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Native plant sale good for the environment, good for planters

By Staff | Jul 27, 2009

Native plant sellers towed their trees, shrubs and flowering plants to Rotary Park Saturday morning, hoping to share their horticultural passions with Cape Coral residents during one of the city’s periodic native plant sales.
At least 100 or so varieties of native plants, grown and sold by about a half dozen vendors, lined an open expanse of the park typically used for the sales.
“There were fewer (buyers) this time, but there were good deals to buy,” said volunteer naturalist ‘Botany’ Bob Dennis. “The suppliers here have very healthy materials, and that’s good.”
Dennis said native plants are enticing to Florida residents because they attract butterflies and birds, don’t require frequent watering and don’t suffer from some of the diseases and problems of non-native plants.
“It’s really a good deal for the natural environment and it’s a good deal for the Florida homeowner because they can go away and leave these plants and when they come back they’re still healthy and good,” Dennis said.
Nectar and milkweed plants are popular because, “It takes a combination of both those to attract butterflies,” he said. “There’s a lot of interest in that.”
Also notable were varieties of Bonsai plants and hedge plants.
“In Cape Coral, a good hedge plant makes for a really good neighbor,” Dennis said.
Dennis said native plants are typically sold at the Rotary Park in April and July because the rainy season is the best time to plant them.
Though Cape residents John Murray and Rimma Vizhgorodsky didn’t purchase any plants–they’ll be out of town temporarily and wouldn’t be able to care for them–they did gain perspective on what types of plants they’d like to buy in the future.
“You want all the stuff you see up north and in other countries and all, but not all of it grows here,” Murray said. “You have to find out what are the Florida native plants, the drought tolerant ones and the ones that can live in the rain.”
Murray and Vizhgorodsky have lived in Southwest Florida for about five years, and have visited the native plant sale once before.
“We’re interested in natural plants and flora to see what’s better planted in Florida,” Vizhgorodsky said. “I love all kinds of plants, Orchids especially. I think it’s very calming, potting and planting and discovering different things and trying to criss-cross different breeds.”
The two said they’d likely return when the Cape holds its next native plant sale.