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Native Plant Sale Saturday

By Staff | Jul 25, 2013

The annual Summer Native Plant Sale will be Saturday at Rotary Park Environmental Center.

Sponsored by the Cape Coral Parks and Recreation Department and the Coccoloba Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, the sale is free and open to the public. It runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“We’re trying to encourage people to plant plants that are native to our location because, generally speaking, they are better for the environment,” Katie Locklin, a city recreation specialist, said.

“They grow well here,” she added.

Native plants are accustomed to Southwest Florida’s heavy rains, high temperatures and local wildlife, while non-native plants may require some assistance to thrive, like the use of fertilizers or pesticides.

“We encourage people to go native with their plants, so they don’t have to do that,” Locklin said.

Native plant experts and local growers will be on hand to help visitors choose the right plants. There will be a huge selection and wide variety of trees, shrubs, wild flowers and ground covers for sale.

“All in one place,” she said.

Ground covers are alternatives to grass or lawn.

“You can mow it; you can walk on it. It’s just not grass,” Locklin said.

Three local nurseries are supplying the plants.

According to Locklin, native plant growers do not use fertilizers or pesticides – harmful insects are actually handpicked from plants – resulting in a final product that is more desirable to wildlife.

The critters can range from birds and butterflies, to tortoises.

Shoppers are urged to come early for the best selection of plants.

“You don’t have to buy anything,” she said. “It doesn’t cost anything to look around.”

“They’re beautiful plants, the native plants,” Locklin added.

There will be 1-gallon, 3-gallon, 5-gallon and 7-gallon plants available.

“Prices range from $4 to $80,” she said. “They’re very affordable.”

Butterfly plants are usually the hot commodity.

“Every year there’s different stuff. Plants you won’t find anywhere else,” Locklin said.

She added that it is the perfect season to plant.

“Mother Nature will take care of your plants once you get them in the ground,” Locklin said.

The sale will also feature a rain barrel workshop at 9 a.m. hosted by Lee County.

“Sometimes they have extra rain barrels to sell afterward,” she said.

To register for the workshop, contact Tom Becker at (239) 533-7515 or (239) 533-7523.

The deadline to sign up is today at 4 p.m.

For information about the Summer Native Plant Sale, call (239) 549-4606.

Rotary Park is at 5505 Rose Garden Road.

The park covers 97 acres and features mostly salt marsh and some uplands. It also has a dog park, a 4,200-square-foot environmental center, the Liam J. Perk Playground, a butterfly house and more.

Rotary park is open seven days a week from dawn to dusk.