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Ripple Effects

Plant Dane Native Plant Program

Native Plantings and Rain Gardens have Ripple Effects on our Waters

Convert some of your lawn into a native garden this spring. Not only are native plants beautiful, but they provide important ecosystem services such as habitat for pollinators and wildlife and improved water quality. Native gardens act as sponges helping rainwater to soak into the ground preventing stormwater runoff from draining into our lakes, rivers and streams.

The Plant Dane Program provides Dane County residents access to native plants at the discounted price of $2.88/plant ($11.50/4-pack), about half the normal retail price. It's open to schools, non-profit organizations (lake and neighborhood associations, youth groups, faith centers, clubs, etc.), municipalities and individual residents in Dane County, Wisconsin.

 

Apply for Free Plants

The Summer 2024 application for free native plants for school and community projects is now available. To apply or learn more, visit the program website. Applications are due by Friday, July 19.

Order Plants

The order period for 2024 has ended. 2025 orders will open in Feb. 2025.

NOTE: Plant orders will be accepted through March 19th (or while supplies last up to 35,000 plants sold).

The order process is simple:

  1. Review the 2024 Plant Dane Native Species List and make note of which plants you'd like to order (especially their Latin name, as this is how they are listed on the order form).
  2. Place your order using the Plant Dane Order System (not currently available). Plants are sold in packs of four (minimum order of 16 plants), and pre-selected plant garden kits come in packs of 16 or 32. 

  3. Participants must pick up plants on Saturday, May 18th during assigned pick up times (see the Pickup Details tab for more details)Please arrange to have a relative, friend, or neighbor pick up plants, if you aren't available.

Pricing:

  • Individual Plant Species (4-Pack) - $11.50 ($2.88/plant)
  • Plant Kit w/ 16 Plants - $42 (~$2.63/plant)
  • Plant Kit w/ 32 Plants - $84 (~$2.63/plant)

Donate Plants

Dane County Land and Water Resources Dept. will start accepting donations to provide native plants for community and school projects through our Free Native Plants for School and Community Projects Program starting Feb. 1st. Consider a donation to purchase plants that support a local community/school native garden project. It’s easy, just click on DONATEselect a project from the pull down menu and the number of plants you wish to donate. Plants donations must be made in set of 4 (4 plants ($11.50), 8 plants ($23), 12 plants ($34.50)….). The cost of plants will simply be added to your order total. Plant donation recipients will select the plants from species list that best suit the needs of their specific project. Deadline to donate is March 19th.

