Gardeners to go wild at first-ever plant sale

by Bruce Mason
Staff writer

The growing number of people who are curious about incorporating native plants into their gardens will have a unique opportunity when the UBC Botanical Garden hosts the Lower Mainland's first-ever Native Plant Celebration and Sale, Sunday, March 28.

"The growing interest in plants that are indigenous to B.C. is more than a gardening fad -- it's a long-term trend," says Rozalyn Harris, Friends of the Garden co-ordinator and co-organizer of the event. "We want to help promote this interest and raise awareness of native plants and habitats."

The timely event, which takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the garden, is the first major local plant sale of the year.

The event features free admission, tours of UBC's Native Garden and exhibits by organizations. South Coast nurseries will be selling native plants and seeds, many of which are available only in the wholesale market.

"It's a broad-based, community driven event," says co-organizer, Ross Waddell, secretary of the Native Plant Society of British Columbia and program consultant for the City of Vancouver.

The society promotes the use of native species in urban landscapes. The city encourages ecological landscaping using native plants to help conserve water.

Plants featured will include everything from vine maples to bunchberry and other charming groundcovers, such as native ginger. Many species of shooting star (Dodecatheon) grow around B.C. So do trilliums, penstemons, lilies, ferns and other ideal garden plants.

"Living things are getting lost in the urban shuffle," says Paulus Vrijmoed of Linnaea Nurseries Ltd., a specialist in native plants. "Incorporating native plants takes gardeners beyond simply painting a pretty picture to recreating habitats that evolved with local insects, butterflies and birds."

UBC researchers have a long association finding, identifying and cultivating native plants. Many native species are selected by the Botanical Garden for development as cultivars and introduced to commercial nurseries in B.C. and around the world.

The Native Plant Celebration and Sale is at the UBC Botanical Garden, 6804 Southwest Marine Dr. Call 604-822-9666, or (604) 420-4584 for more information.

The event is sponsored by the City of Vancouver Waterworks Design, Water Conservation Program.