Mark posts with this category that are designated as news.

Michael Dirr speaking in Newport on April 25

Michael Dirr, highly acknowledged expert on woody plants, will be delivering the keynote lecture, In Praise of Noble Trees, for Newport Arboretum Week.  In addition to his widely known reference texts, Manual of Woody Landscapes Plants: Their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture and Propagation and Uses, Dirr’s Hardy Trees and Shrubs – An Illustrated Encyclopedia, Dirr’s Trees and Shrubs for Warm Climates: An Illustrated EncyclopediaDirr is credited with over 300 scientific and popular publications.  The lecture will begin at 6 PM at the Jane Pickens Theatre in Newport Rhode Island.  It will be followed by book signing and reception at The Colony House

Tickets are $30.00 per person; $15.00 for students at the door.

More info about Newport Arboretum week including the lecture.

Awards, Awards, Awards

The RIWPS March 25  Annual meeting was a time for awards.

Annual Volunteer awards were given to Linda McDaniel and Pat Cahalan.  Linda was recognised with the Volunteer of the Year Award for her work as co-chair of the 2016 Plant Sales Committee and her work in Seed Starters East.  RIWPS is delighted that she is heading the 2017 Plant Sale Committee!  Pat received the Lifetime Service Award for the contributions to WildFloraRI, Seed Starters West, Plant Sales and a variety of other tasks.

Congratulations and thank you to Linda and Pat for your dedication to RIWPS’ mission and for making the experience of other volunteers so wonderful. (See previous award winners)

Hilary A. Downes-Fortune, a teacher at the Compass school in Kingston was awarded the $1,000 to install a pollinator garden and learning landscape at the  school.  The funds will be used to purchase a variety of locally grown native plant species for this garden.  The garden will be a part of the South County Pollinator Conservation Project, a collaborative effort of the Rhody Native Project (RI Natural History Survey), RI Wild Plant Society, New England Wildflower Society, and Ragged Orchid Farm in Wakefield. The goal of the SCPCP is to serve as a new Citizen Science effort to begin the documentation, monitoring, and research on Rhode Island’s plant/pollinator communities.

An easily- applied survey technique using a basic digital point-and-shoot camera will allow students to conduct periodic surveys by photographing insect visitors. Each photo becomes an instant record of the insect, the plant being visited, and the date. A database of all photos will document plant phenology (flowering period) and insect visitation that will be an invaluable tool in assessing the region’s pollinator fauna, as well as identifying the best plants to use in pollinator conservation efforts.

The pollinator garden will also include an Audio Bee Cabinet, based a design of Sarah Peebles, an artist/ecologist in Toronto, Canada. The Cabinet is an observable nesting sites for wild, solitary bees and wasps. Students can watch and listen to discover how bees vary in size, shape and color, and how their habitats and life cycles differ.

RIWPS Strategic Plan 2017-2021

At the January General Meeting, January 21, 2017. President Dick Fisher presented the details of the newly adopted Strategic Plan.  This plan calls for an ever increasing focus on offering Rhode Island native plants at our plant sales, building on our educational offerings, assessing growth opportunities for Seed Starters, focusing conservation activities on education and sharing that information, as well as improvements in board communication and organization.   Review the Strategic Plan 2017-2021

Invite: Workshop with Doug Tallamy and Rick Darke


On Saturday, June 24th, Sogkonate Garden Club (Little Compton, RI)  invites you to their free workshop, The Living Landscape, by nationally acclaimed authors Doug Tallamy and Rick Darke from 9-3 at Wilbur McMahon School.

Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy, nationally recognized experts, will use lecture and photographs to demonstrate how to create landscapes that are not only beautiful but also support local wildlife and biodiversity. Attendees will see how they blend art, ecology and cultural geography in the creation and conservation of livable landscapes. They will also hear how insects and plant interactions support diverse wildlife communities.

Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to see your landscape in a different way.

Spaces are limited.  Advance registration is required.

Registration is at


Annual Appeal Letter

Our work …

Model Pollinator Gardens throughout New England

Congratulations to New England Wild Flower Society as it launches Pollinate New England program which includes building a network of model pollinator gardens throughout New England.

Read their press release which includes a short questionnaire for those interested in getting involved or receiving updates about this project as it progresses.

Put Down Those Pruners: Pollinators Need Your ‘Garden Garbage!’

For the home landscape, what fall gardening practices best enhance ecological diversity?  A message brought to you by the Xerces Society.  Justin Wheeler, Web & Communications Specialist writes,

It should be welcome news for weary gardeners. You’ve weeded, tilled, and toiled under the hot sun all summer long, and now — it’s time to stop. For many, however, the temptation to pick, pluck, and prune the landscape to make it neat and tidy for the winter is too hard to ignore. This impulse to “clean up our gardens for fall” has serious impacts on a whole host of pollinators and beneficial insects. All it takes is a weekend and some garden tools to wipe out whole populations of insects who have been hard at working hard in your yard all summer too – provisioning their nests and making well-stocked winter homes for the next generation.  Read the entire article on Xerces Society Blog

Journaling through the heat wave

Naturalist and writer Bruce Fellman describes his experience on Saturday, August 4 at a RIWPS walk.  Journaling through the heat wave begins …

“Earlier this year, I wrote about what promised to be a splendid, four-part series of walks called Plants and Their Places that was sponsored by the Rhode Island Wild Plant Society, a truly wonderful organization dedicated to the “appreciation, protection, and study of our native plants and habitats.”

In the write-up, trek leader and botanist Doug McGrady proposed introducing flora aficionados to his favorite locales and the green things they supported, with investigations of intriguing areas in North Stonington, Conn.; Arcadia and Scituate in Rhode Island; and, most recently, the superb 2,000 or so acre Tillinghast Pond Management Area in West Greenwich.

“I wanted to attract both experienced botanists and newcomers alike—to help them share what they love and find something new,” said McGrady.

I instantly intended to go on all the walks…” Read the rest of the article at Southern Rhode Island Newspapers.

native plant sales

Help. Donated Native Plant Project Needs a New Home

Donated native plants are an important part of the success story behind both our May, Early Bloomer & Spring Ephemeral Plant Sale and our June, Best Native Plant Sale in Rhode Island.  In early Spring, RIWPS members and friends (with our help, should they wish) dig and divide their native plants which we pot and grow for our sales.

For the past 4 years or so, Sandra Thompson and Nancy Weiss-Fried have collected many of these donated plants and potted them in Sandra’s garage, watering and nurturing them in her driveway. An impressive sight!

Sandra is moving and will not have space at her new home for this undertaking. We are seeking someone who might be willing to carry on. We can supply soil and provide a homemade potting table with multiple stations as well as a potting crew.

Might you be interested or have suggestions  for a location where we could continue our potting program?

Please contact Sandra if you have questions, suggestions and of course, if you would like to be part of the donated native plant project. We guarantee that you will become very familiar with many of the wonderful native plants that grow in RI.