Director’s Note, July 2022

Photo of Karen Oberhauser, UW–Madison Arboretum director

Karen Oberhauser, UW–Madison Arboretum director (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW–Madison)

This year’s Native Plant Sale was a huge success, thanks to the Friends of the Arboretum board, Native Plant Sale coordinator Mary Chandler, the dozens of plant sale volunteers who contributed over 400 hours of their time, Arboretum staff, hundreds of customers, and Metcalfe’s, who provided over 350 cardboard berry trays to hold plants at the tent sale. While net income from the sale exceeded both this year’s budget and prior years’ income amounts, the benefits from the sale are so much more than the funds raised to support the education, land care, and research mission of the Arboretum. Here are some statistics to demonstrate some of these benefits.

Friends of the Arboretum Native Plant Sale, 2022 (Photo: John Chandler)

More than 700 customers came to the tent sale, where they interacted with knowledgeable staff and learned about native Wisconsin plants. The knowledge and awareness they gained is priceless.

18,042 native plants were sold for planting in southern Wisconsin. These 213 woody species and 17,829 forbs, grasses, and sedges will help to re-wild habitat that will support countless native insects, birds, and other species. These plants include:

  • a quarter of an acre of native plant pollinator garden mixes specifically designed to support bees, birds, butterflies and other fauna,
  • 800 no-mow sedges, potentially converting 807 square feet of lawn into sedge lawn with no pesticides, herbicides, or carbon footprint from mowing, and
  • rain garden mixes to cover 1,500 square feet of home gardens, improving groundwater recharge and reducing run-off with generous benefits to the community at large.
2022 Native Plant Sale shoppers with a Journey North pollinator garden (Photo: John Chandler)

If you’ve worried in the past about all of the plastic the trays and individual pots, this year Mary Chandler arranged an Arboretum drop-off site for them. The plastic was then transported to a recycling facility. While much of what we do to support the environment has costs and benefits, Mary’s work to provide a recycling outlet provided even more environmental benefits from this year’s Friends of the Arboretum Native Plant Sale.

—Karen Oberhauser, Arboretum Director