Nature Center hosts Native Plant & Garden Seminar

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Imagine butterflies flitting from flower to flower come springtime and hummingbirds and goldfinches taking shelter in your backyard habitat. This scene isn’t likely to be imaginary for those who attend the ninth annual Native Plant & Garden Seminar at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center on March 8, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The seminar is a cooperative event hosted by the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and the Cape Girardeau County Master Gardeners.

According to the Nature Center Manager, Sara Turner, the seminar will feature practical techniques of how homeowners can create multi-tasking native landscapes.

Horticulturist Cindy Gilberg is this year’s keynote speaker for the seminar. Gilberg will discuss the importance of planting native wildflowers, grasses, trees and shrubs in backyards. Not only does this add variety and color to a landscape, it also attracts wildlife and reduces the cost of energy-consuming lawns, according to MDC.

Landscaping with native plant species provides urban habitat for a diversity of wildlife and offers alternatives to the traditional water- and chemical-dependent manicured lawns, according to Turner.

“This seminar encourages developing habitat for butterflies and birds and mimicking nature in our own backyards,” said Turner.

Turner said the seminar is an example of how MDC helps make Missouri a great place to live by helping people discover nature. She said there are many reasons to embrace the use of Missouri’s native plants including that they’re adapted to the Missouri climate and local soils and little or no irrigation is needed with native plants.

“Native plants also create beauty and interest in a landscape with a progression of flowers and fruits that provide food and cover for our wildlife,” Turner said. “Ensuring we’re surrounded by the beauty of trees, flowers, birds and other wildlife is a very important part of ensuring the quality of life in our community.”

Turner added that the Native Plant & Garden Seminar continues to be popular because the individuals within the local community care about conserving wildlife and native plants.

“It’s very encouraging to watch folks leave the seminar and put what they’ve learned into practice on their own property,” Turner said.

This free event is open to everyone ages 18 and up. Registration is required by February 28. For more information on this and other events at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center, call 573-290-5218 or go online to