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Go Native!

Judy Wagley
Patricia Osburn, District Administrator of the Otsego Conservation District in Gaylord, with some of the many native plants in the Native Plant Nursery greenhouse.

Patricia Osburn is the District Administrator for the Otsego Conservation District in Gaylord. She has been working with native plants for more than 25 years. In this episode of “From the Ground Up!” she explains that “native plants” are species that have been growing within a region for hundreds of years. She says that native plants for our region are those that grow in states adjacent to the Great Lakes.

Why grow native plants? Their root systems are much longer and stronger, and they purify the ground water as well as prevent soil erosion. Native plants also attract beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Some of the common native plants that we may be familiar with are black-eyed Susan and coneflowers, both of which are also readily available as hybrids. When shopping for plants, Patricia encourages “doing your homework” and learning the botanical names of plants and studying the tags on each plant to be sure if it is a native or hybrid variety.

Native plants are beautiful and easy to grow and care for. Patricia tells us that good soil and water are all that is needed for them to thrive!

Additional Resources:
Information on creating native plant gardens from the Otsego Conservation District

Judy Wagley is WCMU’s midday host, and is the producer of The Children’s Bookshelf from From the Ground Up! She guides listeners through their weekdays from 9am to 3pm.