Since its formation in 1975, the Native Plant Rescue program of Cranbrook House & Gardens Auxiliary has been committed to saving, growing, and educating on the importance of native plants.

Native Plant Rescue volunteers trek through ankle-deep mud, secluded woods, and pouring rain, often during frigid temperatures, to rescue plants from being wiped out at construction or other endangered sites. The rescued plants are then sold at the Annual Spring Plant sale in May, planted in the Native Plant/Wildflower Garden at Cranbrook House & Gardens, or donated to school gardens, community gardens, or nature centers. 

Why use native plants?

By using plants native to Michigan, you can help attract birds, bees and butterflies to your garden. Native plants provide food that birds, bees and butterflies need to survive. These all play an essential part in sustaining our ecosystem. 

The Rescue Process

Step 1

A dig site that has trillium or any other native plant growing on it is identified by members of Cranbrook House & Gardens Auxiliary or the public. If you know of a potential site, please send Cranbrook House & Gardens Auxiliary the address/contact info by calling 248.645.3149 or emailing

Step 2

The Native Plant Rescue group will obtain permission from the site owner to check out/dig at the site.


Step 3

Leading up to the Annual Spring Plant Sale in May, the Native Plant Rescue team spends four days a week at rescue sites digging up as many native plants as possible. The plants are transported by sled from the earth to the volunteers’ vehicles, where they are loaded and then transported back to Cranbrook for potting/planting.