As the time for purchasing holiday gifts is getting short, consider making a donation to an environmental group or purchasing a membership for your gardening friends.
Let’s start locally. The Thielke Arboretum here in Glen Rock is very dear to me. It contains a beautiful native wetland forest that a group of dedicated volunteers work hard to preserve. A new individual or family membership costs only $25 or $50. Or perhaps you have a local group that’s dear to you. If you’re not familiar with the many local environmental groups, check the Nature Program website for links to many groups in Bergen County. Or purchase a gift membership in the Native Plant Society of New Jersey, a group with many interesting educational programs and great resources for gardeners.
New York City is home to two world-class botanical gardens, and both have wonderful native plant gardens created in the past two years. The New York Botanical Garden, located in the Bronx, is larger and quite easy to get to from New Jersey. It contains the only remaining virgin forest in New York City as well as extensive greenhouses and plant collections from around the world. The Brooklyn Botanical Garden has a new educational building with a fascinating green roof as well as a small but diverse native plant garden. Both run excellent classes for gardeners at all skill levels.
National organizations you might consider include (but certainly are not limited to) are the Audubon Society (which has a very active Bergen County chapter) and the Lady Bird Johnson Research Center, an excellent resource for gardeners interested in native plants.
And finally, don’t forget that Prairie Nursery, an excellent native-plant nursery located in the midwest, is offering 10 percent off on gift certificates through December 24!