Spring is a wonderful time to buy plants and the stores are full of them. Even the grocery store had everything from annuals to potted fruit trees to tempt shoppers the other day. Native plant lovers are no less immune to the call of a plant sale than anyone else and luckily spring native plant sales are becoming more common.
Where else are you going to indulge yourself with unusual plants like Barbara’s buttons (Marshallia mohrii)? You won’t find that in the big box store. Need a red buckeye (Aesculus pavia) to pull in those hummingbirds? Good luck finding one of those. Ethically propagated trilliums? Hmmm.
Yet these plants and more are likely to be found at a local native plant sale. More and more groups are offering native plant sales either exclusively with native plants or in conjunction with pollinator friendly plants (not all necessarily native). From nature centers, to botanical gardens, to civic groups and, of course, native plant societies … lots of groups are sponsoring these sales to help get native plants into the hands of average gardeners.
Often some or all of these plants have been locally propagated and raised. In the case of my native plant society, many of the plants were locally rescued from construction sites. These local practices increase the likelihood that you can buy plants that were raised without pesticides – making these really pollinator friendly plants!
If you use Facebook, liking these groups on Facebook will often bring you notices of special events like these sales. Some groups also help spread the word of other sales they hear about. You can also check the websites of these groups for sale dates. April is a popular month for sales in Georgia, but I imagine that more northern areas would have them into May as well. The Find Native Plants website is also an excellent source.
I find these sales to be a good place to meet other like-minded folks. I’ve met some very helpful and knowledgeable people … coming away with more than just plants in the end. Many of the groups hosting the sales are doing it as a fundraiser for educational activities. Good folks, good causes and good plants … you can’t go wrong.
So if you’ve a passion for native plants, or are just looking for a reliable place to get milkweed (Asclepias spp.), seek out the small sales and go native!
If you’re in Georgia, may I modestly plug the Georgia Native Plant Society sale on April 12, 2014? Leftover plants will sold at the May meeting and then look for us again for a sale in September.
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