Barbara Glass – Shooting Star

“It’s been like a college education,” explains Barbara Glass “learning about new species and where they grow.”

After devoting 13 years to her native plant nursery business, Barbara Glass is planning to retire as owner of Little Valley Farm near Spring Green, Wisconsin. Barbara purchased Little Valley Farm 13 years ago from its original owner, David Kopitzke, who operated the nursery in the Richland Center (Wisconsin) area. Dave, a friend of Wild Ones and occasional contributor to theWild Ones Journal, developed the nursery in 1978 with the goal of providing a variety of habitats. Barbara has expanded upon and developed that goal. Besides the Midwestern wildflowers and grasses of prairie, savanna, and wetland, Little Valley Farm offers woodland species as well. She has continued to provide native woodland plants as well as native shrubs.

Barbara says she did not start out with a life-long goal of being a native plant specialist; it just happened. She recalls that while she and her husband, Brad, were volunteers helping with the North Branch Prairie Project along the Des Plaines River in the Glenview and North Brook, Illinois suburbs, she realized she wanted to continue working with native plants and the people who grew them.

When she and her husband moved to the driftless area in Wisconsin some years later, she decided to pursue this work in a more earnest way. And she hasn’t been disappointed. One of her biggest joys has been the continuous discovery of new species, such as the eastern wahoo (Euonymus atropurpureus). Native to southern Wisconsin, the wahoo is found only in Milwaukee and Dodge Counties. “It is so great when you can offer something new and exciting to your customers,” she says.

A long-time Journal advertiser and Seeds for Education partner, Barb is looking forward to continuing her relationship with Wild Ones and becoming a contributor to the Journal.

A tip from Barbara: For gardeners trying to keep deer away from newly-planted shrubs, try piling dead branches around the shrubs, almost like a hedge. The barrier of dead material seems to keep deer away from the tender new plants.