The James Farm Ecological Preserve will host its annual Native Plant Sale and Green Living Expo this Saturday, May 4, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
In addition to offering a chance to pick up a wagonload of plants and tons of tips for sprucing up your yard, the sale offers a chance to see how the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays has been sprucing up the 150-acre preserve over the past year.
Although the sale begins at 9 a.m., early birds are welcome at 8 a.m. to join a birding tour of the preserve, led by the Sussex Bird Club.
Throughout the sale, there will be free activities for children, as well as an assortment of goodies to eat, for sale from the Good Earth Market.
Plant vendors will include Envirotech Environmental Consulting Inc., Inland Bays Garden Center, Roots Landscaping and Garden Center and Sussex Landscaping L.L.C. Other vendors with information on green living strategies and other topics will include Good Earth Market & Organic Farm, Annie's Acre Apiary, Tall Oak Trading Company, Clean Water: Delaware's Clear Choice, Delaware Nature Society, UD Cooperative Extension, Energize Delaware, Sussex Master Gardeners and Delaware Solid Waste Authority. Dr. Dennis Bartow will be back with his ever-popular insect display.
Native plants are a desirable addition to any outdoor space, because they are adapted to the soil and elements of southern Delaware. That makes them easier to maintain, requiring less water and fertilizer. Since fertilizer is a common source of nutrient pollution in our inland bays, using native plants can help reduce those pollutants.
Pollinators such as honey bees and butterflies, as well as native birds like ruby-throated hummingbirds, eastern bluebirds, northern cardinals, and chickadees also love native plants.
During the past year, the Center for the Inland Bays has begun implementation of its James Farm Master Plan, which was formulated beginning in 2014 to address the needs of the increasingly popular area for hiking and nature observation.
Phase 1 of the plan includes a new driveway and sign at the entrance to the preserve, in addition to a bus drop-off for school groups, enhancements on the events lawn and improvements to the launch points of the trail system.
Phase 2 will include improvements to educational facilities at the James Farm, including addititional seating, gathering and teaching areas that are separate from the maintenance facilities. A permanent restroom is also included in Phase 2, as well as repairs or relocation of some boardwalks that have been failing. Eighteen new signs will be added, the focus of which will be the area’s natural history.
Parking for the plant sale will be on the east side of the James Farm property. Although some vendors do take credit cards, not all do, so the center encourages plant buyers to come prepared to pay cash.
The James Farm Ecological Preserve is located at 30048 Cedar Neck Road, Ocean View. For more information, call the Amy Barra at the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays at (302) 226-8105, ext. 103, or visit the center’s web site at www.inlandbays.org.
By Kerin Magill