2017 Native Plant Sale Underway in Clinton County

The Clinton County Master Gardeners have begun their annual Native Plant Sale with the release of the 2017 order form and an announcement that they have added native trees and shrubs as well as two new wildflower seed mixes to their offerings. Also new for 2017, they have expanded their selection of native perennials and all plants will now be sold in pots.

Native plants play an important role in sustaining wildlife, especially pollinating insects, which face threats from land development, pesticides, loss of habitat, and diseases. They are sometimes difficult to find in local greenhouses and garden centers.   The Clinton County Master Gardeners want to make it easier for local residents to obtain the native trees, shrubs, and perennials that can help sustain pollinators as well as beneficial insects and other wildlife.

Native trees and shrubs are especially valuable because they offer shelter and nesting materials and often flower much earlier than many perennials, thereby providing early sources of food. According to the Pennsylvania Native Plant Society, a native oak tree can support over 500 species of moths and butterflies.  Native trees  and shrubs included in this year’s sale catalog include Red Maple (Acer rubrum), Redbud (Cercis canadensis), Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) , Winterberry (Ilex verticillata), Spicebush (Lindera benzoin), Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), Red Oak (Quercus rubra), Virginia Rose (Rosa virginiana),  Pussy Willow (Salix discolor), and Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum).  They will be available in #1 and #2 sized pots.

This year’s offerings include two types of Milkweed, Asclepias syriaca and Asclepias tuberosa.  Both serve as host plants for butterfly larvae.  Other host plants available this year are Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis), Wild columbine,(Aquilegia canadensis), Golden Zizia (Zizia aurea), False Indigo (Baptisia Australis), Perennial Sunflower (Helianthus), Blue Mistflower (Eupatorium coelestinum), Smooth Blue Aster (Aster laevis), New England Aster (Aster novae-angliae), and Aromatic Aster (Aster oblongifolium).  Rounding out the selection of native plants are Woodland Phlox (Phlox divaricata), Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), Joe Pye (Eupatorium dubium), and Blazing Star (Liatris spicata). They will be available in various sizes of peat pots.

The sale catalog includes plants that bloom at various times throughout the season to provide constant sources of food for pollinators and beauty in home landscapes.  The Master Gardeners recommend planting in clumps or drifts made up of several plants of the same variety.

In addition to helping pollinators, native plants can be part of a move toward more environmentally friendly gardening. Native plants tend to require less supplemental watering and fertilizer, and may have better pest and disease resistance than non-natives

The 2017 Clinton County Master Gardener Plant Sale order form, which can be downloaded, includes detailed descriptions of the native perennials, trees, and shrubs available as well as ordering instructions. Those unable to download the order form may request one by calling the Clinton County Master Gardener hotline at (570) 726-0022, extension 3826 and leaving a call-back message.  A Master Gardener will return the call and send out an order form.  Through the hotline number, Master Gardeners are available to answer questions about incorporating native plants into backyards and landscapes.  They can also help gardeners and homeowners with strategies for meeting other pollinator needs such water, shelter, and safe habitat and provide information on environmentally friendly approaches to gardening and landscaping.

The Clinton County Master Gardeners are encouraging local residents who want to help pollinators to consider having their gardens certified as “Pollinator Friendly Gardens”.   A pollinator friendly garden provides the food, water, shelter and pesticide-free environment necessary to protect pollinators.  Master Gardeners can help individuals review the pollinator friendly garden certification application and select plants that will meet both homeowners' and pollinators’ needs.  All of the native plants offered through the Clinton County Master Gardener plant sale can be found on the list of pollinator friendly plants on the certification application.

Orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. Plant orders will be available for pick up at the annual Clinton County Master Gardener Plant Sale which will be held on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at the Clinton County Extension Office, 47 Cooperation Lane, Mill Hall, PA 17751. In addition to native trees, shrubs, and perennials, Master Gardeners will offer transplants from their own gardens as well as gift baskets on the day of the sale.  They will also be available to answer questions.