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Native Plant Sale Saturday

July 24, 2014
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

People have a chance to stock up on indigenous plants this weekend at the Native Plant Sale.

The event will be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Rotary Park Environmental Center. A wide variety of trees, shrubs, plants, grasses and seeds will be on hand, plus information for attendees.

"We have a lot of native plant choices," Honey Archey, an environmental recreation specialist, said.

There will be 50 or 60 different selections supplied by a couple of vendors.

"We have a lot of plants that are bird attractors and butterfly attractors," Archey said.

Knowledgeable staff and volunteers will be on site to answer any questions.

Fact Box

If You Go:


Native Plant Sale


Saturday, July 26,

from 9 a.m. to noon


Rotary Park Environmental Center, 5505 Rose Garden Road

"This time, I see a lot of unique plants that we don't usually have," she said of the selections.

Archey cited the Caribbean milkweed, a butterfly host plant, and the Vitex tree as two examples. The Vitex tree blooms lavender or purple flowers, which look similar to lilac blossoms.

She explained that using native plants is gardening in an environmentally friendly way.

"Native plants are more sustainable," Archey said, noting that they use less water and do not need fertilizers like non-natives. "They're adaptive to Florida's climate,."

She called the use of native plants more cost effective.

"Instead of buying costly plants that you have to replace," Archey said.

"It benefits the wildlife in the area," she added. "This provides habitat and food."

Most of the plants range from $6 to $30, depending on species and pot size. With most of the plants available in one-gallon to seven-gallon containers, other larger selections come in 15-gallon pots.

"These are local little growers. A lot of these plants, you can't find them," Archey said.

She described the prices as competitive to what one might find in a store.

Information on butterfly gardening, backyard wildlife habitats and Florida friendly landscaping tips will also be available. On-site experts will help attendees pick the right plant for the right place.

"Any question that they have, they can bring it to us," Archey said.

The butterfly house at Rotary Park will be open to the public during the sale. Maintained by the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife, attendees can visit the butterflies and learn about the plants they require.

"We'll have all of our butterfly experts out there to tell people what they need," she said.

Herrera Lawn Care and Pavers will be on hand to talk about native landscape design and plant installation. The business focuses on permeable pathways that allow for storm water runoff.

"Instead of having paved driveways and paved areas," Archey said.

People have until today to sign up for a rain barrel workshop, planned from 9 a.m. to noon. Hosted by the Lee County Master Gardens and Florida Yards and Neighborhoods and run through the Lee County Extension Office, the workshop costs $45 per person and includes a rain barrel that is ready to install.

"It goes over the importance of rain barrels and storing water to help cut down on storm water runoff and using recycled water to water your plants," she said.

As of Thursday, 10 spaces were still available; the workshop is offered a few times a year.

Archey explained that the Native Plant Sale is held in April and again in July.

"Because it's in the middle of the rainy season," she said, noting that natives planted during the rainy season tend to take quickly and require little attention.

Each of the sales draws anywhere from 500 to 1,000 attendees.

People searching for specific plants should come early.

"All the best plants go fast," Archey said. "We have people that wait for our plant sale."

For more information or to register for the workshop, call (239) 549-4606.

Additional information on Rotary Park can be found online at:

Rotary Park Environmental Center is at 5505 Rose Garden Road.



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