2024 Plant Dane Donation Projects

Project Name Project Description Plants Requested
Aldo Leopold Nature Center-Monona Plants will be used to create a rain garden in an area that was overrun by invasives and also receives runoff. The goal is to slow the flow of water and benefit the local ecosystem as well as add curbside appeal. 100
Anderson Farm County Park Butterfly Waystation- Oregon Girl Scouts will establish a butterfly waystation in Anderson Farm County Park as part of their Bronze project. The project will include installing signage with educational info on butterfly waystations, migration patterns, and native plants food sources for both caterpillars and butterflies. 100
Badger Mill Creek Pedestrian Trail- Verona Volunteers will expand upon an existing native garden along the Badger Mill Creek pedestrian trail, within the City of Verona. The focus will be on planting native pollinators to aide in the City's efforts towards the Mayor's Monarch Pledge. 200
Big Oak Child Care Native Garden- Madison Native plants will be used to fill new garden beds located at the front of Big Oak Child Care, as well as near the playgrounds. The goal of this project is to allow children to learn how to grow and take care of plants. By planting near the playgrounds, children will be able to touch and feel the plants as they grow. 20
Blair Street Gateway Garden- Madison Gateway Garden is located at the intersection of Williamson Street and John Nolen Drive, across from Machinery Row Bikes. This garden is a native garden maintained by volunteers. The goal of this project is to replace plants that were destroyed due to street reconstruction and also drought. 52
Caneel Corner Conservancy- Middleton Caneel Corner was adopted by neighborhood volunteers as part of the adopt-a-space program through the City of Middleton. The corner was transformed from a weedy and neglected corner into an enjoyable space filled with native plants, walking paths, a new pollinator box and Little Library. The goal is to add more native plants to the garden this year.  76
Chavez School Elementary School- Madison Plants will be used to rehabilitate the entrance to Chavez Elementary school with native plants, and add natives to the school garden.  40
Clark Street Community School- Middleton These plants will planted and cared for by students at CSCS in the school garden, which is used as a 'living laboratory' where are students learn the biology of plants and skills associated with growing annual and perennial fruits, veggies, flowers, and beneficial plants.  40
Conservancy View Retention Pond- Middleton The native plants will be planted around the periphery of the Conservancy View retention pond. The goal would be to involve children and students who live near the pond in planting and maintaining the plants.  252
Crestwood Elementary School- Madison To add diversity to the native plant areas on school grounds, including the prairie restoration area along the woods behind the school, the butterfly/pollinator garden in front of the school, and in another native plant area along the front windows. Students will be planting and assisting with the maintenance of the gardens and it will be tied into their curriculum and learning. 120
Culver Springs Restoration- Windsor Native Plants will be planted in a large sloping area just uphill from Culver Springs, where volunteers removed weeds and invasive species last year. The native plants will help prevent invasive species from reestablishing in the cleared out areas.  200
Dane County Humane Society- Madison Dane County Human Society has been working for several years to increase native plants around their property. The current project focuses on planting natives around the parking lot to help provide spaces for native insects, to provide natural food for wildlife rehabilitation patients (native birds), and to help manage water runoff. These gardens can also be used as educational opportunities for day camp students! 100
Edna Taylor Park The Friends of Edna Taylor Conservation Park are helping the City of Madison Parks Department to restore areas of the park that have been overrun with invasive plant species. This year, they would like to plant native plants in an area where brush was removed last year. 100
Elderberry Ridge Pollinator Project- Middleton The Burnt Sienna Pond area is a reconstructed stormwater retention pond on former agricultural lands surrounded by residential development. The project objectives are to create a community meeting space surrounded by native vegetation. The project goals are to make the area more aesthetically pleasing, to create natural habitat that supports wildlife, to produce opportunities for natural history education, to make a pleasant meeting/resting space near the bicycle trail for the residents and other visitors, and to engage the community in the space’s creation and maintenance. The timeline for the initial phase is three years. 200
Elvehjem Elementary School-Madison Plants will be used to create a new native education garden and rain garden at the school. The gardens will be used to help teach students about pollinators and the benefits of native plants. 72
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church- Madison A group of volunteers will help plant natives in the area near the vegetable garden and along the entrance drive, which is currently mostly invasive weeds.  400
Holy Wisdom Monastery A new native garden is planned immediately to the right of the front door of the Holy Wisdom Monastery building. This space, approximately 500 square feet, has never been intentionally designed and is currently filled with a mix of plants that are not consistent with our overall monastery grounds restoration plans.  The new garden will feature prairie plants. 100
Junction Ridge Neighborhood Association- Madison JRNA is continuing a multi-year project of converting a "no-mow" area in the park to a prairie. In the first year, we cleared 15, 5-6' circles and planted native plants. This past season, JRNA focused on weeding and digging paths among all the separate beds. Then, they planted more natives in those paths to bring the whole thing together. This year, the goal is to continue expanding the "mini prairie" to almost 1,000 sq ft.  300
La Follette High School Arboretum- Madison Plants will go towards a planned expansion of the La Follette Arboretum by 2,000 square feet. Students will be involved in planning, planting, and maintaining the space, including the Arboretum Club and AP Environmental Science students.  100
Lake Kegonsa State Park- Stoughton The goal is to create two native plant displays in the area across from and around the office with plant name/species labels on spikes for public education. One garden will be located on the east side of the office, and the second garden will be a new pollinator garden along a newly installed picnic and sitting area. 100
Lindbergh Elementary School- Madison Lindbergh Elementary has been developing three outdoor learning areas: 1) a school vegetable garden, 2) a pollinator garden, and 3) woodland habitat. This year, native plants will be added to the pollinator garden and the remaining plants will be planted adjacent to the woodland habitat.  100
Madison Christian Community Native Prairies- Madison Madison Christian Community has a long history of environmental stewardship. Their native prairie, which was started by church members in the 1970's, has expanded to almost two acres. This year, the goal is to create a native garden in a newly tilled area (approximatly 15ft by 30ft) at the base of a slope that has some rain water drainage from the church parking lot.   40
Meeting House Nursery School- Madison To continue to build the garden beds across Meeting House Nursery's outdoor classrooms and play spaces. These outdoor classrooms are used for educational purposes for over 120 students each year. 20
Monona Library Storyboard- Monona The Monona Bee and Butterfly Brigade seeks to weave a series of native plants in between a planned "storyboard" along the sidewalk abutting the library. Additional educational signs will be placed to inform the public of their efforts to replace lawn with native perennials.  150
Monona United Methodist Church- Monona To install a rain garden/downspout garden to along a long run of roof eavestroughs with several downspouts to promote wildlife and improve water quality.  372
Mount Horeb Healing Garden The Mount Horeb Healing Garden is located at WILD3R in Mount Horeb. Two years ago, they installed a community healing garden in collaboration with the Mount Horeb school district and the community PFLAG organization along with Natural Wisdom Counseling LLC. The garden has many sparse areas that would greatly benefit from additional plants. The initial makeup of the Healing Garden was 1/3 native plants, 1/3 pollinator plants and 1/3 edible for humans plants (strawberries, herbs, rhubarb etc.) and it would be great to increase the native plant representation! 32
Mount Horeb Middle School- Mount Horeb Plants will be used to establish a highly visible native plant garden area at Mount Horeb Middle School. The MS will be a community leader by creating, maintaining, and improving pollinator habitat. This site will be an educational exhibit for students and the public.  120
Mount Horeb Public Library- Mount Horeb  Mount Horeb Public Library is installing an additional emergency exit on the North side of the building in 2024.  Consequently, many of the plants, shrubs, etc., will be removed to accommodate the exit and walkway that will wrap around the building to the front parking lot.  Native plants will be used to replace the landscaping that will be removed for this project. 52
Mount Horeb United Methodist Church- Mount Horeb Plants will be used to fill in mulched around trees and other manicured structures around the church grounds, as well as around two downspouts. The church hopes to become a certified monarch way station through the Monarch Watch Project, and also have these plants as resources for Sunday school classes in the future for programming. 300
Prevailing Winds Lodge- Blue Mounds To expand prairie gardens on their grounds, which is 12 acres of land with trails. The property is accessed by homeschoolers to learn about planting, native species, bee attractants and butterfly migration. 100
Rooted's Troy Kids' Garden- Madison The Troy Kids' Garden is primarily comprised of vegetable gardens tended by Madison-area youth but our site also has a number of garden beds and natural areas surrounding the garden space that are havens for pollinators and are an untapped educational resource. Over the last couple of seasons we have been trying to reclaim these perimeter beds and try to introduce more perennial species, and whenever possible native plant species!  20
Rosemary Garfoot Public Library Children's Garden- Cross Plains The Children's Garden is being restored after several years of overgrowth, sparse coverage, and weed invasion. The plan is to significantly weed and replace dead plants as well as those not thriving with native plants. 36
Starkweather Woods- Madison Invasive buckthorn and honeysuckle shrubs continue to choke out a priority restoration area in the Starkweather Woods, adjacent to Starkweather Creek. Volunteers have cleared several areas that are in need of native plants. 200
Sun Prairie Parks Friends- Sun Prairie To establish four new pollinator gardens at Wetmore Park, Liberty Park, Sunset Park, and Birkinbine Park in Sun Prairie. In the last three years, volunteers have planted ten gardens at various parks around the city. These four new gardens will continue to nurture the pollinator population as well as add beauty to the parks. 120
Sun Prairie’s Westside Community Services Building- Sun Prairie Native plants take over at Sun Prairie’s Westside Community Services Building! The goal of this project is to create a highly accessible demonstration garden that will provide an example how to effectively and aesthetically use native plants for conservation landscaping in an area that is normally filled with monocultures of plants often chosen for their hardiness and low-maintenance characteristics. We hope to show how native plants can be utilized in conventional landscapes that are beautiful, require minimal maintenance, and provide several ecological benefits. 200
Town Park- Oregon This project is associated with an Eagle Scout Community Service project that was completed in the Fall of 2022. The project included building an entrance to the mountain bike trail at Town Park in Oregon, which was cleared of invasive species and planted with native plants. The purpose of this project is to replace plants that perished last year due to drought conditions. The area being restored is approximately 200 sf. 50
Vel Phillips Memorial High School- Madison The Vel Phillips Memorial Green Club is planning on creating a native plant garden to help educate other high schoolers as well as promote plants native to the Wisconsin area! 32
Verona Area High School- Verona To add plants and biodiversity to the area surrounding the school's detention ponds, which has a walking path that serves the community as well as the high school cross county course. In addition, this area was designed so students could access the water for a variety of aquatic studies. The native plants will serve to add beauty and educational value to the area. 300
Waunakee High School-Waunakee Plants will be used to complete a native plant garden started two years ago by the hight school students along Century Ave.  96
Wildwood Park- Fitchburg A group of neighbors has worked to clear buckthorn and honeysuckle shrubs from a hilly area on the west end of Wildwood Park. The slope is mostly vegetated, but the goal of this project is to fill in bare areas to prevent weeds and invasive shrubs from taking over again. 100

