West Newbury Garden Club sale May 21 | News

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WEST NEWBURY — As backyard gardeners begin hauling out their favorite trowels and pruners once again, the West Newbury Garden Club and West Newbury Wild and Native are teaming up to offer tips and supplies for homeowners to attract more beneficial wildlife to their fields.

Bees, birds, and other critters keep the ecosystem healthy. In some areas, there is a shortage of bees that has required farmers to start trucking them onto their land.

“Without bees, there is no fruit — imagine no crisp apples, fragrant honey, or strawberry shortcake,” says member Karen Claggett. “And, there are no beautiful spring blossoming fruit trees.”

A healthy garden is a bird-friendly one, where wildfowl help to disseminate seeds and snack on garden pests as tasty snacks.

“A favorite walk takes me on the Newburyport biking/walking trail from High Street to Parker Street in Newbury where I pass a wonderful butterfly garden,” Clagett notes. The spot is dedicated to attracting the Monarch butterfly, which she describes as perhaps the best known — and certainly one of the most beautiful butterflies. “In the summer, that garden blazes with blooms,” says Claggett.

A significant number of plants offered at the Garden Club’s annual plant sale on the Training Field this year are native to the area and tailored to the needs of birds and bees.

Choices will include tall plants for the back of the garden; miniatures and ground covers for the front; shade-loving natives for those hard to cover spots with little sun or an overhanging tree; as well as those hardy sun-loving plants. Examples of contributions local gardeners have donated in the past include May apple, ostrich ferns, Canadian ginger, Jack-in-the-pulpit, and Dutchman’s breeches. Additional offerings this year may include cardinal flower, butterfly weed and Bee Balm. Witch hazel, service berry, and common spice bush are among the shrubs that could be available; and Gray dogwoods, beach plums, and hazelnut are examples of trees.

While natives tend to need less watering, fertilizing, and fussing, many plants need pollinators to flourish. Incorporating some of these plants into a home garden will ensure it thrives to the sounds of buzzing bees and singing birds. “When we enjoy a garden, we aren’t just looking at plants, we are smelling them and listening to the sounds of life around them,” Claggett contends, “And just imagine — the more gardens that attract bees and birds, the more flowers we will have and birdsong we will hear. Adding natives helps the circle of life that brings joy and beauty.”

The Garden Club plant sale is May 21 from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Training Field adjacent to G.A.R. Memorial Library, 490 Main St. Garden Club members who have already started to add natives in their own gardens will be available at the sale to give advice and answer questions.

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