If you love gardens, you have probably been reading and hearing about the need to attract more wildlife to your garden. This idea isn’t just a result of someone being “warm and fuzzy.” We depend on bees, birds, and other wildlife to keep our ecosystem healthy.
Without bees, there is no fruit. Imagine no crisp apples, fragrant honey, or strawberry shortcake! And, there are no beautiful spring blossoming fruit trees. Did you know that many farmers have to truck bees into the fields because of their decreasing numbers? Without birds, seeds are not disseminated, and many garden pests are not plucked from our plants as tasty snacks. One of my favorite walks takes me on the Newburyport biking/walking trail from High Street to Parker Street in Newbury where I pass a wonderful butterfly garden dedicated to attracting, among other wildlife, the Monarch butterfly, perhaps the best known of our butterflies and certainly one of the most beautiful. In the summer that garden blazes with blooms.
This native steeplebush provides beautiful structure, blooms, and nectar for bees and butterflies.
How can we bring back or keep our buzzing bees and singing birds? The West Newbury Garden Club has an answer that allows you to do your part for the ecology of our beautiful area. On May 21, a significant number of the plants the Club will offer at its large annual plant sale will be native to the area, plants especially tailored to the needs of our birds and bees. The sale will be held from 8:30 to 11:30 on West Newbury’s Training Field on Rt. 113.
If you have an established garden, you do not need to rip it up and begin again to help our ecology. Finding a few spots to squeeze in native will make a tremendous difference. And just imagine—the more gardens that attract bees and birds, the more flowers and song. It is a circle of life that brings joy and beauty. On hand at the sale will be garden club members who have already made the plunge into deliberately including natives, and they will be able to give you advice. If you are just beginning your garden, why not incorporate into your design a few natives? When we enjoy a garden, we aren’t just looking at plants, we are smelling them and listening to the sounds of life around them. Most importantly, plants need pollinators to flourish. Ostrich fern and wild ginger are two of the many low maintenance
(and delicious) native plants for sale at the WNGC annual plant sale.
Among the natives on offer will be tall plants for the back of your garden, miniatures and ground covers for the front, shade-loving natives for those hard to cover spots with little sun or an overhanging tree, and tough yet beautiful sun-lovers. In past years, among those dug from our contributors’ gardens, we have offered May Apple, Ostrich Ferns, Canadian Ginger, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Dutchman’s Breeches and Bloodroot, which we are pleased to have again this year. In addition, direct from a native nursery we have Foam Flower, Meadow Rue, Goldenrod, Green-Eyed Coneflower, Carex, White Baneberry, and Ox-Eye Sunflower. Our selection of shrubs includes Witch Hazel, Serviceberry, Common Spice Bush, High-Bush Blueberry and both Red and Black Chokeberry. Gray Dogwoods, Beach Plums, and Hazelnut are examples of others we hope to have available.
Remember: natives tend to need less watering, fertilizing, and fussing (yay!)
We hope to see you at the Plant Sale on May 21. Come with your list of needs and wants and we will do our best to help you cross them off your list and ensure they go into your garden.
Scholarship Committee Chair
Note: Proceeds from the sale funds the Club's Scholarship Funds
Knowledgeable local gardeners are ready to answer
all your gardening questions and find the
perfect plants for your garden.