scruff1124 Mars Hill, NC (1 review) April 11, 2013
I have worked for Wildflower Nursery in the past and I can honestly tell you from experience when you dig wildflowers you don't actually rape the land or destroy it. Contrary to what people think if you actually know what you're doing plants will come back every year thicker and more beautiful than to start with. I learn a valuable lesson on how to actually produce more plants in the wild. If for example, you dig lets say 25 Trillium, you wait until the plant drops it seed which, has approximately 75 to 100 seed and at least half will sprout and grow the very next year. I have been spent a lot of time in the woods and I have dug ginseng from the same mountains for the last 20+ years at least, 3 pound each year, so you be the judge if I know or not. If I was needing to order wild plants I would order from them.
This is not a nursery. Nurseries grow plants. This group, by its own admission on their web-site, digs plants from the wild. There's no skill, nor respect for the plants involved in this disgusting practice. Digging plants from wild populations on any scale is morally questionable, but on a commercial scale it is absolutely wrong, and in many cases illegal. Please don't support any native plant vendor that does not offer only nursery propagated plants.
GranolaGal Asheville, NC (1 review) February 11, 2006
I have not dealt with this company personally, however; I am opting not to purchase from this company because of upsetting information I have read on their website. The first bit of information that caught my eye was in the "Wecome" on the home page:
"We are a licensed company specializing in native and hard to find wild native flowering plants & trees. Since 1980 we have gathered these plants from the mountainous regions of Western North Carolina. Along with the most beautiful scenery in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, it has an endless bounty of Wild Native Flowering Plants.We travel deep into the mountains and capture these plants in their natural habitat. We accept orders via, Phone, Fax and an email request form found on the order page."
What bothers me are the statements made about "gather[ing]" plants and "captur[ing] these plants in their natural habitat." The Appalachian mountains are a very sensitive ecosystem where each species depends upon the others for survival. Nothing, including plants, should ever be harvested from the wild.
I decided to look at the plant list to see what was actually being snatched for the wild. I was shocked at what I found. I will go through a few examples:
Cypripedium acaule (Pink Lady's Slipper): Pink Lady's Slippers are becoming increasing rare in their natural environment because of over-harvesting. These plants have a symbiotic relationship with certain species of pine trees, because of this they require a very specific habitat to thrive. This relationship is very hard to recreate. Because of their specific requirements, they reproduce poorly and do not grow well in wildflower gardens. Every one of these orchids that is taken from the natural landscape contributes to their disappearance in that landscape.
Trillium spp. Development and increasing deer populations have cause trillium numbers to fall. Trillium are very slow growing plants; it can take seven years for a trillium to reach flowering age. They too, require very specific requirements that are hard to recreate in a garden setting.
Tsuga canadensis (Canadian Hemlock) Hemlocks in this area are being attacked by the whooly adelgid. Many of the old trees are dying because of this pest and many of the young trees are becoming infested. When these trees are harvested and shipped around the country it has the potential to spread the adelgid to new areas, affecting new populations of hemlock trees.
No one should ever harvest anything from the wild. It is horrible practice that only contributes to ecological breakdown.