Native plant sale at East Coast Garden Center coincides with powwow

On Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 8 and 9, East Coast Garden Center will hold its third annual Native Plant Sale, in honor of the Nanticoke Indian Powwow, which will be held the same days.

“We decided to do it in support of the powwow and just as a cutesy, fun thing to do,” said Katie Ditmer, assistant manager at the garden center. “The powwow is right down the street from us, and that goes on that weekend, so we put it in correspondence with that.”

Ditmer said that early fall is a great time to start planning with and planting natives plants.

“It’s a good time to start planning. Anything really — shrubs, perennials — but natives is just something a lot of people don’t go around searching for.”

During the two-day sale, all native plants — including winterberries, joe pye weed, sweetbay magnolias, butterfly weed and lobelia — will be 15 percent off.

“We also have beach plum,” said Ditmer. “You can actually make a beach plum jam out of it. We have a recipe for it.”

Ditmer said that native plants are essential to the area’s wildlife.

“It’s to help keep the invasives out and for wildlife, birds and insects, to keep them around. It’s just mostly to stick with the natural environment. Natives are what you want to keep around.”

She noted that education is key in helping bring native plants back into their natural environment.

“People coming in from other areas, buying new homes down here, they get the standard packaged landscape. I don’t think it’s more than education. People aren’t educated in what is native and why to plant native.”

Ditmer added that many people have a negative association with native plants.

“I also think that when people think when they hear the word native, they think of being straggly, not a quality plant material. Natives tend to be neglected and may not look like a beautiful shrub you want for your front yard. With proper care and maintenance, they’ll look beautiful.”

Ditmer said that many people look forward to the sale each year and should be sure to take advantage of the center’s helpful and knowledgeable staff.

“People enjoy it. I think there are some that look forward to it and wait around to get their natives then,” she said. “We have an extremely knowledgeable staff that can answer any questions you might have, from insects to diseases, to watering, to sunlight. Don’t be afraid to ask a question. Even if we don’t know, we’ll get an answer.”

East Coast Garden Center is located at 30366 Cordrey Road, in Millsboro. For more information, call (302) 945-3489 or visit