Monday, October 20, 2014

Growing Hope

I pulled into the parking lot, squinting at the line of cars in front of me.  It was nothing like this last year, I thought, as the day-glow clad volunteers waved me forward.  "To the far back parking lot," the gentleman advised.  "All the front are full."


I parked and trekked toward the sale, striking up a conversation with another patron.  He was here because his county offered rebates for transitioning lawns to native plants.  We parted ways at the entrance and wended our way through the crowded aisles.


A sign near the front boasted a talk on "The Connection Between Native Plants and Pollinators."

Further inside, several folks bent over pots at the end of one aisle.  A bearded man with a "Volunteer" apron wowed the growing crowd with a tale of a monarch butterfly laying eggs on this species in his own garden.  "I'll take four," one woman announced.  Two others began scooping up plants.

Monarch butterfly on California native milkweed.

A young woman, her toddler in tow, grabbed a volunteer in front of me.  "We are already sold out of huckleberry," she was informed.  "Wait, any other plants for birds?" She left go of her daughter's hand to fish out a dog-eared list from her purse.

This year, the native plant society stocked more plants than they ever had before.  Even so, I was lucky to get the last of the coyote mint, its scent wafting through the sale as I carried my treasures to the front.


Last year, plant sale volunteers had commented on the record number of visitors at the sale.  This year, they were simply speechless.  The drought has created a wave of gardeners "going native".  Some are motivated by rebates.  My community, however, has no rebates but does have a plethora of newly native gardens.  Local nurseries are expanding their selection.  What was once half a table is now four tables, the banner out front proclaiming, "We Carry California Natives."

Amidst bad news, another year of drought forecast, the proliferation of climate change denial, an island of trash the size of Texas, plummeting pollinator populations . . . amidst all this, there is something more.

Hummingbird on drought tolerant California fuchsia. 

There are people who refuse to give up.  Who wage war against climate change with a colorful California flower that attracts hummingbirds.  Who fight habitat loss from industrial agriculture by planting mountains of milkweed.  Who put their money - and their yards - where their mouths are.  There are people who grow hope.  Are you one of them?

My haul, destined for my own native plant garden.

Fall is a great time to plant natives in most of the country.  Local fauna have adapted to local plants for thousands of years.  Help local wildlife by going native.

This post is part of the Homestead Barn HopBackyard Farming ConnectionMaple Hill Hop, and Tuesday Garden Party.

13 comments:

Sara Vartanian said...

This post left me with goosebumps! It celebrates the simple changes we can all make to fight climate change and support habitats. Thank you for sharing.

Betsy Escandon said...

I agree -- wonderful to see people taking action.

Leigh @greenforu said...

Were all these plants free? Even if they were not this is still an amazing thing.

It is great to see people paying attention to this important topic... to bad it is because of a drought.

I wish we had a native plant sale on the East Coast!

Lindsay said...

Native plant sales are such a simple way to rebuild our ecosystems!

Green Bean said...

@Sara: Wow, thank you! It is just so nice to know that we are not alone in this.

@Betsy: I was really heartened by the actions of all the other patrons.

@Leigh: No, the plants were for sale as part of a fundraiser for the local native plant society. They raise money that is used for education and restoration of local habitat. If you are interested in native plant sales, check and see if you have any local native plant societies. I am aware of several native plant sales in coastal East Coast and some in the mid-west.

@Lindsay: You said it!

Lisa said...

Oklahoma has also been in a drought, nothing like our drought in 2011 but it's still pretty bad. Since 2011 I have really been trying to plant native, drought resistant, and/or heat tolerant plants. Lavender has been what I've had the most luck with.

Anne said...

Yes, I planted milkweed from my local friend's plant in hopes of more butterfly friendly plants in our yard too. This native plant trend is a very hopeful sign! I like your storytelling here.

Green Bean said...

@Lisa: That is great. Lavender is very good for pollinators and not thirsty at all.

@Anne: Thank you so much. I hope you have luck with the milkweed. I first started planting 3 years ago and had a monarch stop and lay eggs this year! Woohoo!

Anna (Green Talk) said...

I love native plants and have so many of them. I wish some of those beautiful zone 8 plants could live in my garden.

Oh, and the best ones are the ones the birds drop. I found goldenrod the other day and I know I didn't plant it.

Anna (Green Talk) said...

I love native plants and have so many of them. I wish some of those beautiful zone 8 plants could live in my garden.

Oh, and the best ones are the ones the birds drop. I found goldenrod the other day and I know I didn't plant it.

Anna (Green Talk) said...

I love native plants and have so many of them. I wish some of those beautiful zone 8 plants could live in my garden.

Oh, and the best ones are the ones the birds drop. I found goldenrod the other day and I know I didn't plant it.

daisy g said...

So glad to see folks planting natives and pollinator-attractors. In my county, we have one native nursery, and it is not open to the public except by appointment. I get my natives from the local extension center when they have their twice-yearly plant sales. Natives are the best thing to do for your garden, the critters and the planet. I'll be praying for rain for y'all!
Thank you for sharing this valuable outdoor post on this week's Maple Hill Hop!

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