WILMINGTON–The Native Plant Alliance will host its 5th Annual Native Plant Festival on Saturday, September 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This free, family-friendly festival celebrates Cape Fear area native plants and helps attendees learn how to incorporate them into their own garden plans.
The Annual Native Plant Festival has been redesigned, so attendees can learn about and buy native plants while honoring safety guidelines surrounding COVID-19. This year’s festival will have an online component and an outdoor component. On Saturday the festival will offer a day of virtual presentations by seven local horticultural experts, which can be enjoyed from home. The festival will also offer a self-guided tour of area nurseries that sell native plants.
To avoid attracting crowds to a single location, many of the nurseries that normally sell plants during the festivalwill instead invite the public to their farms and nurseries, to view and purchase native plants and to see where they’re grown. A tour map, available online at https://arcg.is/1DqCLW0, indicates hours each location is open. Pop-up windows on the map also indicate when you can buy from these sellers throughout the year.
Participating plant sellers include Five Oaks Nursery & Tree Farm, Lloyd’s Nursery, and Transplanted Garden. Shelton Herb Farm is on the tour, with an impressive list of more than 55 species, and has invited Lumber River Nursery and Grizz’s Nursery to sell their plants on her farm the day of the event. Going Native Gardens will pre-sell five species of native perennial from September 10 through 18, with pick-up at Wild Bird & Garden’s Wilmington location the day of the Festival(or their Southport location on Wednesday, September 23). Wild Bird & Garden will sell items to support birds, bees, and bird-watching fans. An interactive map, found at at https://arcg.is/1DqCLW0, shows where to find all the locations.
The tour map also lists locations of some Community Landscapes where one can see native plants used in local landscaping. Some of these are public gardens; others are places where native plants have been used to beautify storefronts and common areas. The New Hanover County Arboretum is one of the stops on the tour, where participants can tour the Native Plant Garden. This demonstration garden, dedicated to native plants of coastal North Carolina, makes it easy for visitors to visualize how these plants might look like in their own yards. All community landscape locations are available to visit year-round, at no cost.
Horticultural experts will give presentations on a variety of plant-related topics. Theironline presentationsare now available for viewing on youtube.com. This year’s presenters are: Camilla Herlevich, Paul Hosier, Trena McNabb, Beth Sheppard, Roger Shew, Lloyd Singleton, and Becky Skiba, with a special showing of a previous presentation by Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home.
Speaker presentations can be found on youtube.com by searching “Cape Fear Native Plant Festival 2020” or searching by presentation name. The direct links to the presentations and date of Zoom Q&A appear at the end of this posting.
Q&A sessions are being scheduled with each of the speakers for two weeks later, October 2–4; this way, viewers can watch the presentations on their own timetable, but still have a chance to ask questions of the presenter via Zoom. Email Secoast@ncwildflower.org to request Zoom details for attending the speaker Q&A sessions.
Plans are being formalized for additional activities, to include environmental activities for children, and an online raffle, with prizes of native plants. Bookmarks listing links to fun activities for children will be distributed to the first several visitors to each plant seller location.
Extended information about the speakers and plant sellers, as well as a print edition of the map, will be available in the September issue of Cape Fear’s Going Green magazine. Copies will be available at the Arboretum and at each plant seller location during the Festival; the digital edition will be available starting September 15 online at https://issuu.com/capefearsgoinggreen.
The Native Plant Festival is sponsored by: New Hanover County Arboretum, NC Cooperative Extension, Extension Master Gardener Volunteers, Cape Fear Audubon Society, Southeast Coastal Chapter of NC Native Plant Society, Halyburton Park, and Cape Fear’s Going Green.
Visitthis website or www.facebook.com/cfnativeplantfestival/for updated information as it becomes available, or call (910)547-4390.
The 2020 Presentations, available now, are:
Fostering a Healthy Soil Microbiome – Lloyd Singleton
Q&A Zoom with Lloyd on Oct 3, 10 AM
Branching out, Planting beyond the Norm – Beth Sheppard
Q&A Zoom with Beth on Oct 4, 3:30 PM
Natural Areas of SE North Carolina – Roger Shew
Q & A Zoom with Roger on Oct 2, 9AM
Exploring Coastal Native Plants – Dr. Paul Hosier
Q&A Zoom with Paul on Oct 4, 2 PM
Bringing Nature Home – Doug Tallamy
There will not be a Q&A.