Meet the Expert Nurturing our Nursery

Person wearing winter hat and holding a potted plant.

Come Along to Warwick Nursery

Every year, CVC plants thousands of trees, wildflowers and shrubs across the Credit River Watershed, but have you ever wondered where all these plants come from? CVC’s Carly Lehmann is a Nursery Technician in our plant nursery at Warwick Conservation Centre in Caledon. Discover what it takes to nurture growing plants.

What do you do at CVC?

I oversee day-to-day operations of the nursery, which include tasks such as potting seedlings, weeding, pruning and fertilizing. I also prepare trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers for transport to our planting sites.

Every year our nursery team pots an average of 40,000 bare root seedlings (roots without soil). These seedlings spend between one and two years growing before being used in our planting programs. If we have any trees left over at the end of the planting season, we put them to bed for winter until the spring. We do this by tipping them over on their side and covering them with an insulating fabric.

Drone footage of CVC staff unwrapping and standing up potted plants for the spring planting season.

What is unique about CVC’s nursery?

CVC’s Warwick Nursery is one of three nurseries owned and operated by a conservation authority (CA) and is the only CA-operated nursery that grows 100 per cent containerized stock. Container nursery production is the growing technique in which seedlings are potted in containers. They grow for at least one growing season and once they develop a strong root system, they are ready to be planted.

In 2022, we planted just over 9,000 trees and shrubs from Warwick Nursery on private lands alone!

What motivates you to do this work?

I have always loved plants and gardening. Plants provide us with the oxygen we need to breathe, and they also provide habitat and food for wildlife. It’s rewarding to be a part of a team growing a source of native plants that are planted across the watershed to support and restore natural areas and improve ecosystem health.

CVC's plant nursery with trees in the background and fluffy clouds in the sky.
Beautiful fall colours at Warwick nursery.

Where are trees and shrubs planted?

Our nursery supports many CVC programs that restore natural cover in the watershed. By growing our own supply of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants, we are able to verify the genetic source of species, have stock readily available for use in restoration projects and have stock on-site.

In addition to using plants for CVC projects, we have partnerships with neighboring CAs. Our neighbouring CAs also have a need for plants with identified seed sources for use across their restoration programs. It’s important to have stock readily available for planting projects. Our partnerships include a pot return program where CAs can return empty plastic containers to our nursery for re-use in future potting operations, reducing our overall plastic waste.

What is a project you are most proud of?

I’m most proud of our native grasses and wildflowers program. Over the last three years, I have increased production. These plants can be purchased by the public through our annual direct sale program. Native grassland and meadow species are not only beautiful for us to admire but they also provide habitat and food source for pollinators and bird species. To learn how to plant these native species and more in your yard and garden, explore our Prairie and Meadow Plant List.  

A rainbow over CVC's plant nursery with a forest in the background.
A beautiful rainbow over the nursery.

Thank you to Carly and her team for nurturing nature at our nursery.

Do you have any questions for the expert? Share them with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Comments (3)

  1. Randy Tumber APLD, CLD, CHT, ISAO

    Encouraging to see the extent & passion of the endeavours to provide native plant materials throughout you CA territory & neighbouring one’s Carly.
    The habitat & food sources generated by the activities of our Conservation Authorities are an essential element in the ongoing struggle for a sustainable ecosystem & habitable environment.
    Thank you, much appreciated!

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