Where gifts of nature are treasured, nurtured and shared.
The word isn’t in the dictionary….yet….but it is a very important concept on the ground in our community, and it is easily replicable anywhere that plants grow. In a nutshell, a nurtury is a place where nature’s gifts – whether they be seeds, seedlings or cuttings -- are treasured, nurtured, and shared with neighbors.
Those of us in our network who are fortunate to have a garden full of native plants for wildlife, many of which freely offer seeds or seedlings, are loath to let such gifts of nature go to waste. Instead of pulling up native seedlings and throwing them in the compost (or, worse, in the trash heap), we pot them up, nurture them, and share them with anybody who wants to create or expand a native pollinator habitat.
Once you have the basics of a native garden filled with plants for butterflies, bees, and birds, the most important thing to do is STOP USING CHEMICAL INSECTICIDES AND HERBICIDES. Chemical poisons have no business in a native wildlife garden. Pesticides kill more than the targeted pest, particularly if they are broadcast-sprayed (and even if the pesticide is organic!), and herbicides can poison the soil. The worst culprits are neonicotinoids, or systemic insecticides that poison every part of the plant, from the roots to the stems to the leaves to the flowers.
Plant as many native plants as you have room for, particularly those that attract butterflies, birds, and bees. Welcoming endangered native plants into your garden is a bonus!
Start gathering containers for your nurtury: be creative and think ‘upcycle’ by looking in alleys for nursery pots that neighbors have discarded, upcycle food delivery containers, use egg cartons. It is much better to put them to good use nurturing new plants than to let them go to a landfill.
Start a compost pile so you can enrich the soil in your yard or the organic potting soil you purchase. Learn more about composting here. We strongly recommend Xavier's DeRoos magnificent presentation listed below:
Learn about the various methods of plant propagation. Your state university’s extension office is one place to start. If you live in Florida, learn more here:
Look on Eventbrite for presentations on plant propagation.
Arrange for a local master gardener or local extension service to conduct a propagation workshop, to learn how best to gather and store seeds, transplant seedlings, and grow plants from cuttings. Native plant habitats in schools and community gardens can also be a source of seeds and connections to like-minded gardeners.
Once you get started and have lots of baby plants in your nurtury, don’t forget that potted plants need to be watered more frequently.
Take walks through your neighborhood and note the gardens that have native plants or signs that they care about nature. You can leave a note in the door with your phone number and an explanation of your interest. Here is a sample of what a note might look like:
Hello neighbor, my name is _________ and I live at _________. I see you have a lot of native plants in your garden. I am committed to creating a biodiverse sanctuary in my garden filled with native plants that attract wildlife. I’d love to talk with you about sharing seeds, seedlings, cuttings, and plants. Please contact me at (xxx)xxx-xxxx if you are interested. Happy gardening! _________.
Post on Nextdoor or in a local Facebook group or create your own Facebook or WhatsApp group to exchange seeds, seedlings, cuttings, propagation tips and useful links.
As you grow your network, it helps to have a “nexus” or two in the neighborhood: gardens with more space that can nurture transplanted seedlings and host exchanges of seeds, seedlings, cuttings, and educational tours and workshops. Tours to other nurturies in the network can include an opportunity to take cuttings from plants that propagate easily. And chances are that someone in your group has experience with propagation and will no doubt be happy to share their knowledge.
Connect with kindred spirits who share your passion and goals. We can do so much more when we join forces with neighbors than we can on our own and we can have fun while doing so.
Inspire your neighbors to start planting for pollinators by gifting them seeds, seedlings, cuttings, or plants from your garden.
Create linkages between gardeners and gardens. This is so important, as you can more easily expand the number of native plants in your garden, and the number of wildlife corridors in your community.
By learning how to propagate plants from cuttings, you can grow new plants, reproducing those that produce the most blooms and berries, like this beautiful Lantana involucrata.
Grow plants for local schools and churches with a community garden.
Work with dedicated teachers to create programs like our Natives for Neighbors, teaching students the importance of connecting with nature and nurturing native plants. You can read about our involvement with one local school here:
Share with people the joy of watching seeds sprout and grow into plants that feed butterflies and bees. We developed a program called Seeds2Share, teaching people of all ages how to germinate plants from seeds harvested from our nurturies. You can read more about our program here:
Expand at low cost the number of pesticide-free gardens filled with native plants for butterflies, bees, and birds. Free seeds, seedlings, cuttings equal free (and plentiful!) plants.
Create corridors that give sanctuary to pollinators and birds by inspiring your neighbors and sharing your seeds, cuttings, and knowledge. At Bound by Beauty, we are creating our first “greening” map that shows the increasing number of pesticide-free and pollinator-friendly gardens and corridors in Miami Shores. We’d love to see it replicated throughout South Florida. You can check the map out here. We are working on a methodology to help others create a "greening" map for their own community.
If you want to take your commitment to another level, you can sign our pledge and order Bound by Beauty’s garden sign.