Native Plant Sale set for fourth year

The 4th Annual Gardening for the Bays Native Plant Sale will be held Saturday, May 3, at James Farm Ecological Preserve on Cedar Neck Road in Ocean View.

“The Native Plant Sale raises awareness of the value of native plants in our landscape,” explained Sally Boswell, education and outreach coordinator for the Center of Inland Bays. “We are losing more and more as we develop the land. Preservation of the species and diversity is important to re-introduce those plants into land we have control over like our backyards and our schoolyards.”

Representatives from the Delaware Plant Society will be there, as will the Delaware Invasive Species Council, the Master Gardeners, Environmental Concern out of St. Michael’s and other nurseries. Patrons will be able to see an example of a schoolyard habitat. The Delaware Native Society will have a backyard habitat on hand. And the Center for Inland Bays will have a booth.

According to Boswell, native plants are good for the Inland Bays watershed in many ways.

“They provide food for native birds, butterflies and mammals and other animals; they are host plants to pollinators that are necessary for our native plant species and agriculture; they give shelter to native species and keep our native food web intact by not displacing other native species,” said Boswell.

“They have adapted to our climate, the length of our spring and summer, the amount of rainfall,” she added. “There are plants that grow here that actually do not grow in Philadelphia or Baltimore because of the difference in climate. It has to be the right plant in the right place. And the native plants have adapted to a particular habitat, whether that be a dune, or a marsh or a meadow, the different varieties adapt to the particular conditions of this place.”

Because of that adaptation, native plants need less watering, fertilizer and pesticides, so there are added health benefits for people and the bays.

The plant sale not only acts as a bridge to both people interested in learning more and teaching more about native plants, it puts a spotlight on the benefits they bring to the area and also raises demand so that local nurseries might be encouraged to carry more of the native species.

“It’s really taken off. The interest is great and more and more nurseries are seeing a demand and carrying more native plants.” said Boswell.

This year’s sale is May 3 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at James Farm Ecological Preserve, on Cedar Neck Road in Ocean View.