Boardman River Nature Center Native Plant Display Gardens

The Grand Traverse Conservation District is based out of the Boardman River Nature Center on Cass Street in Traverse City. Their mission is to lead, facilitate, and inspire exploration, appreciation, conservation, and restoration of our natural world. Shortly after the completion of the new nature center building in 2008 a large group of Extension Master Gardeners (EMG) gathered to adorn the surrounding grounds with hundreds of native plants, shrubs, and trees to creative display gardens.

The landscape plans were designed by local landscape architects, Anita Silverman, and Eric Takayama.  The plants were to be native to the area with beautiful stone and rock beds, rain gardens and both sun and shade areas.


Since the original design plants were added that were rescued from building sites in the areas, along with native plants from the home gardens of dedicated EMGs.  Working with the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network signage was placed to help educate the public.  The signs identify the native plants, shrubs, and trees as well as give other information about their growing requirements.

Until the Covid-19 restrictions went into effect garden tours were offered, and the public was invited to the gardens with EMGs there to answer questions.  The local Wild Ones group took on the butterfly garden and they brought new creative energy to the garden. Many volunteers have given their time and energy since the gardens were created to maintain the gardens.  A visit to the beautiful gardens is both educational and definitely enjoyable. 

Lauren Silver, Grand Traverse Conservation District MAEAP Technician, is now leading the project and is hoping to possibly have work bees starting in the spring depending on the Covid-19 restrictions.  Please contact Lauren with any questions and to let her know you would like to help in the future.

Michigan Gardening Hotline

9am to Noon, M-F Year round
Also 1pm-4pm in Spring/Summer



Ask an Expert


Log Your Hours