Eco-conscious gardeners know that using native species provides essential food for wildlife and contributes to a healthy and biodiverse ecosystem, all while creating low maintenance plantings.
D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Spring Native Plant Sale will be held Friday, May 20, 3 to 6 p.m., and Saturday, May 21, 9 a.m. to noon, at D&R Greenway’s Native Plant Nursery at the Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place, Princeton. During the Native Plant Sale, D&R Greenway nursery staff and volunteers will be available to advise on the best choice of plants for gardening projects.
Native plants are adapted to central New Jersey’s climate, making them more drought-resistant than most exotic plants, and also provide essential food & habitat resources for wildlife. Of particular concern are migratory species that depend on native plants for fuel before and after their long journeys, and for food and nesting materials during breeding season. Current well-known examples include the monarch butterfly and rufa red knot, dependent specifically on the milkweed and the horseshoe crab, respectively, for their survival.
Because central New Jersey’s native plants and wildlife evolved together, they are highly adapted to and dependent upon each other. Native plant resources are especially critical for wildlife at energy-intensive times of the year, such as spring and fall migration, and during courtship and breeding. In turn, native plants rely upon wildlife for pollination and seed dispersion. Whereas indigenous plants support diversity and disease-resistance, exotic invasive species form monocultures that outcompete other plants. Replacing them with native species, which co-exist, creates a complex, vibrant ecosystem vital to both plants and animals.
“D&R Greenway Land Trust has preserved almost 20,000 acres of land in central New Jersey, with a mission to preserve a network of natural lands and open space accessible to the public, and to inspire a conservation ethic through educational programming, including increasing awareness of the benefits of native species,” said Native Plant Nursery Manager Emily Blackman. “The Nursery provides plants for habitat restoration projects on D&R Greenway managed land, for use by home gardeners, and for native garden projects by schools, municipalities and other conservation non-profits.”
D&R Greenway Land Trust’s plants are grown from locally sourced seed and starter plants and are raised and sold with the skilled assistance of a group of volunteers. Plants are available in quart, gallon and two-gallon sized pots from $5 to $15. A full catalog is available online at www.drgreenway.org/PlantCatalog.html. To check species availability, contact Emily Blackman, Nursery Manager, at (609) 924-4646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
D&R Greenway’s Native Plant Nursery will offer summer plant sales every Friday, from June through August, from 3 to 5 p.m.