Go native

Vine Hill manzanita will be among the shrubs available at the Fall Plant Sale on Sept. 21. (Photo courtesy of UC Davis Arboretum)

Native plants are good for animals and save water

Do something for local wildlife. Plant a native.

If you want to help Sacramento birds, bees and butterflies, grow a garden that contains their favorite flowers and plants. Those often are the same plants that grow here naturally.

On Saturday, gardeners can shop an amazing selection of tough and beautiful California native plants proven to thrive in our area as the Sacramento Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society hosts its annual Fall Native Plant Sale and Art Market at Shepard Garden and Arts Center in McKinley Park.

How do you know these natives will like Sacramento? These plants have lived here all their lives, so they’re already accustomed to our climate. The nursery stock offered for sale was grown by Cornflower Farms in Elk Grove, Elderberry Farms in Rancho Cordova and Hedgerow Farms in Winters.

Elderberry, for example, will be bringing more than 110 native plant varieties including 10 different bulb species. Popular manzanitas, California lilacs, buckwheats and milkweed all will be in good supply.

September and October offer ideal planting weather, giving these plants a chance to put down strong roots and get a head start on becoming “established,” a key factor in surviving future droughts.

A lot more than plants will be available at this event. Among the other featured vendors will be ceramic artist Julie Clements of Clay Pigeon Ceramics, Coyote Brush Studios and Wild Jules seed balls.

Why go native?

“Native plants provide a unique caterpillar-host relationship to allow for abundant butterfly and moth populations,” explained Chris Lewis, Elderberry Farms nursery director. “(Natives) provide the best nectar, pollen and habitat for butterflies, bees and birds. They’re naturally low-water use solutions. They do not require chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and give a sense of place that no other plant palette can provide.”

Including California native plants in urban landscapes goes a long ways towards supporting our local ecosystem, providing food and homes to the animal life that also call Sacramento home.

“Our native wildlife is under siege,” Lewis said. “The stresses of habitat loss due to climate disruption, wildfires, drought, invasive species and more are decimating our native species by the thousands.

Naturally drought resistant plants have found a growing niche in California. But they do more than save water, Lewis noted.

“Our gardening practices are changing as we begin to understand that native plants are not only beautiful, they are also essential components of our ecosystems and natural processes,” she said. “By gardening with native plants—no matter where you live or how small or large your space is—you can help sustain wildlife and do your part to help decrease the rate of climate change, and thus its impacts.”

Event details

Fall Native Plan and Art Market

10 a.m.-4 p.m.., Saturday, Sept. 21, Shepard Garden and Arts Center, 3330 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento

Details: SacValleyCNPS.org/ps

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