Plant local; shop local!
Nuts For Natives is designed to make it easier for us to garden with native plants. Of the featured twelve local nurseries selling native plants, these four have regular hours, are independently owned and specialize in native plants. If you want an easy shopping experience, reliable advice to increase your chances of success and enhance your garden, these are the places to go. Please note I have no relationship, financial or otherwise, with these nurseries. Perhaps a more important note is these local businesses specializing in locally grown native plants (a rarity) are surviving in a very competitive industry, all while providing an environmentally important service.
Pylesville, Maryland (Harford County)
If the idea of strolling through a dell, watching butterflies flit from plant to plant and moving among mature native perennials, shrubs and trees sounds good, Kollar Nursery is the place for you. The drive through the bucolic rolling hills of northern Harford County is just a bonus. The Kollar family has been growing and selling native plants for about 30 years and it shows. They sell perennials, shrubs and trees as well as a very curated selection of ornamental shrubs and trees. High quality native shrubs and trees are available in a number of sizes and price points. Kollar sells straight species and hybrids and can explain the virtues of each choice. They are also really friendly people. Once you see the unassuming sign at the side of the driveway, turn in and enjoy the idyllic setting.
Herring Run Nursery in Baltimore is a treasure trove of quality straight species and cultivars of native plants. You will find hundreds of perennials, shrubs and some young trees laid out in tidy rows in a sunny field behind a municipal golf course. Right now the nursery is taking on-line orders and has just announced it will open for in-person visits by appointment beginning August 27th. The nursery manager is friendly, knowledgeable and super helpful. Proceeds benefit Blue Water Baltimore, an organization dedicated to improving Baltimore's water quality..
Bowie, Maryland (just at the Prince Georges - Anne Arundel County line)
Ecooasis is a very small nursery about 5 minutes from Homestead Gardens in Davidsonville. They may be small but they have a good selection of native shrubs and trees at competitive prices at their sunny road side location including larger sumac, serviceberry, and river birches. If you are looking for something specific, it would be advisable to call ahead. They also carry many organic products.
Nature by Design in Alexandria is located in a quirky spot at the end of side street off of Rt 1. It was the last place I expected to find a nursery but there it is tucked into a small spot under some nice shade trees. They grow their own plants and sell quite a range of straight species perennials including those that are hard to find. They also sell very young shrubs and trees. Like the other nurseries listed here, the people who work there are very helpful and extremely knowledgeable.
Where to Buy also includes 8 other full service nurseries, another specialty nursery, Chesapeake Natives, and mail order sources. Chesapeake Natives specializes in their own grown local ecotype perennials and is open for curbside pickup. Valley View Farms in Cockeysville, Maryland has a 25% off sale of deciduous trees through the weekend and beyond and, as of the 21st, has some fairly large native trees including sweet bay magnolia, bald cypress, redbuds, river birches and others. Sun Nurseries in Woodbine in Howard County in Maryland has the evergreen inkberry shrub which is a great sub for boxwood and also great for hedges, in a variety of sizes and at very competitive prices. They also have native wisteria which can be hard to find. Last, Patuxent Nurseries in Bowie has an extensive selection of native perennials.
Please check with nurseries to make sure information hasn't changed before you go. Also, a number of nurseries are now posting inventories on-line for curbside pick-up (Chesapeake Natives, Herring Run, Nature by Design, Sun Nurseries).
Do you know of other nurseries we should all be aware of? If so, please leave the name in the comments and we will check it out. Thanks so much for reading.