Get To Know Our WOMM 2023 Native Plant Celebration & Sale Nurseries
We asked each of our growers to share a little bit about their path to this work, their approaches to growing native plants, products and methods used, and especially protections for managing some of the known risks for farmers, nurseries, and gardeners.
Plant lists are available directly through each growers’ website or plant lists with an email request. See below for the best link for each to learn about what they are growing for the Sale.
Rooted Elements is a peat-free plant nursery in Montville, Maine specializing in seed grown, pesticide-free native plants. Founded in 2021 by life-long friends and gardeners Amber Lewis and Sara Melanson, Rooted Elements currently holds pop-up sales and offers nursery appointments. Native plant garden design and consultation services are also offered.
They grow their plants from seed, primarily from seeds saved from their own gardens, and also collecting ethically from the wild, and purchasing from Wild Seed Project and Prairie Moon Nursery. Plants are grown in organic, peat-free potting soils from Organic Mechanics. Amendments are added as needed.
They have been aware of jumping worms for a few years now, and like so many people in Maine, have found them in their own gardens. They are very careful to keep jumping worms out of their nursery stock. From the start, they have kept their plants on tables at all stages of growth, as well as keeping all of their growing supplies off the ground, including pots and potting soils.
They use separate tools for nursery work, and any reused pots get washed and heat treated in the greenhouse. They routinely pot on (transplant to larger pots) their nursery plants, which allows them to keep a close eye on the roots and soil in the pots, and to monitor for signs of worms. They are confident in their nursery hygiene and have never found evidence of worms in their nursery stock.
Rebel Hill Farm
Julie and Pete Beckford are Rebel Hill Farm’s growers whose native perennial plants are all field grown, not grown in pots. This matters as all plants they sell have made it through a winter, and their plants are large and sturdy when they sell them.
They have been selling natives since 1990, before native plants became popular. They do this work as they want gardens to be a valuable part of the local ecology.
To manage jumping worms, they control inputs into their farm, and do not buy plants from others. They do like to reuse their pots from customers who return them. Pots must be washed, and then they pasteurize them at the nursery by placing them in clear plastic bags in the sun, which will kill any eggs of any kind that might have hitchhiked in with the pots. They also clean their footwear before entering the garden, and have their workers and visitors do the same.
They welcome pre-sale orders, which are best placed via phone, and the sooner the better. Availability lists on their website will help with selection prior to the WOMM event. With bigger orders (50 to 100 plants, for example) they will deliver. They accept cash and check only.
Julie and Peter Beckford | RebelHillFarm.com | Liberty, ME
207-589-3023 (phone or text is best)
Bas Rouge Farm and Forge
Ivonne Vazquez (she/her/ella) is passionate about native plants, herbs, pollinators, DIY, sustainability, the environment, the outdoors and sharing gardening knowledge. With over 20 years of gardening and outdoor education experience, she is most often found using her skills as a former Master Gardener Volunteer, current Licensed Registered Maine Guide/Recreation, Basic Gardening Instructor at Bangor (Maine) Adult Community Education, small acreage diversified farmer and native plant grower. Ivonne recently earned a certificate in Sustainable Landscaping & Garden Management and in Permaculture Design.
Ivonne and her husband, Glenn Roberts, own Bas Rouge Farm & Forge in Orono, Maine. The farm business was established in 2022, transitioning from a decade old homestead. There are several enterprises including a native plant nursery, wholesale culinary mushrooms, permaculture design consulting, and blacksmith forge.
The primary enterprise is the native plant nursery. The farm was the recipient of the 2022 North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) Farmer-Rancher Award USA (pollinator.org) for their work in pollinator conservation.
At Bas Rouge Farm & Forge their plants are propagated from seed, cuttings, and division. They also purchase certain plugs from a reputable wholesale nursery. Additionally, they are licensed to sell native seeds that are grown and harvested on the farm. Their nursery uses only Coast of Maine products including Seed Starter, Potting Soil and Lobster Compost.
Farm and nursery bio security protocols continue with the highest cleanliness and hygiene in and around the nursery and farm gardens. They thoroughly clean their tools, use only new pots, purpose-built cedar benches (to keep plants off the ground), gravel lined surfaces and constant monitoring of their plants to include taking these out of their pots and inspecting the roots.
Additionally, they check their plants prior to bringing these to market. Other protocols are in place for caretaking of their winter nursery to ensure these issues do not affect their stock next season. Visit their website for plant lists and availability.
Ivonne Vazquez | Orono | 207-221-6671
Crystal Lake Farm & Nursery
The nursery has been in business since 2007, growing wholesale for Fedco and Knox Lincoln Soil and Water Conservation District and direct to a small circle of customers and friends.
Teaching, mostly through local Adult Ed programs, and demonstration, mostly through MOFGA programs and events are important parts of the business both economically and philosophically.
Both of them have been avid students of and eager participants in the natural world around them since childhood. At ten, Sharon was collecting bugs and starting her first garden while Eli at that age was building his first treehouse and transplanting his first trees. Operating both as a mother/son business and doing so on their father/grandfather’s farm provides daily reminders of that early wonder.
They buy-in bare root and sell bare-root and field-dug trees and shrubs, supplementing inventory with transplanted, self-sown seedlings from their woody 80 acres, as well as propagated cuttings, sprouts and seeds of their own plants.
With three-quarters of an acre in diverse and compact cultivation they use only human-powered tools for bed preparation, cultivation and final digging.
Herbaceous perennials are both purchased as plugs and started from seed. They use only organic Pro-Mix and the composted manure of their own Dexter Cattle for potting medium.
They use heavy mulching methods for weed control with their own leaves and grass clippings in beds, often over newspaper, and local wood chips and sawdust often over cardboard in heavy traffic areas and paths.
Invasive species of concern have run the gamut in terms of both species and level of concern. Where there were nuisances in ‘07 like barberry, knotweed, poison ivy, and honeysuckle, ten years later there were real dangers like browntail moths, emerald ash borers, and ticks.
And now, it’s jumping worms! They know the worms are here – but so far not in the nursery and they are pretty confident they can’t get into the elevated potted material. Their defense is careful monitoring, good hygiene with tools, containers and gear, off-ground storage of potted materials and maximizing use of their own growing medium.
Although, or maybe because the worms, ticks, microplastics, etc. are everywhere, they believe it essential not only to try one’s best to be good stewards of whatever piece of ground that you, yourself, are on, but also to share that work with others.
Visit their website with the current plant list for the Sale.
Sharon Turner & Eli Berry | Crystal Lake Farm & Nursery | Washington, ME | 207-845-2140
Blue Aster Native Plants
Tracy Weber started Blue Aster Native Plants in 2019. Prior to that, she was a professional gardener in Maine for 20 years. She became interested in native plants over 10 years ago and was frustrated by how difficult it was to find them in local nurseries, particularly uncultivated species.
After becoming involved with a non-profit called Wild Seed Project she learned how easy it is to grow many native plants from seed and decided to start growing them herself.
Her goal is to provide a wide range of species, both perennials and shrubs, with as much genetic diversity as possible and to grow them in as sustainable a manner as possible. Check her website for current availability for the Sale.
Join us for our 2nd annual event and purchase sustainably-grown native plants from local vendors in the beautiful parklike setting of the library’s harborside waterfront outdoor amphitheatre in the heart of Jewel of the Midcoast.