Audubon Center for Native Plants
At Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve
"...I have great faith in the seed.
Convince me that you have a seed there,
and I am prepared to expect wonders."
--Henry David Thoreau
Plants are available for sale throughout the season, anytime
the Audubon Nature Store is open. Experts
are generally available to provide assistance on Tuesdays and
Thursdays throughout the season as well. We also have Spring and
Fall special sales where plant prices are discounted. Membership
discounts may be applied for plant purchases on any other
Attention Landscapers, Restorers and Resellers: If you are interested in a large order of specific species, we can arrange to grow them for you. Please Contact us well in advance.
The next Native Plant Discount Day will take place Sat Sept. 18, 2010, 9 am to 2 pm. Download a list of available plants at the September 2010 sale. This list is a guideline only; actual availability and quantities may vary.
Do you have a question about using native plants in your garden? Ask our Experts!
List of Plants Native to Allegheny County (173K PDF)
See us featured in Doug Oster's video series "Digging with Doug" online at Post-Gazette.com.
See our article in the Fox Chapel Newsletter? Find out more about invasive plants.
Audubon Center for Native Plants (ACNP) was dedicated in May 2000, thanks to a grant from Dominion Peoples, a Dominion company. We have expanded our native plant nursery with a new greenhouse and additional education, retail and growing spaces. The ACNP allows us to increase the promotion, protection, and propagation of native plants, and to integrate native plant education into our current programming at ASWP. The ACNP is located at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve, at the northern end of the main parking lot.
The new building uses environmentally sustainable building materials and exemplifies energy efficiency. The building design features the use of passive solar energy and lighting, locally-grown straw bale insulation, rainwater collection for plant irrigation and a variety of recycled and reused materials. Work is continuing with plans for increased propagation areas and demonstration gardens.
The ACNP grounds are open year-round. The ACNP building itself is open for tours by appointment or during periodic native plant workshops and sales. Check the ASWP Events calendar, call 412-963-6100, or email for more information. The best time to see the ACNP in action is Tuesdays in season when the volunteers meet to work. They will happily answer any questions you have. Stop by for a look or to help out!
The ACNP of Audubon at Beechwood seeks to:
- Nursery-propagate an array of native plants grown from local seeds collected under Western Pennsylvania Conservancy guidelines.
- Cooperate with local environmental organizations to serve as a clearinghouse for information on the wise use and preservation of these plants.
- Work with schools and other community groups restoring public lands and school grounds.
- Educate the general public about landscaping with native plants through adult classes.
Why Garden With Native Plants?
Home gardeners can serve as important links to the increasingly fragmented wild lands that surround us. The compelling beauty of western Pennsylvania's diverse assortment of native plants can educate us as well as enrich our lives and landscapes. Gardening with native plants is one way to do your part in preserving our local environment. When purchasing native plants, always insist on "nursery propagated plants." This ensures that the plants were grown from seed, rather than collected from wild populations.
- Provide years of beauty
- Properly chosen, can flourish on any site
- Attract and nourish native wildlife
- Reduce the need for insecticides and chemical products
- Add grace and informal charm
How Do I Know What Plants to Use?
Our volunteers and staff are always willing to help you make native plant selections. Stop by the ACNP to browse our selection. You may purchase plants any time the Audubon Nature Store is open, but ACNP volunteers are usually working at the center on Tuesdays in season if you have specific questions. You may also contact us with your inquiries.
If you are in the neighborhood, visit the ACNP and discover:
- Natives for difficult sites and conditions
- Plants for naturalizing and restoration
- Intriguing additions for your borders
- Ways to bring nature to your landscape
Volunteer at the ACNP in the following ways:
- Landscape designing
- Education programs
- Plant propagation
- Seed collection
Books on Native Plants
We recommend the following books on native plants. Some speak specifically to use in landscaping; others to general identification. The books listed here are available at the Audubon Nature Store, either in stock or we can order them for you. Many titles are available in the ACNP reference library in the ACNP building.
- Mountains of the Heart: A Natural History of the Appalachians by Scott Weidensaul
- The Native Plant Primer by Carole Ottesen
- Landscaping with Native Trees: The Northeast, Midwest, Midsouth, and Southeast edition by Guy Sternburg and Jim Wilson
- The Plants of Pennsylvania, an Illustrated Manual, by Ann Fowler Rhoads & Timothy A. Block. The definitive botanical guide to PA species, and the most accurate identification of native and non-native species
- Wildflowers of Pennsylvania, by Mary Joy Haywood and Phyllis Testal Monk
- Newcomb's Wildflower Guide by Lawrence Newcomb. A thorough field guide with an easy to use key system for identification
Native Plant Links
The Audubon Center for Native Plants staff and volunteers recommend these sites as places to start for those who are interested in learning more about native plants and wildflowers.