From restoring native plant communities in a floodplain to managing vegetation at a solar farm to deploying goat herds for buckthorn removal, Minnesota Native Landscapes Corp. (MNL) takes on many large-scale projects as part of its mission to “Heal the Earth.”
But this Otsego, MN-based ecological restoration business also supports individuals to take action in their own yards. MNL provides native plants and seeds for sale through its online storefront, making choosing plants easier by providing kits for specific needs. For example, people can order kits for a backyard prairie, a shade garden, a rain garden or to attract pollinators, among others. They can even build their own.
MNL also provides blog posts and videos on its website for anybody who wants to learn more about growing native plants. There is a learning curve when working with native plants, according to Bre Bauerly, Ecological Products Consultant at MNL. Bauerly says they aren’t always as fast-growing or as showy as many plants you’d find in a traditional garden center. But they provide greater ecosystem benefits, from long roots that help to prevent erosion and drink up stormwater to flowers that provide food for pollinators. Currently, MNL is working on a video on what to expect in the first year after seeding and planting.
“We try to make it easier for people to put native plants and seeds in their own yards, but do it in a way that their expectations are on par with reality, making sure that they’re putting in the time to prepare the site well so the seeds and plants are successful in the long run,” Bauerly says.
Interestingly MNL doesn’t ship its products outside of the northern Midwest region. While its plants do really well in the region’s unique growing conditions, sending them to other parts of the country with different growing conditions is a less certain proposition. “Our plants are from here and they thrive here,” Bauerly says.
These days many people are looking for plants that support pollinators. This includes people who received grants to support creating habitat for pollinators at their homes from the Lawns to Legumes program (through the state Board of Water and Soil Resources). MNL offers several kits for this, from attracting monarchs or rusty-patched bumble bees to seed mixes for pollinator meadows or lawns.
Why is MNL a Metro Blooms sponsor?
Bauerly points to the education work Metro Blooms does through its Blue Thumb program. “The educational component of Metro Blooms, like the workshops, for getting the message out, really aligns with our goal,” Bauerly says. “We support that work, and know that if people are learning about sustainable backyards, maybe they’re going to be looking for seed and plants to use on those projects.”
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