An Accidental Urban Tree Nursery
Imagine a world where anyone can grow trees. In 2014, I got a glimpse of that world when I collected one hundred pits from a local apricot tree, carefully filed each seed, planted them next to my house, and promptly forgot about them. The following spring, I was shocked to find ninety-six little apricot trees! After a year of letting them grow, I carefully dug them out and gave and sold them to friends, family, and community members. Forest City Plants was born!
Growing Uncommon Local Plant Varieties
Forest City Plants is a small-scale urban nursery project in Edmonton, Alberta, started by master gardener and permaculture designer Dustin Bajer (that’s me). Coming off the success of growing apricots in my backyard, I started searching for other local plants to propagate. I soon found black and white walnuts (butternuts), heritage goji, and Russian almonds.
Forest City Plants Philosophy
People think of cities and forests as opposites, if not in opposition to each other, but I disagree. There is no reason why cities can’t be among the most biodiverse systems on the planet, and, in fact, they are. I chose the name Forest City to emphasize the relationship I hope to create. Forests, like cities, are places for maximizing connections, finding nitches, and creating webs of opportunity and abundance. A forest is a city, and a city is a forest.
Forest City Plants focuses on growing six to twenty-four-inch plants for direct sale to consumers. Often called whips, small nursery stock is easy to move, transplant and quicker to establish than larger potted plants.
A Small Nursery With A Big Vision
- Discover, protect, and propagate existing local genetics.
- Offer a growing selection of unique and local plants.
- Provide free plants to school and community projects through a partnership with Shrubscriber.com.
- Diversify our urban forest and create a climate-resilient City.
- Trial new plant varieties.
- Build a supportive community of plant growers and lovers.
Community in the Shape of a Forest
In the middle of the 2020 pandemic, Forest City Plants offered an online Propagation Course with seeds and step-by-step instructions and support. By the end of the course, each student grew a small forest of trees. The idea spread, and in 2021, I created and launched Shrubscriber.com.
Shrubscriber (Shrub-Scriber) brings together gardeners, schools, and climate-conscious individuals and organizations. Shrubscriber offers community workshops, seeds, and step-by-step instructions to grow a food-secure, biodiverse, and climate-resilient Edmonton.