Support your favorite organizations with plant sales

Lisa Lightner

I think maybe we have an addition to our family. No, not that kind.

For as long as I can remember, we have a heron that lives across the street from us. He seems to live, or at least frequently hang out, at this one bend in the White Clay Creek tributary that I can see out my front windows. Sometimes we watch him catch fish, sometimes he glides overhead and I wonder where he is going or where he has been. Iíve often wondered what the life span is for a heron, and if over the past 15 years if we are watching one heron or several different ones.

Now Iím wondering if he is actually a she. Just recently, there appears to be a new, smaller, lighter version of this heron, and from what I can tell on websites, would be a juvenile heron. But, I donít know, it doesnít really sync up with what their breeding habits typically are.

Maybe itís two different species, just formed a friendship and now will live at our bend in the creek. Iím eager to see over the next few weeks and months if this new bird sticks around, and if it grows. Most of all, I am just glad that we have an active habitat like this so close to home. Yes, I am concerned about global warming, but scenes like this give me hope.

I hope you had a fun and celebratory Earth Day. In the coming weeks, we have many plant sales coming up, sponsored by some of our favorite local organizations. Skip purchasing your plants at the big box stores, support your local charity instead.

Delaware Nature Society

Plants with year-round interest are the featured attraction at the Delaware Nature Societyís Native Plant Sale. The sale will be April 27 and April 28, with a members-only preview April 25-26, and will be held at Coverdale Farm Preserve in Greenville.

The sale will feature almost 400 varieties of native wildflowers, trees, shrubs, vines, ferns, grasses, sedges and aquatic plants. The theme of this yearís sale, Plants for All Seasons, highlights species such as dwarf fothergilla that provide multi-season garden interest. This shrub enlivens the garden with white bottle-brush flowers in early spring, consistent blue-green foliage in summer and brilliant orange foliage in autumn. Other featured natives with multi-season interest include red chokeberry, beard tongue, oakleaf hydrangea and drooping leucothoe. Some of the plants at this yearís sale are introductions from the Mt. Cuba Center and many of the species attract wildlife such as birds and butterflies.

Public sale hours are Saturday, April 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, April 28 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The members-only preview event is April 25-26, from 3 p.m. - 7 p.m. each day.

London Grove Friends

The annual London Grove Friends Plant Sale will be held on Saturday, May 11 from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. This soup to nuts plant sale features perennials, annuals, hanging baskets, vegetable plants, herbs, native plants, trees, and shrubs. In addition, and as a nod to the origins of the sale, there will be a selection of plants that are hand dug from meeting membersí gardens that is titled the roots of the London Grove Plant Sale. In addition, plant parking is provided so that shoppers can find refreshments, lunch, and perhaps a Motherís Day dessert from the London Grove Friends Kindergarten Bake Sale that will be held in the social room of the meetinghouse in conjunction with the plant sale. All proceeds of the sale are donated to the American Friends Service Committee as well as other Friends and local community organizations.

Brandywine River Museum

Every year, on Motherís Day weekend, the Brandywine Conservancyís garden volunteers celebrate spring with the Wildflower, Native Plant and Seed Sale. The volunteers always present a superb selection of carefully cultivated plants for sale. None of the plants are collected from the wild. Most are propagated by the volunteers themselves, and many are difficult to find in retail garden centers. All are ready for immediate transplanting.

The sale takes place in the Brandywine River Museumís courtyard. Admission is free and all of the proceeds benefit the Conservancyís Wildflower and Native Plant Gardens. At the sale, Conservancy garden staff members and volunteers can answer questions, give planting instructions, offer horticultural advice, and provide brief tours of the gardens.

Outdoor enthusiast Lisa Lightner lives in Avondale.