5.23.12 Long Island Native Plant Initiative Plant Sale

Gardeners are increasingly “going green” by using less chemicals and planting vegetable gardens.  Native plants help the environment and save money.  The 4th Annual Long Island Native Plant Initiative (LINPI) plant sale is the perfect place to get inspired and choose native plants like New England Aster or Eastern Prickly Pear, which is Long Island’s only native cactus.  Native grasses, like Little Bluestem and Switch Grass will also be available for sale.  The 2012 sale will take place on June 1-2 and June 8-9 from 9 am to 1 pm at the greenhouse at Suffolk Community College’s Riverhead Campus.  Garden lovers will find plants in various stages of growth.
Polly Weigand, founder and coordinator of the Long Island Native Plant Initiative explained “LINPI’s mission is to ensure the commercial availability of genetically native plant materials and support Long Island’s nursery and landscaping industry.  Our annual plant sale and benefit serves as a progressive opportunity for local nurseries and garden centers to diversity their native plant offerings and for home owners to support the efforts of LINPI by purchasing native plants.”

For those cultivating any garden—either as an ornamental landscape, a restoration project, or stabilizing a steep slope—the sale will offer a wide selection.  An array of over 30 attractive Long Island and Staten Island genetically native flowering plants and grasses propagated from seed harvested from the natural landscape are available for purchase. Special wholesale pricing and special orders are extended to commercial nursery industry.  Highlights of the offerings of perennial wildflowers are New York Ironweed, Virginia Mountain Mint, Hairy White Field Aster, and the true native Black Eyed Susan. Some of the popular grasses you will see are Big bluestem, Purple love grass, and Indian grass.

Shoppers can also pick up gardening tips and expert advice on topics ranging from invasive species identification to plant handling from the volunteers and staff members who will be on hand at the sale.  Weigand stated, “Our plants are unique as they are truly native to Long Island! They are propagated from seed harvested locally making them the most environmentally and ecologically adapted to Long Island’s conditions. The benefit to the homeowner is they require little to no amendments but add beauty to your landscape.”

Weigand added, “We first started to propagate native grasses to protect the genetic integrity and heritage of Long Island’s native plant populations. In our seventh year we continue to foster a demand for native wildflowers and shrubs and support the nursery industry to ensure a regular commercial supply of genetically local native plants. The ecotypic (genetically native) plant materials we provide can serve as alternatives to invasive species. They are also becoming a part of nearly every landscape design because of their low maintenance and drought resistance.”

“Landowners that use native plants are going to have less to maintain in their landscape and save money on maintenance as well as help the environment,” said Paul Anderson the cooperative’s Vice President. “Native plants do not require the rigorous application of fertilizers and other chemicals that many gardeners mistakenly use. They also do not require much water or upkeep after the first year or two after planting. In fact, many of the plants we sell have deep roots and will prevent weed growth. ”

The plant sale is a fundraiser for LINPI’s all-volunteer cooperative effort of over thirty non-profit organizations, governmental agencies, nursery professionals, and citizens.  All proceeds will benefit LINPI’s program to help preserve Long Island’s biodiversity by providing truly native plant materials to the nursery and landscaping industry and general public.  If you have any questions about the plant sale, would like to make an appointment, or are interested in becoming a LINPI volunteer, please contact Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District at (631) 727- 2315×3 or by email at Polly.Weigand@suffolkcountyny.gov.

This Week’s Results

Dissolved Oxygen: The Dissolved Oxygen readings were in the 7.0 – 9.0 range.   A reading above 5 mg/L is considered healthy for marine life.

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Our water quality monitoring season began on April 16th and will continue until the end of October!  If you would like to become one of our water quality monitoring volunteers, are interested in other ways of assisting in our effort to preserve and protect the waters of the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor estuary, or want to report an activity that may be threatening the estuary/watershed please visit us online at www.friendsofthebay.org or give us a call at 516-922-6666.  Friends of the Bay’s mission is to preserve, protect and restore the ecological integrity and productivity of the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor estuary and the surrounding watershed.