ABOUT US – HISTORY OF GRAND MORAINE GROWERS
Grand Moraine Growers is located on a glacial moraine in the upper Grand River watershed, 300 feet above bedrock and near the highest point of land in Wellington County, Ontario, Canada. The headwaters of the Carroll Creek, which are part of the Alma Wetland Complex, extend onto the property. The farm is blessed with a variety of soil types ranging from pure sand to silty clay loam to black organic soil. There is a large diversity of native plants naturally occurring here, providing us with opportunities for seed collecting and propagating a wide range of species. A pioneer cemetery is located on a sandy knoll near the front of the property.
The retreat of glaciers more than 9,000 years ago, allowed the spread of native plants into the southern Ontario region. These plants formed communities highly adapted to local climates and soils. In addition to their important roles in the lives of insects, birds & mammals, these native species were also incorporated as food, medicine, craft materials and used in rituals by the First Nations of southern Ontario. Today, the destruction of habitat continues to threaten many native plant species and their communities. Over the past 32 years we, the owners of Grand Moraine Growers, have become interested in collecting and propagating native plants, which belong to these historic ecosystems. Our goals are to emphasize the remarkable native species in our stock, and to promote the use of these plants in both natural and managed landscapes.
Since 1997, we have designed and built a nursery workshop and propagation facilities on the vacant land. We continue to plant trees on the farm and develop new display plantings to showcase the many species that we offer. Our native seed orchard stock has been acquired from reputable native nurseries, plant rescues, and from seed collected both on our farm and in the wild according to strict ethical standards. The first season was spent on the set up of facilities, acquisition of propagation equipment and the initial production of our first marketable inventory. In 2000 we began selling our first plants produced at Grand Moraine at the Guelph Farmer’s Market, and welcomed a few drive in customers here at the nursery itself. Since then, we have experienced an encouraging increase in interest and sales. We are continuing to extend our demonstration plantings for landscaping and for habitat restoration. In 2014 we changed our focus to selling plants to the Wholesale Market and no longer sell on a Retail basis. All plants listed on this Website are nursery propagated and grown by ourselves, with the exception of those obtained from authorized plant rescues. We take pride in the genetic integrity of our stock and collect seeds responsibly and ethically from our own or adjacent growing regions. All seed collections and plant sources are documented where possible as to their watersheds of origin and their Ontario Tree Seed Zones of origin.
Paul Shepherd, Nursery Manager and co-owner, has over 32 years of experience with plant propagation, maintenance and horticultural landscape design. Some of his work has received awards, such as the gardens at his former heritage residence in Guelph, which were recognized by the Guelph Horticultural Society, and featured on a garden tour. Paul is also a certified Independent Seed Collector with the Forest Gene Conservation Association. Jim Dougan, co-owner of the nursery, is a botanist with 45 years’ experience in the study of native plants and their communities. Jim is an educator and also owns and manages an environmental consulting business, Dougan & Associates, Ecological Consulting and Design, based in Guelph, Ontario.