The Cambridge Plant & Garden Club will host events in April and May to support natives

April 13th, at Cambridge’s Compost Giveaway, CP&GC will be there with native seeds to share with interested gardeners. In May, partnering with Cambridge Rindge & Latin High School students, the club will distribute almost 1,900 preordered one-year old native plants. In both April and May, CP&GC will work with the high schoolers to plant an all-native garden beside the Main Branch of the Cambridge Public Library.

photo of a yellow and black butterfly on some purple flowers

This focus is inspired by the Garden Club of America’s Native Plant Initiative. Congress has officially proclaimed April “Native Plant Month” nationally, and Governor Maura Healy and proclaimed the same in Massachusetts. To read the proclamation and learn more, visit the GCA website HERE.

Insect and bird populations are falling in the US mostly due to pesticides, development, and a lack of native plants! Birds and insects play a critical role in maintaining a stable ecosystem: they provide food to other species, and pollinate our crops. These living species require native plants to survive. Ornamental flowers are beautiful, but most of them don’t support the lifecycle of our native bees and butterflies!

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation and the City of Cambridge both now plant mostly native plants. It’s the future.

The CP&GC has been working with Mystic Charles Pollinator Pathway, and other groups and gardeners that promote native plants, to continue offering events where the public and gardeners can learn more about natives. Photo: Amy Meltzer

Here are the featured programs:

Saturday, April 13, 2024: City’s Compost Giveaway

On Saturday, April 22, 9 – 1:00, at the City’s Compost Giveaway, CP&GC members will give away free packets of native wildflower seeds. The event is at the main branch of the Cambridge Public Library at Joan Lorentz Park, 449 Broadway, Cambridge. The rain date is April 14 at same time and location.

For further information about how to design a native plant garden, re-wild your lawn, and information about where to purchase native plants, many local organizations to can assist. These include Grow Native Massachusetts, Wild Ones, and the Massachusetts Department of Ag Resources.  Link to a helpful map of native plant nurseries and retailers in Massachusetts.

In addition,  The Native Plant Trust’s “Garden in the Woods” in Framingham is planted exclusively with native species. It reopens for tours and plant purchases on Sunday, April 14 for 2024 season. Photo: Amy Meltzer

Saturday, May 13, 2023: CP&GC/CRLS Sustainability Club Native Plant Distribution

On Saturday, May 13, CP&GC members, in collaboration with CRLS students in the Sustainability Development Club, will distribute over two thousand pre-purchased native one-year old plants. These include four species of plants for the sun—Butterfly milkweed, Orange coneflower, Purple coneflower and Foxglove beardtongue. Four for shady areas will include: Eastern Columbine, Downy skullcap, Lady fern and Maiden hair fern.

CP&GC’s Conservation Committee, illustrated the growing popularity of the trend toward native plant materials. In 2022, CP&GC sold 1,100 native plants; in 2023, 1,400; and this year almost 1,900. Many mainstream nurseries have even increased their stock of native plants. It is important to purchase native plants from growers and retailers that do not use neonicotinoids, a harmful pesticide that contributes to the decline of insect populations. We hope these plants will inspire you to add natives to your garden. For more about planting natives, see Resources for Native Plant Gardening [PDF]. For more information, contact Cathie Zusy at

April and May Native Garden Planting: CP&GC with CRLS Students will plant at CPL Main Branch

As the CRLS Sustainable Development Club (SDC) enters their third year with the Native Plant Project, the CRLC club will work with CP&GC members to create a native garden at the high school. The Sustainability Development Club “attempts to address key world issues such as poverty, hunger, equality, education, clean water, clean energy, economic growth, and environmental issues. It does this in ways that do not deplete resources or degrade the environment and which are sustainable over time.”