Pickup Details

 All plants must be picked up on Saturday, May 18th from the Dane County Parks Building during your assigned pick up time. Assigned pick up times are listed your order receipt. Please arrange to have a relative, friend, or neighbor pick up plants, if you aren't available.

Pick-up Location:

Dane County Parks Building
4212 Robertson Rd.
Madison, WI 53714

Garden Planning

Are you interested in incorporating native plants into your landscaping, but aren't sure where to start? Well, you've come to the right place. First, you'll want to decide what type of native garden you'd like to plant. Then, you'll want to select your plants, and finally, you'll want to order them. Let's get started! 

What type of garden?

There are three primary types of gardens that feature native plants: rain gardens, downspout gardens, and native gardens.

  • Rain gardens are shallow depressions often covered with native plants that collect stormwater runoff from roofs, parking lots, and other hard surfaces and allow it to slowly soak into the ground. If you are interested in signing up for a one-on-one coaching session with a rain garden expert, check out the upcoming event on March 2, 2024, Dig into Rain Gardens- 1:1 Coaching Sessions with the Experts.
  • Downspout gardens are planted near the outlet of the downspout. They have compost mixed into the soil and native plants with deep roots to help roof runoff slowly soak into the ground.
  • Native gardens are planted with species that are naturally occurring in the area. Once established, native plants don’t require watering, fertilizers, or other chemicals, making them a great option for a low maintenance garden. They also provide habitat for wildlife and help stormwater soak into the ground, protecting our waters.