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2018 is a great year for RIWPS Spring native plant sales!

Our Early Sale in May was held at a new location – Casey Farm in Saunderstown. We were welcomed by the Coastal Growers Farmer’s Market and it was a good collaboration. Seed Starters West sold 90% of the plants they had brought to the sale and earned gross sales of nearly $10,000 – far exceeding last year’s gross sales! Our June sale was held at East Farm in Kingston. Great weather, many volunteers and so many plants! Again we surpassed last year’s gross sales! 

Together the May and June sales sent over 4,500 plants into Rhode Island and surrounging communities. People are looking to be good stewards of the landscape by adding more native plants and our sales are the best place to find a great selection of native flowers, shrubs, trees, ferns, and grasses and at reasonable prices. Our goal is to put as many native plants into the area for our native wildlife. Biodiverse, sustainable landscapes sustain life across the natural web. We include plants for all growing conditions so customers can find a plants suitable for their specific location.

 We offered over 200 different species this year. A few were new to the sale this year – Fragaria virginiana (common strawberry), Asclepias purpurascens (purple milkweed), Rubus odoratus (flowering raspberry), Cirsium discolor (field thistle). As all were well received we will continue to offer them next year. Our Seeds Starters are also working on cultivating additional species for next year.

We are now planning an additional plant sale to be held at the Pawtuxet Village Farmer’s Market in Cranston on Saturday, August 25. We will be highlighting a nice selection of fall bloomers – asters, goldenrods, hibiscus, milkweeds and some shrubs. Great plants to help out our native pollinators as other species are ending their bloom time.

 The foundation of our success is our great volunteers. The members of Seed Starters East work year round in Portsmouth, members of Seed Starters West work several months during late winter and through spring in Exeter and our many member propagators (Dick & Marty Fisher, Carolyn Curtis, John Wilson) – all raising plants to donate to our sales. ‘Thank You’ doesn’t seem enough for all you do. We also have many volunteers who help out at the sales or help transport plants or donate plants which they dig from their yards. Our volunteers are dedicated and generous giving of their time and talents. Their efforts have so far earned nearly $44,000 in gross sales. Proceeds underwrite the work of our Seed Starters as they learn the art and science of cultivating native plants, as well support our botanizing walks, lectures and other educational programs, our outreach through our website, monthy e-news and print publication, WildforaRI, and our annual grants.

 But we always need more volunteers – more people who will help share the many tasks involved in preparing for the sales. You have talent that can support our sales – computer skills, artistic talent, organizational and research interests – all play a part in putting together our great plant sales. Email plantsales@riwps.org to become part of an amazing group of people.

Native Plants Attract Birds, Bees and Curious Neighbors

Anne Raver, RIWPS Board Member with over 30 years of experience writing about landscapes and the environment, describes her experiences with her now three-year-old native garden.