Shiloh Museum to give out free milkweed, unveil new seed library

The Shiloh Museum of Ozark History will debut its seed library on the east side of the museum’s grounds. It will feature a rotation of seeds from about 30 different plant varieties.

Photo: Shiloh Museum of Ozark History

The Shiloh Museum of Ozark History will give away milkweed and debut its new seed library from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, May 7.

Museum staff and volunteers will bring up to five free plants to adults who pull their vehicles up to the museum at 118 W. Johnson Ave. in Springdale.

The plant variety to be given away is swamp milkweed, said Marty Powers, the museum’s groundskeeper. Milkweed is known best as the host plant for monarch butterflies, but it also attracts other pollinators, Powers said.

Officials will also debut the museum’s seed library on the east side of the museum campus alongside Spring Creek during the event. The seed features a rotation of about 30 different plant varieties that were selected from the museum’s grounds.

A sign about the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History’s milkweed giveaway greets visitors during the 2021 event. Each adult may receive up to five plants.

Photo: Shiloh Museum of Ozark History

Powers said most of the varieties are native to the area except for a few pollinator plants, such as Mexican sunflowers and zinnias. All seeds have been cold stratified, meaning that they have undergone a freezing and thawing process that enables them to sprout. Visitors may take whatever seeds they need, and will not be asked to replace them.

The seed library includes murals featuring fauna along with a monarch butterfly, bees and dragonflies. The art was produced by Jayne Laster, a volunteer at the museum and a member of the Washington County Master Gardeners.

During the event, cash or check donations will be accepted to benefit the museum and the Elizabeth Richardson Center, which is co-sponsoring the event along with Springdale for Monarchs.