Who We Are
Focus on Native Plants
Founded in 1979 by Connor Shaw, Possibility Place Nursery started out as most nurseries do, with traditional nursery stock planted and dug in the standard balled and burlapped manner. Over the course of those first few years, it became apparent that this was not the future for PPN. Connor wanted to grow something unique, something that would contribute to the health and beauty of the natural landscapes around us and was grown in a way that made these plants accessible to all. Starting in 1988, PPN began to specialized in growing plants native to the eastern United States, primarily those native to Northern Illinois. What seemed like a big risk proved to be anything but. The interest in native plants was overwhelming and has only continued to grow.
Today, we move hundreds of thousands of native plants every year. From large contract grows for restoration projects to small back yard plantings, our goal is to get as many native plants in the ground as possible.
We currently produce over 150 species of trees and shrubs and nearly 250 species of forbs, grasses and sedges. The majority of our plants’ seeds are collected in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Plants grown from seed collected in these areas are better adapted to survive in these areas. It also ensures genetic diversity within species, a crucial component for building healthy populations that will thrive for years to come!
Sustainability and Lasting Change
Sustainability has always been a focus at Possibility Place. We strive to implement growing practices that follow our mission to increase biodiversity and support the natural world. We do not use pesticides, fungicides or miticides on any of our plant products. We use a containerized growing method in order to minimize the depletion of topsoil and erosion. We mulch our plant material to minimize watering needs, and we use slow release fertilizers to reduce the amount of leaching and runoff into the surrounding groundwater.
As we continue to grow and we watch the whole of the native plant industry grow, we look toward the future. We focus on native plants as a way to heal and restore our planet by rebuilding and supporting natural ecosystems. But lasting change takes a holistic approach. Standard practices in the nursery industry lack any focus on sustainability or environmentalism. There is a heavy reliance on plastics and chemical inputs that create challenges in implementing a sustainable growing system. We use our voice as a small business to make change on this front through community education as well as working directly with suppliers and manufacturers to create new, more sustainable growing supplies.