the Growing Our Own Project: August Update

The Growing Our Own Project exhibit is up and we are growing! The grow lights are on and the heat mat is laid down. And because McConnell Springs has a real big plant geek working there (me!) the exhibit has some seeds and plants started already. So in our display trays we've already got Ironweed (Veronia sp.), Grey-headed Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata), Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), Button Bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) and Illinois Bundle Flower (Desmanthus illinoensis).

It seemed a bit of a risky move, but we had gone ahead and cold-stratified the Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis) for 24 days and set the seeds out under the lights. The seeds will germinate (hopefully!) in 3-4 weeks. So we shall see how successful we are if they start popping up soon. Failure is certainly a lesson one learns when working with plants, especially native plants from seed!

Speaking of seeds, as we move into Fall, the exhibit will pivot from a focus on growing pants, to the steps you need to take before you ever plant: collecting seeds! In future blog and Instagram posts (as well as a brochure, we are a publishing organization after all!) we will have content on teaching you how to choose, collect and store native seeds.

Come see this evolving exhibit at McConnell Springs Park. Open Monday-Saturday from 9am-5pm and on Sundays from 1-5pm.


cold-stratified - mimicking conditions seeds would find in the wild, and therefore triggering the germination process, cold stratification is a period of cold and moist exposure seeds are subjected to. If planted before this process, seeds won't break dormancy.

dormancy - a self-protective measure the ensures seeds sprout at the right time. Certain biological triggers, such as freeze or fire, cause seeds to "break"dormancy and triggers germination during ideal conditions. This prevent seeds from germinating during winter or in very shady conditions.

germination - the growth of a plant from seed