The mission of the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History is to inspire appreciation, understanding and stewardship of our natural environment through discovery and learning.

As a part of that mission, Gardening For Life aims to promote the understanding of the important stewardship role of gardeners and landscapers in protecting the natural environment of Cape Cod.

The purpose of the GFL Speaker Series is to present helpful information to Cape Cod gardeners about eco-friendly gardening choices and landscaping practices that work with and support the Cape’s natural world.


Doug Tallamy’s book BRINGING NATURE HOME, published in 2007, opened the eyes of gardeners, landscapers, and environmentalists in three ways.

First, he pointed out that increasing human population and development have destroyed huge amounts of the natural world that supports our insect and wild animal population.

Second, he introduced many of us to the information that wild creatures depend on not just plants, but on specific, most often native, plants, for their very survival.

And third, he showed that the power to save these wild creatures – and, by extension, the future of biodiversity and of human societies too – is in the hands not of governments, or large corporations, but in the yards and gardens of homeowners and gardeners.

By planting native plants, and caring for their yards in a way that more closely mimics natural landscapes, local gardeners can supply much of the food and shelter that insects, birds, and wildlife depend on, and that has become fragmented and scarce in recent decades.

Gardening For Life at CCMNH sprang into existence when a handful of volunteers, who had gotten excited about Tallamy’s ideas, agreed that the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History was the perfect place to start educating people on the importance of native plants.

In the spring of 2013 we held our first Gardening For Life Speaker Series, featuring professionals in the fields of horticulture, native plants, landscaping, and wildlife. The series of talks, which provide information and education on gardening for pollinators, diversity, and sustainability, has become an annual program that’s attended by both beginner and professional gardeners, landscapers, and those who care about the natural environment of the Cape.

Since the 1980’s the Friends have held an annual plant sale as a fundraiser, featuring plants donated by volunteers, Friends, and community members.  In 2013 the Friends began to offer native plants as well, becoming a source for the hard-to-find plants that more and more gardeners want.

And the drought of summer 2016 spurred GFL volunteers to help care for the various Museum gardens.