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Grow the Locals

Grow the Locals
October 2018

West Ashley’s Roots and Shoots nursery is a hidden haven of native plants

(Clockwise from top left) Owner David Manger with one of Roots and Shoots’ five hens; a Gulf fritillary feeds on Turk’s cap; Rachel Carey tends to plants at the nursery, which Manger is looking to move into a traditional retail space.

Try as they might, backyard businesses have an intimidation factor. After parking at 7 Briarcliff Drive in West Ashley, for instance, first-time visitors will have to head for the painted “Pollinator Friendly” sign, then follow the path around the house. Only then will they discover that the nursery in residence—Roots and Shoots, specializing in native and fruit-producing plants—doesn’t look too different from any other garden center.

Owner David Manger and nursery co-manager Rachel Carey welcome the public each Monday, Friday, and—through late fall—Saturday. (An open house is also slated for November 3.) They’re happy to tour shoppers through the 250-plus varieties of perennials, grasses, ferns, and trees and shrubs (including those that’ll serve up fruits ranging from figs to blackberries), sharing knowledge along the way.

“My focus is on sustainability—meeting our needs as humans while also meeting the needs of nature,” says Manger, who purchased the enterprise from its previous owners in 2015. Plants native to the region are essential to preserving biodiversity. “They support the animals and insects that create a functioning ecosystem,” he explains.

A handy availability list at notes which plants will host pollinators while sharing details on bloom times, growing conditions, and more. Want an even easier route? The company offers design, installation, and maintenance services, too.