We're Celebrating 50!
50 years ago, one of the first nurseries to grow and sell native plants sprang to life in rural Wisconsin. Founded by Bob (J.Robert) Smith, a retired DNR employee, Prairie Nursery began as a garden on a half-acre plot. Inspired by the native wildflowers and grasses growing around his farm, Bob began experimenting with Lupine and Butterflyweed, teaching himself how to propagate and grow prairie plants. During this time – at the height of the environmental movement of the 1970's – Neil Diboll was a student at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay where he was studying Environmental Science. Read the story of our beginnings here …
Back in the day, ‘mail order nursery’ meant that orders actually came to us through the mail – on a printed order form if we were lucky! Prairie Nursery was the first mail order nursery dedicated exclusively to native plants, and that led to opportunity for innovation. The 80s were a time for breaking new ground.
Over the last 50 years Prairie Nursery has ushered the world of native plants into the designed landscape by championing their benefits and beauty, and stoking the public imagination. Interest has increased dramatically since our early days, and today we're reaching more people than ever. Our customers are excited about creating meaningful landscapes and gardens that support biodiversity – landscapes in harmony with nature and local natural resources. For us, this growing enthusiasm and demand for native plants is a great opportunity to expand our plant offerings and introduce even more people to the wonderful world of native plants. And that is something to celebrate!