Native Plants at the Master Gardener Plant Sale

by Marissa Caminiti, UMaine Extension Administrative Specialist, Cumberland County

Where can a gardener go to grow a thriving, easy, inexpensive garden which helps native pollinators?

     Come to the Master Gardener Plant Sale! Master Gardeners are a wealth of knowledge on the selection and care of plants. Any Master Gardener will say, plants tend to do better in the habitats they are native to. This year, Master Gardeners have carefully selected a variety of exceptional native plants and perennials that already belong in Maine for their Annual Master Gardener Plant Sale.

In recent weeks, the Master Gardener Volunteers have orchestrated digging parties in their own backyards. They’ve divided and transplanted some of their favorite plants for the Plant Sale. They’ve also planned a special selection of native shrubs, trees, and perennials. Most plants are under $10, with the exception of some unique lilies, unusual cultivars, and larger shrubs.

Priscilla Nicholson, Master Gardener Volunteer, explains that people within the community have become increasingly interested in Permaculture. More people are gaining a local awareness of the climate. A common question she receives is, “What can grow well here and why?” Priscilla answers, “Native plants are beautiful, natural resources. They also save time and money. That’s why people live here in Maine, for the natural beauty. A non-native plant will not typically attract local wildlife and supply them with food. Native plants are instinctively better because they are more successful, they use less water, and they are less expensive.”

     This year’s plant sale will feature native plants that have not been offered before:

  • Spicebush Lindera benzoin – A native substitute for the non-native Forsythia. An especially notable native shrub. It is uncommon and has very particular growing preferences, so it’s important to plant in the right place and tend well.  Information about Spicebush was written by Kookie McNerney, Home Horticulture Coordinator, in our Home Garden News “Lindera Benzoin”: A Rare but Useful Shrub.
  • Common Ninebark Physocarpus opulifolius – An ornamental native substitute for the common non-native Spirea
  • Redosier Dogwood Cornus sericea – A native plant useful for bank stabilization and the prevention of water erosion.
  • Witch hazel Hamamelis virginiana – A large native shrub, with fall flowers, useful in a border, woodland garden, screen or tall hedge.

The Master Gardener Plant Sale is your one stop shop for native plants, perennials and other garden needs this season. All proceeds support the Norman Steele Seed Grants which fund Master gardener projects across Cumberland County.

We hope to see you there!

Saturday, May 18th
8am – Noon
Barron Center
1145 Brighton Ave, Portland, ME

For more information: Plants for the Maine Landscape