Grow Native! Keep Missouri Looking Like Missouri

Here's an example of a native wildflower planting at Bell Fontaine Park in St. Louis County (Photo by Louis Clayton).
Here’s an example of a native wildflower planting at Bell Fontaine Park in St. Louis County. (Photo by Louis Clayton)

First Lady Ladybird Johnson once said, “I want Texas to look like Texas, and Vermont to look like Vermont.”

The first lady, known for her love of flowers and who has a wildflower research center in Texas named for her, would be proud, I think, of Missouri’s Grow Native! program, which strives to ensure Missouri looks like Missouri.

Missouri is home to more than 2,000 native plant species — found in forests, prairies, wetlands, glades, and increasingly, in home, park, school, and corporate landscaping. The Grow Native! native plant education and marketing program works to increase the supply and demand of nursery-grown Missouri native plants and seeds that are suitable for landscaping, stormwater control, forage, and other applications.

You can learn how to landscape with natives at an upcoming Grow Native! Landscape Design with Missouri in Mind workshop held Feb. 22-23 at George Washington Carver National Monument in Diamond. While at the workshop, you can tour the monument and learn about the work of one of Missouri’s greatest minds — Dr. George Washington Carver, the famous botanist, inventor, and teacher.

Those traveling for the workshop will find many lodging choices in Joplin, Neosho, Carthage and other communities near the monument.

Here’s a quick summary of the workshop:

• When: Friday, Feb. 22 (for professionals) and again on Saturday, Feb. 23 (for homeowners and other landscaping enthusiasts) 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Where: George Washington Carver National Monument, 5646 Carver Road, Diamond, Mo.
Cost: $35 for members of the Missouri Prairie Foundation/Grow Native!; $40 for nonmembers. Includes lunch and a copy of Native Landscaping for Wildlife and People by Dave Tylka. Free parking.
What: On both days, the workshop will provide in-depth information on many aspects of native landscaping–from design to water management, local native plant communities, native trees, pollinators, and more. Don’t miss learning from expert presenters Matt Bunch (Powell Gardens), Mike Arduser, Jon Skinner, Ronda Headland, and Mike Leahy (Mo. Dept. of Conservation); and DeDe Vest (Natural Resources Conservation Service).

The registration deadline is Feb. 19. Visit for registration forms. Questions? Email or call 888-843-6739.

The Grow Native! program is administered by the Missouri Prairie Foundation, a nonprofit prairie conservation organization that protects prairie and other native grassland communities through land acquisition, management, education, and research, and promotes the use of native plants.

Written by Carol Davit, executive director of the Missouri Prairie Foundation.

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