Recently, the Friends of the St. Clair River and their many volunteers installed their new native plant gardens at the Thumb Coast Watershed Center in St. Clair. The Friends were a recipient of a 2023 Wildflower Association of Michigan grant. The project consisted of two parts.
The first part of the project involved removing the existing non-native vegetation in four preexisting flower/shrub beds at the front of their building and replacing them with native plants. What started out to be a 10 x 14 feet garden morphed into something much larger and now consists of four native plant garden beds.
|The selection of native plants included:
|Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
|Coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea and pallida)
|Wild strawberries (Fragaria virginiana)
|Milkweeds (Asclepias incarnata and A. tuberosa)
|Golden Alexanders (Zizea auria)
|Prairie blazing star (Liatris pycnosachya)
|Asters (Symphyotrichum laeve and cordifolium)
|Goldenrods (Solidago flexicaulus and ridellii)
|Foxglove beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis)
|Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)
|Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum verticillatum)
|Shrubby Cinquefoil (Dasiphora fruticosa)
|Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago)
|False Nettle (Boehmeria cylindrica)
|Lanceleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata)
|Spikenard (Aralia racemosa)
The second part of the project was the establishment of a native plant seed library. The seed library is housed in two locations. One library is at the Thumb Coast Watershed Center (301 N. Ninth St. in St. Clair) and the other library is held at the St. Clair Community College in Port Huron. Storing seeds from dozens of native plant species which were hand collected by volunteers, these two libraries are the first free public seed banks in St. Clair County. The seed packets are accompanied by a fact sheet for each species of native plant.
To help maintain the gardens for years to come, the site has been designated an MSU Extension Master Gardener project which allows certified Master Gardeners to earn volunteer hours.
Non-profit organizations with a desire to promote education, protection and establishment of native plant species are encouraged to apply for a Wildflower Association of Michigan grant. WAM will fund up to $1,250 of your project. The deadline for grant applications is December 1st each year. More information can be found at: https://wildflowersmich.org/wam-grants/.
Dave Putt is a Board Member for the Wildflower of Association of Michigan and for Friends of the St. Clair River. Dave stays busy volunteering for the Clinton River Watershed Council and is a Stream Team Leader for Friends of the St. Clair River’s water quality monitoring project. Dave enjoys spending time with his grandson.