WILMINGTON — The New Hanover County Arboretum will celebrate the region’s vibrant array of indigenous plants by hosting the third annual Native Plant Festival. Food trucks, live music and guest speakers will constitute the occasion commemorating the flora that surrounds the Cape Fear area.
The event is expected to draw those who are looking to gain more knowledge on how to improve their own gardens and anyone who simply wishes to learn more about the environment. But, knowledge isn’t all that’s up for grabs at the celebration.
There will be a rain-barrel door prize giveaway and a seed swap. Aside from that, this kid-friendly bash will offer crafts to make, and to take home.
Susan Brown, consumer horticulture agent for New Hanover County said, in years past, the event pulled in more people than she and the other festival board members expected. So this year, the board has booked more plant retailers and food trucks, so guests have plenty of options if they stop by for a visit.
The cuisine will be provided by three food trucks and, Brown said, “we’re gonna have eight plant vendors, which is the highest number of plant vendors we’ve had. So, that’s just more opportunity for people to get what they want plant-wise.”
Why is the demand so high for the same plants that can easily be seen on any drive around Wilmington? For starters, the plants are easier to maintain. Also, cultivating greenery that is native to the region is an aid to preserving the area’s natural landscape.
According to Audubon.org, growing native plants is a step toward protecting the biodiversity of rapidly urbanizing areas, since insects and animals correspondingly rely on the assortment of vegetation.
Brown said the driving force behind this gathering is to educate anyone who wants to learn. To do so, there will be a speaker every hour, on the hour to cover topics from “early women botanists” to “weird native plants.”
Several organizations came together to sponsor this educational festivity. There will be booths set up for guests to chat with and have their gardening questions answered by members of nonprofit organizations focused on the natural environment.
Visitors can expect to see representatives from the Cape Fear Audubon Society, Cape Fear’s Going Green, the Master Gardner Volunteer Association, and more.
The event will take place this Saturday, Sept. 16, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Arboretum. Admission is free. For details, visit its website.