Established in mid-1990s, the Forest Preserve District’s native plant nursery at Blackwell Forest Preserve grows nearly 90 different kinds of flowers and grasses. Seed collected from these plants are used in prairie and woodland restoration areas. All the plants are grown from seed collected in remnant areas throughout the county. Asters, coneflowers, milkweeds and sedges are just a few of the plants grown here. New plant species are often added, so visitors and volunteers can see a new nursery every year.
The nursery’s purpose is to produce seed that is closest genetically to what would be naturally growing in DuPage County. Seed is never sold but is sometimes traded with other conservation agencies.
When the plants go dormant, nursery staff perform a prescribed burn to help control weeds and return nutrients to the soil.
In 2017 a hoophouse (think a greenhouse with plastic sides) was erected at the nursery to give native wildflowers, grasses and shrubs a head start on the growing season.
To learn how you can help local habitats by donating your time at the nursery, visit our Volunteer page. A list of nursery workdays can be found by selecting "Volunteering" on our Calendar of Events.