Native Seed Splash - Prospect Park Alliance
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Native Seed Splash

This activity comes to us from the educators at Prospect Park's Lefferts Historic House. Check out our Lefferts at Home page for more nature fun.

Prospect Park Alliance maintains the natural areas of Prospect Park so that everyone—people, birds, even bugs—can enjoy the benefits of visiting Brooklyn’s Backyard. Our ecosystem is under threat—from climate change, the increasing scarcity of natural areas, and human impact, and our most vulnerable plant and animal species are suffering.

To combat these effects, Prospect Park Alliance has increased the use of native plants around the park to ensure the health of our environment now, and for generations to come. Native plants are these species that naturally grow in an area without any human intervention. In our region, these are the plants that existed in our region before the arrival of humans, thousands of years ago. 

Native plants provide many benefits to the garden and the gardener! Native plants are:

  • Resilient – native plants are adapted to local pests and often don’t require pesticides.
  • Sustainable – native plants can often survive with average local rainfall and require little to no fertilizer.
  • Providers – native plants provide important food and other resources for local animals, especially migratory birds and pollinator insects.
  • Inspiring – native plants are beautiful. They’ve evolved alongside native wildlife for thousands of years and can connect us to our local environment in a unique way.

Non-native plants, which are sometimes brought by humans from other parts of the world, can cause problems for our native plant species. These plants might become invasive—directly harm or out-compete our native plants for resources, or aggressive—grow much faster and in unintended areas, pushing out the native species. Invasive or aggressive plants can quickly disrupt an ecosystem and must be kept in check by careful removal or by cultivating natives. 

Native plants are essential for the health of our ecosystem, and we need your help to plant them! Below are instructions  on how you can make seed balls and participate in Seed Splash, a native plant gardening activity that’s fun for the whole family.

Find a glossary of bolded words after the instructions for additional information.

Activity: Make Native Seed Balls!

Supplies:

  • Red Clay Powder (available online as well as some hardware and garden stores)
  • Soil or Compost
  • Native Plant Seeds (see list of native plants below)
  • A Mixing Bowl
  • Gardening Gloves
  • Water

A Selection of Flowers Native to the Northeastern United States:

  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)
  • Butterfly Weed
  • New York and New England Aster
  • Goldenrod
  • Wild Bergamot/Bee Balm
  • Garden Phlox
  • Partridge Pea
  • Labrador Violet
  • Eastern Columbine
  • Wild Geranium
  • Milkweed

Step 1: 
Combine the following in your mixing bowl:
4 Tablespoons of Clay Powder
6 Tablespoons of Soil or Compost
2 Tablespoons of Native Plant Seeds
2 Tablespoons of Water

NativeSeedSplash1.jpg

Step 2:
If you’ve got gloves, now is when you’ll want to use them! Mix the ingredients together until they are well combined. 

Step 3:
Take handfuls of the mixture, and roll into 4-6, even-sized balls. Place them on a dish to dry overnight. 

NativeSeedSplash2.jpg

Step 4: 
Throw your dried Native Plant Seeds Balls in a sunny location where you want flowers to grow. Consider tree pits, empty lots or your own yard. Be sure to ask permission if you’d like to plant on someone else’s property!

Glossary:

Native plant: A plant that naturally  grows in a particular area without human introduction or intervention.

Invasive plant: A non-native plant that displaces or outcompetes native or other more desirable plants.

Aggressive plant: Plants that grow quickly and displaces or outcompetes other plants. These can be native or non-native.

Resilient: The ability to adapt to changes, resist damage and recover quickly.

Sustainable: Avoids depleting natural resources and maintains ecological balance.

Inspiring: Anything that makes you feel excited, interested or enthusiastic.