Growing Wild

Growing Wild South Hadley is an initiative of the Conservation Commission to promote biodiversity through planting native and pollinator species. This initiative follows guidance from others such as Homegrown National Park, DCR's Growing Wild Massachusetts, Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association and the Massachusetts Pollinator Network

The mission of this initiative is to help the community understand that your yard can be more than just the place where you hold your barbecues or a patch of grass where your kids play. Each yard is connected with the environment around us through a fragile link with nature. As property owners, we have the responsibility of caring for, and improving, that link. With the guidance and patience, you can take meaningful steps to restore and maintain an ecologically sustainable landscape. 

Upcoming Event:

"Planting for Hummingbirds and Talking to Neighbors about Your Messy Backyard"

with Larri Cochran, master gardener 

Thursday, September 14 6:00pm-7:30pm 

South Hadley Library Community Room 

Now that there's so much information available about the basics of native plant/pollinator relationships and the benefits of designing our gardens with mostly native plants, let's take the conversation to the next level: 

  • How do we explain the benefits of pollinator habitats/gardens to our neighbors, HOAs and facilities managers?
  • Beyond supporting pollinators, what are the other benefits of using native plants & pollinator habitats in urban settings?
  • How do we balance pollinator habitat functionality with aesthetic appeal?
  • What are "clean plants" and why should we care?
  • Where are the best local sources for native plants?
This talk will focus on addressing these questions and other related topics. With plenty of time for Q&A, this event will be informative whether you are a home gardener, facilities manager, urban landscape designer or somewhere in between.

Larri Cochran offers consulting & design services for gardens & landscapes which feature native plants and trees. Her planting plans are designed to provide 4-season support for pollinators, birds and other native animal species. She teaches design workshops throughout the region and designs/manages habitats for clients in both urban and rural settings. She is a certified horticulturist and Landscape for Life Trainer,  co-directs the Northampton Community Garden and serves as Co-President of the Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association.

10 Things to Get You Started - such as shrinking your lawn and removing invasives. 

Biodiversity is critical to maintaining ecosystem function.  Every human being on our planet needs diverse productive ecosystems to survive. Our local ecosystems produce oxygen, clean water, pollination, wildlife habitat, carbon storage, and so much more. These ecosystem services sustain us and our community. Planting native pollinator species promotes biodiversity and is important in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. 

We love our lawns. So much so, lawns are the biggest irrigated crop in the country. Greenhouse gas emissions from lawn mowing accompanied with fertilizing and other lawn maintenance practices are far greater than the carbon stored by grass. While a sprawling lawn can be appealing to the eye, it is not a diverse ecosystem. Adding native plants to a yard supports the ecologically stainable landscape of the community. 

Previous Growing Wild Presentations

Online Webinars

Explore these other Resources

1001 Pollinator Gardens. 1,001 Pollinator Gardens is an initiative to encourage, support, and document the commitment of 1,001 people in Western Massachusetts to grow gardens that offer food and shelter to pollinators. The goals are to: 1. Provide sustaining habitat for pollinator species and 2. Help shift human gardening culture towards more ecologically beneficial gardening practices based on our knowledge of the needs of pollinators and other wildlife species.

Lawns into Meadows - Growing a regenerative landscape by Owen Wormser. This book described how to plant an organic meadow that's right for your site, whether it's a yard, community garden, or tired city lot. He shares advice on preparing your plot, coming up with the right design, and planting grasses and flowers. Available by special order from The Odyssey Bookshop

Tallamy's Hub. This is a great place to start. Tallamy's Hub is a collection of writings, podcasts, books, and videos on the effort to regenerate biodiversity one backyard at at time. “... what if each American landowner converted half of his or her yard to productive native plant communities? Even moderate success could collectively restore some semblance of ecosystem function to more than 20 million acres of what is now ecological wasteland.”- Douglas Tallamy, Homegrown National Park®

The Massachusetts Pollinator Network is a statewide network of individuals, communities, organizations, native plant experts, and researchers working to project pollinators across the Commonwealth.  The mission of the MA Pollinator Network (MAPN) is to expand pollinator habitat and reduce the use of pesticides through creation of a statewide network that connects and supports the growing number of individuals, communities, organizations, and research groups working to protect pollination systems across the Commonwealth.

Growing Wild Massachusetts. Driving along the highway you may see signs that say "No Mow Zone - Pollinator Meadow". These pollinator habitat areas are in part due to efforts behind DCR'S Growing Wild Massachusetts. This spring, DCR hopes to again work with Dave's Natural Garden in Granby to offer pollinator garden starter kits free of charge to customers. Kits will be available first come first serve. Check the DCR website for updates on the program. 

Grow Native Massachusetts. A place to find programs, resources, and to learn about promoting biodiversity with native plants across the state. Grow Native Massachusetts has a great beginner's article "Getting Started - For Beginners" and for the more experienced gardener be sure to check out the Evenings with Experts - A Free Public Lecture Series.

Local Nurseries

Bay State Perennial Farm, Whatley, MA

Class Grass Garden Center, Granby, MA

Dave's Natural Garden, Granby, MA

Gardener's Supply, Hadley, MA. Formerly Hadley Garden Center. 

Nasami Farm – South Deerfield, MA.

New England Wetland Plants, South Hadley. Wholesale nursery. By appointment only. Typically $250 minimum order. 

Wing and a Prayer, Pollinator Plant Nursery – Cummington, MA

Nursey and Seed Sources - A great resource compiled by Grow Native Massachusetts