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RIWPS Fall Plant Sale — And another 600 more native plants in the landscape!

Saturday August 25th was a great day for our public sale at Pawtuxet Village Farmer’s Market in Cranston giving more people opportunity to add native plants to their gardens as cooler weather approaches. And they did come! Not only our members and Cranston area shoppers but also from CT and MA.

Thank you to the volunteers who came to help customers choose plants, set up tables & tents and transported plants and particularly to the Seed Starters East for this sale and outside propagators who are critical to all our sales. The 600 plants sold help to support activities and speakers for RIWPS. Our members look forward to our yearly sales and the wide spring to fall variety of native wildflowers, ferns, shrubs and trees at affordable prices.

We depend heavily on generous volunteers throughout the year to organize these events and invite you to become one of them.Some tasks can be done at home – researching, designing our sale flyers or only require brief time commitment. Other tasks involve working with others year round.

We can use your help whatever your skills or level of knowledge of native plants. In fact volunteering provides opportunities to learn more about the plants and meet other RIWPS members. There are many tasks and we need more people to share the load. Please email plantsales@riwps.org and join an active group of volunteers who work hard to organize these sales. We have already started work on next year’s sale events so contact us to become part of the plant sales group.

Over 4,000 More Native Plants in the Landscape!

Much thanks is due!

Saturday June 3rd was a beautiful day to hold our Best Native Plant Sale in RI. The plants looked good and were picked up quickly by the many customers who came to purchase shrubs, ferns and wildflowers.  The Early Native Plant Sale in May, featuring early bloomers and spring ephemerals was not so lucky – it was cold, windy and rainy but in spite of the weather sales were up from last year.  With over 4,000 native plants added to gardens around the state (and into CT and MA) it was a very successful season! Enjoy some pictures.

Now that the sales are over it is time to express appreciation to all the volunteers who contributed to their success.  The list is long – we had over 70 people who volunteered in some way but many went over and above.

Our two seed starter groups under the guidance of Dorothy Swift (SSE) and Helen Drew (SSW) worked many hours to provide a variety of plants for both the May and June sale. Our member propagators generously donate so many plants and  also work the day of the sale – our thanks to Dick and Marty Fisher, Carolyn Curtis and John Wilson.

Karen Asher volunteered to give a class on plants and companion plantings and Garry Plunkett taught us about ferns and shrubs.  Both new and veteran volunteers expressed appreciation for the chance to review the wide variety of plants that are offered at the sales.

Carl Sawyer managed the set-up and take-down of the tents & tables and the parking crew. This year with his van (really a mini bus!) he made light work of transporting shrubs to East Farm.

And Marnie Lacouture for selecting and managing the inventory of shrubs offered.

Thank you to Linda Sollitto for offering us the use of part of her yard for potting and storing our dug plants – which overwhelmingly is the work of Sandra Thompson and Nancy Weiss-Fried. Our members and friends generously donate their native plants from their own landscapes.

A special thank you to a group of volunteers who worked together this year to create new plant signs for the sale, Ann Raver, Susan Marcus, Pat Cahalan, Carl Sawyer and others.  Each sign featured a picture of the flower or plant as well as a description of its growing conditions.  There were many positive comments by customers.

Mention should also go to the nurseries we use to supplement our inventory: Rhody Native™ in South Kingstown, Plane View Nursery in Portsmouth, Morning Star in South Kingstown and then New England Wetlands, Sylvan Nursery and Hillside Nursery in Massachusetts and Eastern Plant in Maine.

Profits from these sales help fund our educational outreach including speakers at our meetings, programs and walks, our publication, WildFloraRI, and our annual grant to individuals engaged in work to study and preserve native plants. Moreover, the sales themselves are a major opportunity for us to educate the public and bring attention to the importance of native plants.  Most of the plants sold would not be available through local sources.  Working together on the sale is a great and fun way to meet other RIWPS members and become an active part of our organization.  Please think about signing up next year.

Linda McDaniel, Plant Sale Committee Chair

If you are interested in joining the Plant Sale Committee please contact me at plantsales@riwps.org