Over the Fence Urban Farm

Cooperatively farming small patches of Earth in Columbus, OH

Farmer Field Trip: Wild Hare Prairie Native Nursery

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When you love to grow things and see a new sign pop up in your neighborhood like this, you stop and take notice.

Christy Harris started Wild Hare Prairie Native Nursery as a pandemic project at her home on E Beaumont Road in Beechwold (aka northern Clintonville). I didn’t get a chance to stop by last season but took advantage of a free hour Friday afternoon to hop on my bike and make visit. Not only was it Earth Day, but I was just a few days out from hearing an inspirational talk about re-wilding private lands by Doug Tallamy through Sustainable Upper Arlington and the UA Libraries. (Thanks as always for the tip, Bernadett!) In addition to all that, it’s peak spring ephemeral season here in Central Ohio so you could say I have native plants on my mind…

I hopped off my bike and starting checking out the dozen or so varieties of plants Christy had on display in the driveway. They looked healthy, and while some seemed familiar, there were plenty of new things too and Christy was ready to tell me ALL about them! Latin names, growing habits, and more. I was impressed.

I followed Christy through the privacy fence across the driveway into the back yard. I was speechless; seedlings as far as the eye could see. Countless cultivars, literally as I asked Christy if she was keeping track and the answer was something like “not yet.” Even more remarkable, Christy is learning everything by doing. She has no formal education in horitculture and is so humble about her knowledge. She told me, “It all started with milkweed for the monarchs… Now I just try to grow as many plants as I can.”

The backyard nursery was like no place I have ever been before, and I’m no stranger to garden tours. In addition to thousands of seedlings (including some that she’s been nursing for three years – Hello, Compass Plant!) there were established beds in sun, shade, part shade and even a wetland habitat with blooming marsh marigold. I can’t wait to visit again later in the season. As I told Christy, I intend to spend a lot of money at her house this year as I work on diversifying what’s growing at our place.

Christy is a local plant shero and neighborhood treasure. Visit her throughout the season – her inventory will change as things mature – and tell her I sent you!

Wild Hare Prairie Native Nursery is open from “sign up to sign down.” You can also find Christy at farmer’s markets all over Central Ohio this season, including Bexley, Franklin Park, and Worthington where she’ll be May 7th, as well as Facebook and Instagram.

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