Want pollinators? A new native plant nursery will show you how to attract them

In the last few years, backyard gardeners across the country concerned about the drastic decline of monarch butterflies have turned to native plants to attract them and other pollinators. Now, a new native plant nursery in Prairieville is helping residents delve into sustainable gardening with all sorts of eco-friendly plants and retail items. Founded by husband-and-wife team Ian Richardson and Fabiola Campoblanco, Beaver’s Abundance Native Plant Nursery opened in April at 17873 Old Jefferson Highway.

With a name inspired by Richardson’s childhood nickname, the venture sprung from a regular weekend native plant sale the couple previously ran from their home in Old Goodwood. The side hustle was a nice way to spread the word about the importance of native plants, they say. It dovetailed with a personal commitment to sustainable living that also included raising chickens, composting and practicing permaculture (creating healthy mini-ecosystems).

But business grew to the point of being overwhelming, so earlier this year, they rolled the dice on a freestanding operation. They found a former salon not far from the parish line, and went about transforming its building and grounds into a charming nursery and retail store. It just so happens to be located next to a clover-filled cow pasture, the cherry on top to its bucolic vibe. Richardson now runs the nursery full time.


The grounds of a former salon were reimagined into a nursery and retail store.

First and foremost, Richardson says Beaver’s Abundance intends to educate people about the beauty and benefits of native plants.

“When we originally got into it, people were like, ‘Native plants? Those are weeds,’” he says. “But then they see how beautiful a landscape can be with them.”

Beyond aesthetics, native plants support soil restoration, and they don’t require as much water as non-native species, Richardson says. But their best-known benefit? Attracting butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and other pollinators.

That’s been top of mind for many of the couple’s previous and current clients, who search out native milkweed to lure imperiled monarchs. The butterfly species’ population has been on the decline for decades due to deforestation, pesticides and the loss of milkweed, the sole food source of monarch caterpillars. Milkweed is also the only host plant where the butterflies will lay eggs. Nectar from the milkweed flower is an important source of food for monarch butterflies, as are other nectar-producing plants.

Beaver’s Abundance co-owners Fabiola Campoblanco and Ian Richardson.

And while saving the monarchs might be the onramp to native planting, gardeners quickly embrace their other benefits, says Campoblanco, who works full time as a sustainability manager for a global energy corporation. Shoppers will see her at Beaver’s Abundance on weekends.

“It’s really a no-brainer,” she says. “It’s easier to plant them because they’re low maintenance and beautiful.”

The outdoor nursery features tidy racks and rows of flowering plants, shrubs, grasses and others situated on stands the couple made from reclaimed wood.

Using reclaimed wood, the couple made stands for stowing plant arrangements.

Carefully selected and native to southeast Louisiana, the plants tolerate hot temperatures and periods of drought. Signs on each plant indicate the soil and sun conditions the species prefer, along with how big they will grow. Expect to find numerous options for pollinator gardens, including gaura, purple coneflower and, of course, native milkweed.

Along with flowering plants, the nursery has native grasses like little bluestem, a drought-tolerant grower that’s great for filling in the gaps of a native garden, Richardson says.

Beaver’s Abundance also has a retail store stocked with gifts, artisan crafts by local makers and goods that support a sustainable lifestyle.


The shop stocks sustainable goods and works by local artists.

The shop features works by established regional artists like Amanda Takacs of Burned in Time, Mattea Studio in Lafayette and the popular Baton Rouge-based jewelry line, Mimosa Handcrafted, as well as numerous emerging local artists. Shelves are also lined with home decor, handmade candles, soaps, birdhouses and branded T-shirts that the couple screen prints with their logo. They use second-hand shirts to demonstrate a commitment to recycling.

Campoblanco and Richardson—whose mother, Jennifer Richardson, founded the grassroots anti-litter organization, Keep Tiger Town Beautiful—say that one of the factors that’s driven them to open Beaver’s Abundance is the belief that collective small changes add up when it comes to climate change and global sustainability.

“Native plants have thousands of years of DNA about how to handle our climate,” Richardson says. “They know about floods and droughts. If we plant with purpose, we can make a big difference.”

Beaver’s Abundance Native Plant Nursery is at 17873 Old Jefferson Highway. Its hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Find more info here.