Native Plant Trust

Our Nursery

Nasami Farm

We grow and sell New England native plants

Set on 75 acres in the Connecticut River Valley of western Massachusetts, Nasami Farm grows New England native plants from seed that we harvest sustainably from healthy, well-established wild populations throughout the region. Our goal is ensuring genetic diversity to offset the clones sold by traditional nurseries and to build resilience into a landscape facing change. We feed our plants with organic fertilizer and use biological controls rather than chemicals as our first line of defense against pests. We use no systemic pesticides, such as neonicotinoids.

We focus on propagation and research to bring different and hard-to-grow native plants into production. In addition to propagating plants for our two Garden Shops, we also work with the Conservation staff and contract with other organizations to cultivate plants for the restoration of wild habitats. And, in our classroom, we also offer year-round classes in native plant horticulture and botany.

For home gardeners and professionals, the Nasami Farm Garden Shop offers an extraordinary variety of native plants during the growing season. The classroom and the seasonal Garden Shop are the only parts of Nasami Farm open to the public.

Please note: We have new phone numbers and an upgraded our phone system! Now when you call our switchboard (413-397-9922), you will get a recording with a new staff directory. Between late April and early October, you will now be able to reach the Garden Shop team separately at 413-241-5614. For other new Native Plant Trust phone numbers, see the Contact Us page.

We are located at 128 North Street, Whately, MA 01373. The exit on I-90 for I-91 is #45. The exit on I-91 for Conway/Rt. 116, which takes you to Nasami Farm, is #35. If driving southbound on I-91, the same exit is #36.

Why We Grow Native Plants from Seed

Nursery Manager Alexis Doshas explains.

When nurseries propagate plants through cuttings, cloning, or using seed collected from a small or cultivated population, they winnow out genetic diversity, rendering all the individual plants in the group susceptible to the same pests and diseases. That means that all plants of the same species that live in a particular geographic area can be wiped out by a single pest, as happened, for example, when one microorganism decimated Ireland's potato crop in the mid-19th century, causing a famine that claimed about a million lives.

In some cases we need to propagate plants through cuttings or another vegetative method, usually when a species is difficult to grow from seed or does not produce much, if any, viable seed. Also, native plant cultivars—varieties that have been bred for certain characteristics, such as resistance to disease, size, and ornamental traits—have their place in our landscapes, in moderation.

Take, for example, double blood-root (Sanguinaria canadensis ‘Multiplex’). A natural mutation in the wild created a plant with additional flower petals. Unlike the straight species, double blood-root is sterile—that is, it does not produce seed—because the mutation transformed its reproductive parts into petals. While we continue to collect wild seed of blood-root and grow it from seed, that is not an option for double blood-root and similar sterile plants. So, we may divide the plants, take cuttings, or purchase them from our partner nurseries that have propagated them from cuttings.

But these are exceptions. We primarily focus on growing native plants from seed collected in the wild by a team of trained staff and volunteers who research and document local sources of healthy, wild populations. At the right time, we head into the field to collect seed, careful to leave plenty of intact specimens to enable the population to continue to thrive. This widespread sampling in the wild ensures that the native plants we grow in our greenhouses represent the region's robust genetic diversity.

Conventional Nurseries Are Exacerbating the Spread of Invasive Species

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently published a pair of papers that, together, provide the most detailed maps to date of how 144 common invasive plants species will react to 2º C of climate change in the eastern U.S.

The study also documents the role that garden centers, many of which still sell invasive plants, currently play in seeding future invasions. Together, the papers, published in Diversity and Distributions and BioScience, and the publicly available maps, which track species at the county level, promise to give invasive species managers in the U.S. the tools they need to proactively coordinate their management efforts and adapt now for tomorrow’s warmer climate.

Experiment Boosts Production of Pennsylvania Sedge by 600%

Discovering how to increase seed-grown production of a popular turf-grass alternative

Seed propagation protocol for Carex pensylvanica at Nasami Farm

Author: Alexis C. Doshas; contributors: Cayte McDonough, K. Miho Connolly
Co-investigators: Alexis Doshas, propagator; Cayte McDonough, nursery manager; K. Miho Connolly, propagation assistant.

The following summarizes an article published in Native Plants Journal vol. 22 no. 1 (Spring 2021): 45-50. © 2021 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. Reprinted courtesy of the University of Wisconsin Press.

