Spring is in full bloom and, as are many local area businesses, the Cape Fear Botanical Garden is gearing up for the Dogwood Festival, and its third annual plant sale during Fayetteville’s quintessential springtime event.
    “The plant sale used to be part of  our May Day event, and we would sell the plants there,” explained the garden’s development officer, Angela Dennis. “We had such a high demand for things that we decided to branch off and make it its own event.” {mosimage}
    Since that time, the garden has held the plant sale in conjunction with the Dogwood Festival.
Each year, the garden’s expert grounds staff propagates plants for the sale in their own greenhouses. “We also partner with local gardens, nurseries and plant societies, and they too will bring out plants,” said Dennis. She said that, while some of the local nurseries can’t be at the event, they will often donate flowers or shrubs to increase the plant offerings. Each year, the sale has a huge selection of plants, including a variety of annuals, perennials, herbs, shrubs, trees and tropical plants. “It’s a real conglomeration of local offerings,” she added.
    The garden’s talented staff of plant specialists, as well as master gardeners who volunteer at the garden, will be roaming customer service experts. They are there to help people select plants, answer questions about particular plants and to offer free, helpful advice as to where to plant them.
    This year, because of the drought, the theme of the plant sale is “Waterwise Gardening.” There will be a special emphasis on drought tolerant plants, including many native to the area. “Not only will there be experts around to answer questions,” Dennis said, “but we will also give out educational materials about water wise gardening.”
    The garden will also have a DVD demonstration for sale on how to build your own rain barrel. “You can buy the DVD, which comes with a supply list so you know exactly what supplies and parts to buy and it’s very easy to follow,” said Dennis.
    Roger Mercer, a local horticulturalist well known for cultivating day lilies, is going to give away one of the flowering plants to everyone who signs up for a garden membership at the plant sale. “That’s a big deal,” Dennis exclaimed, “His day lilies are prized and very unique. Last year, 60 people signed up, just for the day lilies.”
      “The plant sale meets with our mission of educating and promoting environmental awareness,” explained Dennis. “We’re very lucky because a lot of the people who will have plants for sale here will donate a portion of their proceeds to the garden. So it really helps us out.”
    The annual plant sale at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden is not a part of the facility’s Campaign for Natural Growth, which was launched during the Fall ’07 season. She said that the plant sale is “a great way for us to get out into the community and reach a group of people that we normally might not reach.”
So far, funding for the Campaign for Natural Growth has been steady and successful. About the Campaign for Natural Growth, she said: “Things are going really well and we’re excited about the progress.” Dennis stated. “We’re looking forward to what the future holds for the garden.”
    The Spring Plant Sale is slated for Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. As one of the Fayetteville Dogwood Festival’s official sanctioned events, it is free to the public and will be held rain or shine. For more information, contact Cape Fear Botanical Garden at 486-0221 or on the Web at www.capefearbg.org. The Cape Fear Botanical Garden is located at 536 N. Eastern Blvd.

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