You probably know the Greenburgh Nature Center best for our animals – the animal museum, the barnyard, the raptors, even the wild animals in the forest — all delight visitors and help our naturalists teach about biodiversity and sustainable living.

Now let’s focus on plants! Plants are the first link in the food chain. Don’t all animals eat plants or other animals that eat plants? Without native plants, most species of insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals native to our region would be deprived of critical food sources. If we are passionate about the natural world, shouldn’t we be paying more attention to plants?

Over the past several years, the Nature Center has recognized the urgent need in our community for more native plants to support wildlife. We decided we should begin in our own backyard.

Our first project was the Native Wildflower Meadow. What was once a weed-infested field is now a glorious highlight of our landscape:

Before: a mess of invasive plants
Today: the Meadow is a place to explore and enjoy

What was once treacherous tumble of rock in front of the Manor House is now our lovely staircase and native garden:

Before: weeds and rocks
Today: A place for people, birds, and pollinators

And just this summer, a community group was inspired to plant a spectacular Pollinator Garden, full of native flowers and grasses, right at the edge of the Great Lawn:

Heaven for bees and and butterflies

The impact of these gardens was immediate. Greg Wechgelaer, our Director of Education and beekeeper, noticed that honey production in our beehives increased by over 50% the first season after the Meadow was planted. In addition, the Meadow has become a place for learning and for contemplation.

Naturalist, Travis Brady, teaching in the outdoor classroom in the Meadow
Peaceful moment in the Oak Circle at one end of the Meadow

The butterfly population on the grounds has exploded, and children are finding monarch caterpillars right next to the Manor House steps.

So, now we are talking about plants: what we should plant and where, which plants are best for home gardens, which plants should be avoided, and how everybody can add native plants to our landscapes for the benefit of nature.

Follow this blog to see what is happening on our grounds each week. We will feature specific plants, tell you where to find them on our grounds, and give you tips for how you can grow them, too. We are eager to share what we have learned, and to hear your questions and ideas.

And come take a look around! There are wonderful plants to see right now, and in every season that follows.

This blog will be authored weekly by Cathy Ludden, local expert and advocate for native plants and Board Member, Greenburgh Nature Center.

16 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Plants!

  1. I look forward to learning more about all the native plants. I have loved watching the transformation in the meadow. Thank you Cathy for all your hard work and this informative blog!

    1. Thanks, Tracy. It’s a great pleasure for me to spend time in the gardens at the Nature Center, and a constant learning experience, too.

  2. This is an excellent resource for those of us interested in researching information about native plants. Expert advice is available from knowledgeable professionals with years of experience.

  3. Thanks for this wonderful blog. It’s great to see the results of your planning and hard work. The meadow is lovely!

  4. Beautiful and productive transformations…the photos are great! This is a great asset for the community. I’ve enjoyed seeing children discover caterpillars in the Manor House gardens. Thank you for this blog!

  5. This is an awesome way to learn more about native plants and appreciate the impact they have on our earth. I can’t wait to learn each week about the different plants! 😀

  6. I love this! Bravo for all your hard work and your endeavor to share it! I will read every one!

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