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Festival to Shine Light on Native Plants

Learn how to help pollinators, like this monarch butterfly, during the Cape Fear Native Plant Sale Sept. 15. Photo: Extension Master Gardeners

WILMINGTON — Why do native plants matter? During the fourth annual Cape Fear Native Plant Festival Saturday, Sept. 15, master gardeners and horticultural experts will be on hand to explain how incorporating native plants into your garden can benefit wildlife, help pollinators and make your landscape flourish.

The festival from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at New Hanover County Arboretum, 6206 Oleander Drive, will feature speakers presenting in the auditorium on plants, pollinators and stormwater management; a native plant sale with area vendors including Grizz’s Nursery, Arboretum Ability Garden, Going Native Gardens, Lumber River Nursery and Shelton Herb Farm; and a seed swap and giveaway.

While at the free, all-day festival, visitors can wander through the seven acres making up the Arboretum, including the newest demonstration garden with native plants of coastal North Carolina. Native plants flourish with less water, fertilizer and insecticides than many imported, non-native plants, according to information about the event.

There will be music, lawn games, storytime and crafts as well as food trucks including T’Geaux Boys, The Little Chef Food Truck and Bubba & Finn’s Tropical Treats. There will be activities for young garden enthusiasts including the Audubon’s “Discover the Wonder of Birds” exhibit. Children can participate in garden activities, making crafts, a scavenger hunt and lawn games. Susan Savia will perform children’s songs from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Following the festival, Darin Penneys will lead a plant walk at 5 p.m. on the campus of University of North Carolina Wilmington. Those interested will need to sign up for the walk during the festival.

New Hanover County Arboretum, New Hanover County Cooperative Extension, Master Gardener Volunteers, Cape Fear Audubon Society, Southeast Coast Chapter of North Carolina Native Plant Society, New Hanover County Public Library and Cape Fear’s Going Green joined together to sponsor the Native Plant Festival.

Admission and parking are free. Satellite parking will be available across the street at Seagate Baptist Church, 6115 Oleander Drive, with shuttle service provided by the YMCA vans.

For more information, call the Arboretum at 910-798-7680 or Valerie Robertson at 910-547-4390.

Speaker Schedule

  • 9 a.m. Landscaping for Birds. Presentation and panel discussion: Charley Winterbauer and others
  • 10 a.m. Historical Land Uses and Conservation Issues: Roger Shew
  • 11 a.m. Invasive Plants: Zac Long
  • Noon Pollinators: Beth Sheppard
  • 1 p.m. Rain Gardens, Design and installation: Geoff Goss
  • 2 p.m. Coastal Land Trust’s Work to save Natives: Camilla Herlevich
  • 3 p.m. Coastal Plant Communities: John Taggart

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.