Sale draws plant lovers to Rotary Park
Residents Dennis and Jenifer Lucey knew what they were looking for Saturday afternoon when they attended the Florida Native Plant Society’s Native Plant Sale at Rotary Park.
“I’m slowly rebuilding my gardens,” Jenifer Lucey said.
The couple recently moved to Cape Coral from Delaware. Their new home has enough mature trees and shrubs on the property, but it is lacking in the area of blooming flowers. When Lucey learned about the annual plant sale, she and her husband decided to stop by and check it out.
“It’s a favorite pastime of mine,” she said of gardening
The Luceys said the sale offered a large selection of plants, shrubs and trees. They picked out a pair of pencil flowers to purchase because the plants are good for ground cover, will spread out and are salt tolerant – the couple’s home is on a canal. They said the sale looked well received.
“I think it’s doing a good job,” she said.
Lucey added that she would recommend the event to anyone interested in gardening.
“For the native Florida plants,” she said. “It’s always good to give back to the same habitat.”
For the Florida Native Plant Society, the event aims to provide a venue for purchasing native plants and for gathering information on topics like fertilizing safely and watering wisely. It also gives ecological and gardening organizations an opportunity to share tips and offer advice.
Rachel Singletary, secretary of the Florida Native Plant Society, called Saturday a success.
“Large crowds and people are buying lots of native plants to replace their burned, dead plants from the winter,” she said.
According to Singletary, native plants help to save the environment and area’s water supply. The plants use less fertilizer and water because they are tolerant of the year-round conditions. Less water is used for watering, which helps to maintain water levels, and less fertilizer means fewer chemicals are introduced to the land and washed into the water supply due to runoff.
Singletary urged all residents to consider investing in native plants at home.
“So that they can have beautiful butterfly plants and have nice landscaping without adding lots of fertilizer and water once the plants are established,” she said.
Fort Myers resident Holly Downing and Cape resident Lori Blydenburgh said their love and interest in native plants brought them out Saturday. Downing was a first-time visitor to the event, which has been running for 14 years. A condo resident, she wanted butterfly plants.
“You get tons of information on what to plant and where,” Downing said.
“And the money goes to a good cause,” she added.
According to Blydenburgh, a regular at the sale, she first became interested in native plants after seeing how well they survived Hurricane Charley. By slowly putting in a few of the plants at a time, she now has a yard filled with birds and butterflies attracted to the native greenery.
“There’s a lot of advantages to having native plants,” she said.
Blydenburgh is currently redoing her backyard and hit the sale to pick out some plants.
“I love native plants,” she said. “I pick up a couple every time.”
The proceeds from the sale benefit the Florida Native Plant Society’s projects. The group used last year’s proceeds to landscape a median on Hancock Bridge Parkway. Singletary said that this year’s proceeds will be used on a landscaping project at the library on Pine Island. The project will teach visitors about native plants and will serve as a model for other Lee County libraries.
The plant sale was co-sponsored by the Cape Coral Parks and Recreation Department.
The Coccoloba Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society meets on the second Thursday each month, September through May, at 6:30 p.m. at Rutenberg Ecological Center in Fort Myers. For information, contact Rachel Singletary at 543-9910.