2021 Plant Sale Gardening Resources

   Native Plant Sale Homepage


Return to the main sale page.

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   Our Native Plant Catalog


View our garden kits and additional species for sale
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   Native Garden Planning Resources


Learn how to make the most of your native plantings at home.

 The Native Plant Sale Community Partners


GSWA is thankful to the participation and support of our community partners to helping organize, publicize and deliver logistical support for this plant sale.
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Why we need native plants

Doug Tallamy of the University of Delaware has done an outstanding job of translating complex ecosystem science into a clear and simple explanation of why native plant communities are essential. Excellent webinars, articles, books and links to many other excellent resources are available at: Homegrown National Park.

Gardening for Life by Doug Tallamy

Are You on the Map? Is your native pollinator garden on the map? Add your location to this interactive map and join this citizen science effort to create more pollinator friendly habitat across the nation.


“Quick Start” Gardening Guides

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Going Native: A Guide to Landscaping with Native Plants in Northern New Jersey 
(download PDF here)

  • This printable guide from Jersey-Friendly Yards crisply summarizes 49 locally appropriate native plants species (including nine of the 18 plants offered in this sale). For each plant it includes height, bloom time and color, sunlight requirements, soil and moisture requirements, wildlife support, and deer resistance.
  • It also includes 8 tips towards success and links to several very helpful sites if you want to go deeper.

Creating Your Own Native Garden Design


Preparing a new native plant bed in an existing lawn

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There’s no better way to start than with the lasagna method. Also known as sheet mulching, the lasagna method is a back-saving “no-dig” strategy that kills unwanted weeds and grass by blocking out sunlight, allowing everything to die and decompose without lifting a shove and importantly, without disturbing the soil and stirring up the weed seed bank..

  • Start by running your mower over the area you’d like to transform. If you’re creating a new bed, use your garden hose or a length of rope to create the outline of the garden.

  • Once you’ve got a shape you like, begin covering the area with tapeless clean cardboard or 5 to 8 sheets of newspaper. (Use plain cardboard or regular newsprint, but don’t use the glossy pages.) Overlap the edges of the cardboard and/or paper to close up gaps so that the turf is solidly covered. And keep water handy so you can wet it down as you go, so it won’t blow away.

  • Once the cardboard or paper is laid out and wet, cover it with about 3-4 inches of composted mulch. No soil amendments, no fertilizer. Native plants grow best in simple soils.

If you use this method in the spring and summer it takes at least a month, usually two, to kill enough weeds and turf. Then you can dig spot planting holes straight through to put in your new plants. Minimum effort, minimum soil disturbance, and great results.

(Adapted from an article by Hennepin County Master Gardener Meleah Maynard)


Planting your plugs

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  • Until your plugs are in ground, make sure they stay moist (but not drowned).
  • The only tool you need is a garden knife, trowel, or light-weight one hand pick.

  • Lay out where you want to place which plugs.

  • Dig a hole the plug will fit.

  • Plant the plug so that the top of the plug lines up with the top of the soil and tamp the soil around it so that the dirt is packed against the roots.

  • Water it in.


If it will be a while before you can get your plugs in the ground

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  • Keep plugs in a spot with enough sun and also protection from late season night-time freezes and high winds.

  • Keep them moist but not over-watered.

  • If this may be a long time, to avoid exhausting the roots keep the growing plants trimmed back to about 6-12 inches and pinch off flowers before they bloom. We can’t make guarantees, but with proper care landscape plugs should stay healthy for many weeks

To explore other native plants for your garden

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  • Jersey Friendly Yards   This user-friendly site helps you quickly find and learn about native plants that fit your local garden.
  • Native Plant Society of NJ  The many NPSNJ members are knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and love to share. Their website has excellent NJ information and offers a host of great webinars.
  • LadyBird Johnson Wildflower Center  This is a go-to resource for accessible information on over 25000 native plants.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ

Native plant gardens are valuable water managers to the extent that they partially replace lawns. Lawns are green, but not very helpful to the watershed.

Lawn management uses pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers that migrate into our groundwater, streams and rivers. Mowed lawns have shallow roots and often require irrigation, adding demand on our water supply. Your native plant garden requires no pesticides, herbicides or fertilizer and once the roots are established also requires no watering.

Shallow-rooted lawns are also not very effective at helping the soil absorb rainfall, allowing heavy rainfall to quickly become stormwater runoff. In contrast deeply rooted native plant gardens and woodlots with ground plantings and leaf litter blankets make the ground dramatically more permeable and materially reduce stormwater runoff. This is why native herbaceous and woody plants are used in rain gardens. Your native plant garden provides the same permeability in an area that used to be lawn.

Nurseries grow plants in trays of plugs that are designed to develop a strong, healthy and untangled root system.

Landscape plugs are extra large plugs that provide mature plants robust enough to plant directly into the landscape, an efficient alternative to container plants. This size plug is 2” x 2” across and 5” deep. The roots are substantial.

Native perennials invest in developing robust roots before investing in rich foliage and flowers. The root systems in landscape plugs enable many species to be impressive the first season after planting. There are some species that may still take another year to impress, but it is still a much shorter timeframe than other similar cost approaches.

Landscape plugs are particularly appropriate for native plants, which grow best in native soils and not in enriched soils. The landscape plug’s strong roots reach immediately into the native soils.

North Creek Landscape Plugs ™ vs. Larger Containers
  • Reduced media volume results in quicker establishment and acclimation to native soils

  • Landscape Plug™ tray design and growing practices result in greater root mass

  • Root channels, tapered cells and drainage holes direct roots to one point for air pruning, resulting in dramatically reduced root circling

From the Northcreek Landscape Plug Manual

These photos show a lawn area in Morristown converted to a pollinator garden using landscape plugs in 2020. These photos are showing the garden’s rate of growth from June to September, although in different views. The plugs were planted in late June because the bed was not ready earlier.

Plugs just planted…

June 28, 2020                              July 17, 2020                                September 21, 2020

      

None of our suppliers use neonicotinoids, which are systemic pesticides whose residuals can remain toxic to pollinators for months and sometimes years.

We are only offering plants that are considered “deer resistant”. Unfortunately no plants are “deer proof”– deer in different areas develop different tastes, and a “deer resistant” plant in one town may be a “deer snack” in another.

Plants seem to be most vulnerable in the spring when they are small and also when new fauns start to learn to feed themselves.

Our recommendation is to monitor your young plants. If you see nibbling or if deer have been a problem, use deer repellent in spring and early summer to train the deer to try someplace else.

All of these landscape plugs are sourced from wholesale native plant nurseries in New Jersey or eastern Pennsylvania. They are “ecotypes” suitable for our area.

The wholesale native plant nurseries for our Spring 2021 sale are New Moon Nursery in Woodstock, NJ and Kind Earth Growers in Ottsville, PA. We are grateful for their commitment to local ecotype native plants.