38th Annual Native Plant Sale Set for Apr. 1

Rosemary Blethen speaks with prospective customer at the 2016 native plant sale. Rosemary Blethen speaks with prospective customer at the 2016 native plant sale. Nancy Campbell

By Nancy Campbell 

It’s officially spring, and many area residents are in the process of planning gardens. For those hoping to add some new additions this year, the George Wood Chapter of the Alabama Wildflower Society is holding its annual plant sale on Apr. 1. This marks the 38th year for the rain-or-shine sale, which will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Kentuck Center courtyard in downtown Northport.  

The AWS sale features primarily native plants indigenous to the southeastern U.S. but also includes some non-invasive “passalong” plants that are well-adapted to this area. Items for sale are obtained from an out-of-state nursery specializing in native plants and from members of the Alabama Wildflower Society, who contribute plants from their own gardens and property.  

Rosemary Blethen, who co-coordinates the sale with her husband, Al Blethen, said gardeners who want to support pollinators in their gardens will have plenty of options, and plant identification will be easy.

“Bright blooming plants, which are excellent nectar sources for butterflies and other pollinators, will be available and clearly marked,” she said. 

Selections which bloom at different times of year—spring, summer, and fall—will be available, natives as well as passalongs.

Native plants offered will include many shrubs and trees, such as dogwoods, redbuds, pawpaw, butterfly bushes, hydrangeas, sweet shrub, and several varieties of native azaleas, all with some of the lowest prices to be found in this area. Ferns, ground covers, and flowering vines and plants will also be offered. 

Wildflowers for sale typically include columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, spiderwort, trillium, bloodroot, various asters and mints, and native irises and violets. Passalongs contributed by members typically include shrubs such as flowering quince, spirea, and kerria as well as daylilies and other plants from bulbs. Some houseplants are also usually available.

Proceeds from the sale will help further education about and preservation of Alabama’s native plant life. Every year, proceeds contribute to college scholarships to botany majors in Alabama colleges and universities. Smaller amounts help support the Cahaba Lily Society and its annual Cahaba Lily Festival as well as local projects, for example, support for the Wildflower Garden and rhododendron collection of the University of Alabama Arboretum. 

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