Native Plant Program


Welcome to the GSWA Plant for Pollinators Program!

In our 4th annual Plant for Pollinators Program, our mission is to inspire the widespread adoption of native plant gardens across our region. These gardens play a crucial role in providing essential habitats for pollinator insects and bird communities, acting as foundational elements for our local ecosystem. Together, we’re turning private yards into what the renowned lecturer and entomologist Doug Tallamy affectionately terms a Homegrown National Park™.

We will once again provide simple guidance through our Native Plant Webinar Series as well as the Resources & FAQs pages. These resources aim to guide you in creating vibrant pollinator gardens that thrive with minimal care. For the 2024 Native Plant Program, we are pleased to offer once again a diverse selection of attractively priced native perennials. These can be conveniently purchased online from April 1st through April 19th, 2024.

Operated by the Great Swamp Watershed Association and its Community Plant Sale Partners, the Native Plant Program is supported by promotional efforts and volunteers from 16 local towns and 8 non-governmental organizations. Come join us in cultivating spaces that not only enhance the beauty of our surroundings but also make substantial contributions to the well-being of our precious pollinators and the entire local ecosystem.

CLICK HERE to join Native Plant Program List to receive ongoing email updates and reminders!


Elevate your garden with vibrant native pollinators effortlessly:

  • 2024 GSWA Plants for Pollinators Offerings
    Before April 1st, use the below preview list to see the 37 species and six kits that will be available. Utilize the printable planner sheet to help organize your plant needs and notes for your garden planning.
  • Get Planting Guidance:
    Utilize our revamped Native Garden Resources designed to assist you in making informed decisions about planning and cultivating your garden.
  • Sign Up for All Four Talks:
    Visit the registration page for the Native Pollinator Plant Webinar Series. This streamlined registration not only guarantees timely reminder emails with the Zoom link for each of the four talks, but also ensures that you receive recording links for all four webinars within 48 hours of each talk’s conclusion. For those interested in specific talks, individual sign-ups are available on the respective event pages available on our Events page.
  • 2024 Online Ordering:
    The Plant Sale opens for online orders from April 1st to April 19th. To ensure you make the best selections, preview the complete Native Plant Catalog beforehand. The shoppable version will be accessible from 1:30 PM on April 1st.
  • Order Pick Up:
    During order checkout, you will choose from one of our 13 pickup locations based on your convenience, based on location, date, and time. The local pickup locations are made available through our Plant Sale Partners by mid-March.
  • If You Have More Questions:
    First explore the Frequently Asked Questions section in our Garden Resources for quick answers. For specific queries about plants or garden designs, email plantsale@greatswamp.org. For technical inquiries, contact nrago@greatswamp.org.

Embark on a journey to enjoy blooming landscapes and the mesmerizing dance of butterflies and other pollinators from spring to fall. Create a spectacle that will enchant your garden for years to come!


Why Native Plant Gardens?

Our yards have the power to provide critical habitat for threatened bird and insect populations and also provide us with beautiful flowers to enjoy. Create your own important part of the region-wide network of yards that support a sustainable ecosystem – a Homegrown National Park™.

Finding a good selection of locally appropriate native plants for your garden can be difficult. We make it easy for you by providing a selection of native plants suited to our local soils and climate (our local ecoregion).

Why is a native plant more appropriate than an exotic or non-native plant? Wildlife may eat the fruit and seeds of exotics or non-native plants but it does not mean that their nutritional needs are fully met. Pollinators and other wildlife co-evolved with native plants and require them for food and habitat across their entire life cycle. Pollinator insects require native plants to lay their eggs, feed their larva, and to provide a continuous sequence of blooms to meet adult insect requirements from nectar and pollen. Most insects evolved to have some degree of specialized host plant requirements. For one extreme example, Monarch butterfly eggs and caterpillars completely depend on milkweed. Healthy insect populations are a foundation of the food web. Birds and other wildlife require large volumes of protein-rich insects in their diets in order to reproduce and also native seeds and berries to get through the fall and winter. A classic study of Chickadee reproduction (Naranjo) found that suburban neighborhoods required 70% or more native plants for the birds to be able to raise their young. Native plants are the ONLY choice to sustain the ecosystem.