Native Plant Program

Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties are coming together, yard by yard, to add beauty, health, and resilience to our community through the many benefits of native plants.

Through a grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, HHCD is partnering with landowners in the region to convert lawns and other managed landscapes into native plant gardens and meadows. We are hosting a series of workshops on the topic, and landowners can request a professional consultation and receive a starter set of native plants or seed to turn your lawn into a more resilient, carbon-sequestering, pollinator supporting, beautiful space!

We are delighted to partner with several nonprofit organizations and municipal groups to develop Native Plants Demonstration Gardens at the following locations:

  • Hadley Public Library | 50 Middle Street | Hadley, MA (planted June 2024)
  • Holyoke Senior Center | 291 Pine Street | Holyoke, MA (planted June 2024)
  • Gaylord Memorial Library | South Hadley, MA (planted July 2024)
  • Coming Soon: Lilly Library | Florence, MA
Please complete the Interest Form to request a free consultation with one of our native plant experts.

Why Native Plants?

Native plants provide the best habitat and food for pollinators. These plants and animals have formed interdependent relationships over millennia. In addition to providing pollen and nectar, many native plants act as nurseries because they are hosts to the early life stages of pollinators, while many cultivars offered by the nursery industry are sterile – offering no food to our pollinator friends.

Due to the use of pesticides, habitat reduction by over-development and replacement of native plants with industry cultivars, and atmospheric pollution, pollinator numbers have declined by 75-80% in many areas! This decline at the foundation of our food web puts all life on the planet in peril — including humans. The GOOD NEWS, is that by adding native plants back into the landscape, we can begin to reverse the situation.
But native plants do even more than shelter and feed pollinators. They also help make the very soil under your feet more resilient! Native plant roots penetrate the soil deeply, sequester carbon, create channels in soil for air, water, and biology to infiltrate, and result in a robust ecosystems that supports beneficial plants, insects, and microbes. The deep root network also helps the soil to be more resilient to severe weather events, as it literally holds the soil together. The soil acts like a sponge, retaining much more water during flood events.

By converting lawn to native plants, you will:

  • Invite more birds, bees, butterflies, dragonflies, and other beneficial insects to your yard
  • Support the bird population by creating more butterfly habitat (more butterflies = more caterpillars = more baby bird food and improved bird survival)
  • Improve the health of your soil
  • Make the land more resilient to weather events
  • Conserve one of our most precious resources – water!
  • Get to know the beauty of native plants and their special relationships with native pollinators
“There are millions of people who put out bird feed all winter long and during the summer they starve the birds by the way they landscape because they don’t see the connection” ~ Dr. Doug Tallamy