Pennsylvania sedge (Carex pensylvanica) is a desirable lawn alternative due to its turf-like appearance and habit, as well as its ability to thrive in dry soils and partial shade. It is a clumping sedge growing 8 to 12 inches tall with fine, pale-green leaves. It spreads by rhizome to create turf-like ground cover in forests, savannas, and dry light shade. It is also notably difficult to propagate from seed. Its low germination rate (at Nasami Farm, about 10% germination annually) limits the use of this species in large-scale restoration projects and makes it challenging to find genetically diverse, seed-grown stock in the horticultural trade. Genetic diversity is important for creating resilient landscapes able to withstand disease and climate fluctuation, and to support diverse ecosystems. The majority of propagation of C. pensylvanica is achieved through division or tissue culture, both of which result in a clonal specimen and contribute to a monoculture in the designed and restored landscape.

As protocols for seed propagation in a nursery did not exist, our objective was to improve germination of C. pensylvanica and develop a seed-propagation protocol. Beginning in 2017, Nasami Farm nursery staff members conducted a series of multi-year trials to determine best practices for nursery production of seed-grown C. pensylvanica. We began by looking at the effectiveness of three treatments on germination of C. pensylvanica seed: perigynium manipulation, variation in sowing depth, and warm stratification.

The achenes of Carex spp. are enclosed in a papery, bladder-like sac called the perigynium (plural, perigynia), which tightly adheres to the pericarp. In some Carex species this causes a physical barrier to germination. We tried full removal of the perigynium, partial abrasion of the perigynium, and leaving the perigynium intact.

Another factor that can affect germination is sowing depth. We tried sowing seeds on the surface of the soil, and with light cover. Finally, we looked at a warm dry stratification, or "after-ripening," in which the seeds are stored in a warm, dry location (~70 degrees) for a 12-week period. This mimics the ecology of the seed, which ripens in May and June, disperses, and undergoes the warm summer season before entering into a cold stratification of winter.

In our first set of trials we found the highest germination rates (68-72%) in seeds that underwent a 12-week warm stratification period prior to being sown. Further, among the warm-stratified seeds, seeds that were sown with a light cover of growing medium had better germination rates than seeds sown on the soil surface. Perigynium manipulation did not result in improved germination. A second-year study confirmed these results. In year three we ran trials to determine the minimum required period of warm stratification to produce successful germination. We found no reduction in germination in our 9-12 week warm-stratification trials, allowing us to refine our protocol and required time. With a reliable germination rate, we could then explore streamlining our production by direct seeding into plug trays, eliminating the step of transplanting seedlings.

Since 2021 we have been able to increase our production of seed grown C. pensylvanica plugs from 10% grown from seed to 100% grown from seed, and to do so efficiently and sustainably. (Prior to instituting this new propagation protocol, we propagated C. pensylvanica from divisions of seed-grown plugs.) We now produce six times more C. pensylvanica plants, or 3,800 plugs annually, than before introducing the warm- and cold-stratification. By refining and sharing germination protocols, we hope to contribute to a greater supply of genetically diverse plant material in the trade and in our landscapes.


Our Garden Shop

2024 Dates & Hours

Saturdays and Sundays
10 a.m.–5 p.m.
and on Tuesdays,
Wednesdays & Fridays
by appointment

Nasami plant-sales
(email preferred):

Garden in the Woods Garden Shop

Proceeds from sales
help support our mission.

500yd field trip logo.jpg

The Five Hundred Yard Field Trip

Nasami Farm is proud to be a participating nursery for The Five Hundred Yard Field Trip, a free ecology curriculum aligned with the science standards in MA, VT, NH, and NY that allows teachers to seamlessly incorporate the study of native plants into their life science lessons.

We are producing kits that are designed to suit the Pussytoes Project and Caterpillarpalooza course plans. If you are part of a school and interested in purchasing one of these kits, click the button below to find more information and place an order.

Order a Kit

Contract Growing

We grow plugs on contract for the nursery trade, habitat restoration, and large design projects. Please email Alexis Doshas early in your planning.

Volunteers needed

Volunteer at Nasami Farm

Nasami Farm staff members rely on the generous help of volunteers. To apply to become a volunteer, please fill out this form. Questions? Email Nursery Coordinator (Karen) Miho Connolly: kconnolly


We Run on Sun

Solar panels on Nasami's main building make this LEED Gold site even greener, thanks to generous supporters. One month's carbon offset: 1.66 tons, or 43 trees.