Resource: Seeds

A resource page about seeds, from storage and dormancy to germination.

sprouting seed by F.E.R.N.

What Is Gardening?

Gardening takes many shapes, and includes many styles of caring for plants. There is no right or wrong way to garden.

You do not need a lot of space to garden.
You can do it in your backyard or on a window sill – indoors or out.

To F.E.R.N., it is the art and science of caring for plants in a way that relaxes the soul and connects you to nature.

Public Lands FERN Seed Swap 2 by F.E.R.N.

Seeds are the Best Way to Enjoy the Art of Gardening

Seeds exist as a foundational aspect of our ecosystem.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener, a researcher, or an interested individual, seeds provide an amazing way to connect with nature.

Subscribe to F.E.R.N.’s email list at the bottom of this page to be the first to receive updates new resources and upcoming events that we host across New England.

Photo: F.E.R.N. at Seed Swap event held by Public Lands in Framingham.

Related Resources

Here are some of our recommended resources that will help you engage with your garden and get in touch with local conservation organizations.

Whether you’re looking to get involved and support local conservation, or just need to find which plants work best for your ecoregion and soil type, these are great resources to get you started.


  • New England Wetland Plants – A native plant nursery with grown plants and seed mixes for both wetland and upland environments.
  • Massachusetts Land Trusts – A list of all MA land trusts available as a list and map view.
  • Native Plant Finder – discover native plants that will thrive in your specific garden, selecting for plant type and flower color.
  • Gobotany– a database of native plants throughout New England, both common and rare.
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The Native Seed Bookshelf

Here’s the books we recommend for your native gardening and seed-related endeavors.


  • Native Trees, Shrubs, & Vines: A Guide to Using, Growing, and Propagating North American Woody Plants by William Cullina
  • Growing and Propagating Wildflowers of the United States and Canada by William Cullina
  • Native Plants of the Northeast: A Guide for Gardening and Conservation by Donald J. Leopold
  • Pollinators of Native Plants by Healther N. Holm

Helpful Seed-Related Links

There are so many great resources out there for native seeds in New England. Here are a few that you may find useful:


  • Wild Seed Project – a nonprofit dedicated to spreading information about native seeds and native plant propagation.
  • Eco59 – A farmer-led seed collective providing ecotypic seed for the northeastern region (known as eco-region 59)

Seed Swap Donor:

New England Wetland Plants

This native plant nursery very generously donated 10 lbs of seed for F.E.R.N. to distribute at the Seed Swap event at the Public Lands store in Framingham on Jan. 27th, 2024.

Included in their donation were the following seed mixes:

  • 4 lbs Erosion Control / Restoration Mix for Detenttion Basins and Moist Sites
  • 3 lbs Showy Wildflower Mix
  • 2 lb Juncus effusus
  • 1 lb Sporobolus heterolepis

Introduction to Gardening with Native Seeds

Gardening takes many shapes, and includes many styles of caring for plants. There is no right or wrong way to garden.

Why Native Seeds?

Not only is it an exciting puzzle to find the best way to get the seeds to sprout, but with native plants, it’s a great way to explore a native ecosystem that has had millions of years to evolve together. Not only are you connecting with nature when you garden, but with native seeds, you are also making a connection with the history of the landscape.

Native seeds are the offspring of the plants that have thrived in local region for millions of years before today. As a result, they have formed intricate relationships with the local wildlife, soils, and weather patterns. These plants are the backbone of regional ecosystems, providing vital resources for native birds, insects, and other wildlife.

What does this mean for you?

When you plant native seeds in your New England garden, you’ll have healthy plants that are naturally adapted to the local climate and soil. They’ll require less water, are less susceptible to local pests, and it eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Not only that, but it makes your garden more sustainable by providing shelter, food, and nesting material for local fauna. Depending on what you plant and where, it can even provide food for your own household, as New England has a bountiful range of edible native plants.

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Goldenseal by Destynnie Berard by F.E.R.N.

Who Are We?

F.E.R.N. is short for Flora, Fauna, & Fungi Ecological Resource Network.

Our mission is to support conservation by promoting synergy between individuals, communities, and organizations. Our work addresses the need for greater connection and communication in conservation.

We do that by promoting information equity which connects individuals with the social and physical resources to facilitate communication and knowledge.

We also connect ecological knowledge-bearers across different specialties so they can collaborate on mutual goals.

These aspects often come together to engage people with the natural world as we bring culture and nature together into a range of events and eco-experiences.