Woodstock Gardens piloting state program to reintroduce more native plants

Published: May. 26, 2023 at 12:01 AM EDT
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WOODSTOCK, Va. (WHSV) - In Shenandoah County, Woodstock Gardens is one of three plant nurseries in the state participating in the pilot phase of the Virginia Department of Forestry’s Throwing Shade Program. The goal is to encourage customers to purchase native plants.

“Initially the pilot program was just going to be Woodstock Gardens but then we can began discussing if we could introduce a few other garden centers in Virginia to show that this could work not just here in the Shenandoah Valley but also in other parts of the state so we chose one in Northern Virginia, and one in Virginia Beach,” said John Fogle, Retail Manager at Woodstock Gardens.

Through the pilot program anytime a customer purchases a native shrub or tree with a retail value of $50 or more they qualify for a $25 rebate. The nursery said that there are a number of benefits to reintroducing native plants in the valley.

“They are already kind of adapted to our local climate so they’re resilient to different types of weather problems that come through. They also are excellent for a lot of our pollinators, butterflies, all types of wildlife that rely on a lot of the fruits and nuts,” said Fogle.

Fogle said that there are a number of reasons for people to chose native plants over introduced species that have the potential to be invasive or cause other problems down the road.

“One of the things folks are talking about is pollinators. With the decrease of pollinators also not having enough pollen for them to source. So reintroducing these shrubs and trees back into our local environment, providing not only pollen for them, they provide host homes for many different insect species and food sources for so many different types of wildlife,” he said.

So far Fogle said that the program has been very popular with customers at Woodstock Gardens.

“We started in mid April and the program goes through the end of June. Since mid April when we began the program we’ve already sold over 1,000 native shrubs and trees that have been replanted back into our local community. So we’ve been really thankful with how the community has responded,” he said.

Once the pilot program concludes next month the hope is that the program will be launched in plant nurseries across the state.