Ecological Landscapers Preserve the Natural Beauty and Balance of Local Landscapes
by Rochelle Riservato
by Rochelle Riservato
In 1999, Catskill Native Nursery owners—Francis Groeter and Diane Greenberg—had a vision to specialize in native plants on a site that had been a market garden and homestead since the early 18th century. They wanted to offer the surrounding communities natural choices for the area’s woodlands, meadows, floral orders, and aquatic gardens with ornamentals that are easy to maintain and also provide food and habitat for birds, butterflies, bees and other wildlife.
“Native plants are easy to maintain and, because many are becoming scarce, you can help to restore biodiversity by adding native plants to your landscape,” said Greenberg. Providing their nursery-propagated North American perennials, fruits, shrubs and trees is the couple’s way of giving back to the land that they and their community residents love so dearly.
Said Groeter, “We think of our business as a continuation of a tradition which valued ecological knowledge, hard work, organic methods and a respect for nature. Our customers often mention how they feel transported back to a simpler agricultural time when they visit.”
The nursery foregoes traditional greenhouses and prefers shade houses and cold frames designed to use minimum fossil fuels, some wind and solar, and lots of muscle. This protects and strengthens young plants until ready for their permanent home in the community’s residential private gardens.
“We strive to grow as many species as we can from seeds collected from local populations. This ensures that plants are well-adapted to our region and will thrive in your garden,” said Groeter, whose extensive background started as a child from Lomontville with a passion for nature.
In 2001, Greenberg started to grow herbs and a variety of garden favorites, which allowed the couple to enhance their stock of native plants and take advantage of Greenberg’s extensive training and talent for creating extremely unique gardens. That’s when Green Witch Herbs & Garden Design was introduced to the nursery’s repertoire.
“When people saw my gardens they’d ask if we did garden design and from these requests our landscaping services evolved,” she said.
Defining themselves as “ecological landscapers,” their passion is focused on the relationships between plants and animals in natural communities. Their goal is to enhance those interactions to create a stronger, healthier environment that maintains and preserves the natural beauty and balance of local landscapes.
Catskill Native Nursery is located at 607 Samsonville Rd, Kerhonkson; 845-626-2758; for more information go online to catskillnativenursery.com