Knowing Your Neighbors: Shoreview Natives

TWO HARBORS, Minn. — If you are looking for a yard makeover this year or are searching to add greenery to your yard, one Northland business has opened up a new location to expand their inventory of native plants.

“We grow straight species native plants. So that’s, our plants, they come right from a wild seed source or a company that collects wild seed source if it’s a difficult plant to find the seeds of. A native plant would be a plant that is grown in that area since the last, in this, in this area, since the last ice age. 10,000 years, kind of the same assemblage of plants has been in this area as opposed to a plant that was brought in from a different part of the country, or a different country altogether, or a plant that might have grown in nature but then been manipulated by humans,” said Shoreview Natives owner Dan Schutte.

Located just outside of Two Harbors, Shoreview Natives is the culmination of a passion and interest for native plants here in the Northland.  What started out as a backyard hobby grew into landscaping projects for friends, then wholesale distribution, and now a retail location.

“As the years have gone on, the interest and the activity around our business has just increased and we got a point where we needed a bigger footprint simply to have the space to lay out these plants, to put up the greenhouses that are needed to make the number of plants that we want to grow right now. Last year we grew about 160,000 plants and we’re trying to get more into trees and shrubs now that we have this new space set up to do so,” said Schutte.

With over 100 different species currently to choose from including milkweed, bee balm, and cone flowers, Dan tells us some of the benefits of replacing turf grass with native plants.

“It’s very catchy. It’s contagious. Once you see a well done native plant project, it’s really hard to want something more than that. The maintenance is lower, you’re not running a lawnmower, the kids are having fun in the flower garden. Rarely do we get plants that are failing because of lack of water, lack of nutrients or care. They just thrive,” said Schutte.

In his time working for the Soil and Water Conservation District and on biodiversity projects globally, Dan developed a passion for supporting pollinators and their habitats.

“To get as many pollinator plants in the ground as possible is really the company mission and we’re trying to find as many different vectors and ways to do that as we can. The big question is how do you do that? Where do you find the plants? What is the process to put in a native garden? And so we’re trying to act as a hub for all those things. If people are interested, we want to be that missing step of here is how you do it. Here is where you get the plants,” said Schutte.

Dan wants to go beyond providing native plants. He hopes to one day have classes to share his knowledge in the process of gathering and growing native plants so others can to do it themselves.

“Workshops where we can teach people the process of how to do this on their own. How to collect the seed. How to grow the plants. How to prep a site. How to maintain it. Come check us out. See what we’ve got and let us know what you’d like to see.  We grow native plants, we don’t grow ‘em all, and we don’t have all the shapes and sizes, so we’d love feedback,” said Schutte.

Despite the hard work and long hours, Dan feels fortunate to be doing something he is passionate about.

“It means a lot to me to be able to work in this field and make my contribution as leaving the world a better place than I found it,” said Schutte.

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