Returning native plants to the Maine landscape
Rose, coneflower, bee-balm, and milkweed ready for larger pots

Caring for your Native Seedlings

by Heather McCargo

How to grow them over the summer and plant into their permanent home in the fall You have successfully germinated some native seeds and have small pots or flats filled with baby plants. Now what do you do? I recommend growing first year seedlings in pots all summer and waiting to plant them into the […]

Small flowering trees

Small Flowering Trees: A Dozen Native Species for Limited Spaces

by Heather McCargo

A small tree can bring beauty and diversity into your yard while taking up very little space. One could be planted next to your doorway, on the edge of a driveway, in the narrow strip between the sidewalk and street, in the garden bed by your patio or even in a large pot on your […]


NATIVE GREENS: Grow these delicious edible vegetables in your own back yard

by Heather McCargo

Spring is a great time to taste some of Maine’s native plants that have edible leaves and shoots. Below are species that can be planted in your home landscape, transforming your experience with native plants beyond their ornamental and wildlife value to the gastronomic. This information is not intended as a field guide to foraging […]


The Disconnect Between Garden Aesthetics and Local Ecology

by Curtis Jirsa

The horticulturist Alan Chadwick, according to his disciples, rebuked anyone caught weeding sow thistle (Sonchus) from his garden beds. “They’re all plants,” he once declared. “It’s just that, if a plant is growing where we don’t want it to grow, then we call it a weed.” The difference between a weed and a plant, in […]


Native Groundcovers for Beauty and Biodiversity at the Ground Level

by Heather McCargo

Groundcovers are low-growing plants that fill in quickly to make a dense carpet of foliage. Once established, they’ll crowd out weeds, provide year-round protection to the soil, and offer overwintering habitat for native fauna. Ideally, a groundcover should include several species combined to create a beautiful tapestry of foliage and blooms, offering a long season […]

Return of the Meadow

Return of the Meadow

by Heather McCargo

Meadows are beautiful dynamic habitats with rich populations of plants and animals, and unfortunately, they have been reduced substantially in the last 50 years. Contributing to their decline is the tractor mower which makes it very easy for everyone to mow often and expansively. Loss of pasture land with grazing animals has also contributed to […]

trumpet honeysuckle

Growing Vertical with Native Vines: Climbing plants for fences, trellises and walls

by Heather McCargo

With their roots in the earth and their stems twining upward, vines are a great solution where ground space is limited but vertical space is available. Choose a native species beloved by hummingbirds, butterflies, bumble bees or birds and you will create food and habitat where once there was none. Imagine the barren wire of […]

Native seed planting equipment

Autumn and Winter Seed Sowing in Six Easy Steps

by Heather McCargo

Fall and winter are the best times to sow native seeds. In Maine, the yearly cycle for seed ripening and germination is different from common garden and vegetable seeds. Many native seeds need to have a winter period of cold moist temperatures to break dormancy and germinate. Not all native seeds require this cold period […]

Seed bombs

Native Seed Bombs – Dispersing Seeds with Guerilla Action

by Heather McCargo

There is something satisfying about the idea of tossing seeds of wild flowers or trees into an impoverished area with the hope that it will magically turn into a flowery meadow or forest. After all, seeds scatter in nature by chance. Seeds blow in the wind, stick to the body of an animal, drop to […]

Butternut tree

The Butternuts of Belfast

by Philip Crystal

Belfast, Maine is loaded with butternut—the tree, not the squash. Since moving back to Maine last fall, I have seen more mature butternuts here than during my years at Purdue conducting graduate studies on the species. A young butternut, barely a shrub, is behind the iconic Front Street Shipyard. At the intersections of Durham Street […]

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