In 2020, Melanie Ouelette began the Ottawa Wildflower Seed Library (OWSL) to encourage others to grow native plants. Since then, the OWSL has distributed thousands of seed envelopes of 150 different native plant species to local gardeners.

In a recent CBC radio interview, “Seed swap group urges Ottawans to plant those local wildflowers now,” Ouellette explains why she created the OWSL, and why native plants are so important and enjoyable to include in your garden. Now is the perfect time to plant native seeds, because many need the freezing and thawing of winter weather to break down their seed coating, allowing them to sprout in the spring.

Packets of native plant seeds. Photo from the OWSL website.

You can get a head start on next year’s pollinator planting by attending one of the remaining OWSL 2022 events. Donate seeds, pick up free seeds, and get advice from volunteers.

Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Beaverbrook Community Centre in Kanata (1st floor). Entrance is at the west end of the Beaverbrook Centre, facing the tennis courts.


Dec. 28 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Trend-Arlington Community Centre in Nepean.

Check the Ottawa Wildflower Seed Library  website for more information and an up-to-date list of seeds (under Orders & Instructions) that will be available at the next event. Seeds are first come, first serve.

In the new year, remaining seeds will be mailed out with priority given to indigenous community members and to community/school/group projects in the Ottawa Valley.  You can email the OWSL with your seed requests.

For current news about the OWSL, visit their Facebook page.

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