Keystone Native Species Support Birds, Bees, and Wildlife
Delaware Nature Society’s (DelNature) first fall Native Plant Sale is ON(line!) from October 9 – 12. And, for another first, plants will be available for pick up at both Ashland Nature Center in Hockessin and at Abbott’s Mill in Milford. Our theme is “Keystone Native Species.” These all-important native trees and shrubs support local birds, bees, and wildlife.
- September 24 at 9 am: preview the sale
- October 9 – 12: Online shopping. Quantities will be limited so be sure to shop early.
- October 24: Plants available for pick up at Ashland Nature Center in Hockessin and Abbott’s Mill in Milford.
Fall is ideal for planting
While spring is the time of year when most of us are excited to plant, fall is an ideal time for planting trees, shrubs and other plants. Fall brings shortened days with cooler, wetter weather which means less watering and helps the development of root systems before winter sets in. As a result, trees and shrubs planted in the fall are better equipped to deal with drought and heat the following summer. Plus, you get to immediately benefit from fall color and winter structure and interest.
Keystone species are the glue holding natural communities together
Keystone species are plants or animals that have a disproportionately large effect on a local natural community. According to Dr. Doug Tallamy, UD professor and author of Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard , Keystone species support other species in their ecosystem and help them coexist. Remove the keystone and the ecosystem falls apart, dramatically changing the environment and resulting in the loss of other species. Only about 5% of the local plant species hosted 70 to 75% of the local Lepidoptera (butterflies, moths and skippers) species, which are important pollinators and food for other animals. Native trees and shrubs are key, including oak, blueberry, and willows as they help support hundreds of species of butterflies and moths.
Special packages available for purchase at Fall Native Plant Sale!
DelNature will be providing six pre-made plant packages (visit DelNature.org for more packages) to make your fall planting easier, including:
- Butterfly Package (8 plants) $75: Attract Butterflies and other pollinators with this summer and fall blooming combination for average to damp soils in full sun. Package includes: two attractive shrubs and 3 keystone perennials will have the pollinators buzzing from June through October. 1 Cephalanthus occidentalis Sugar Shack TM (Dwarf Buttonbush), 1 Clethra alnifolia Ruby Spice (Summer Sweet Clethra) and 2 Eutrochium maculatum Gateway (Spotted Joe Pye), 2 Solidago odora (Sweet Goldenrod) and 2 Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (New England Aster).
- Bird Package (8 plants) $75: Fruiting trees and shrubs combined with a late blooming Goldenrod to provide seeds for the winter birds. In addition, all these Keystone plants provide lots of caterpillars to feed the baby songbirds, plus pollen and nectar for the bees. Two different Blueberry selections will be provided for best fruiting. Package includes: 1 Prunus serotina (Wild Black Cherry) 2 Vaccinium corymbosum (Highbush Blueberry) and 5 Solidago odora (Sweet Goldenrod).
Not only do the purchases at our Fall Native Plant Sale support diversity in your own garden but proceeds from our sale directly support conservation and management of diverse habitats and protection of our waterways. As over 30% of our wildlife is vulnerable due to habitat loss, climate change, and invasive species, now more than ever, we are depending on the support from gardeners like you.
For everyone’s health and safety, DelNature staff will follow COVID safety guidelines at plant pick up including staying six feet apart from customers, using face masks, and sanitizing hands between orders. Pickup at Ashland and Abbott’s Mill will be curbside.
Delaware Nature Society’s (DelNature) mission is to connect people with the natural world and improve our environment through education, advocacy, and conservation. Founded in 1964, DelNature is a state affiliate for the National Wildlife Federation. We provide the tools for communities to take action and promote the health of the environment through land preservation, wildlife protection, watershed stewardship, and more. We manage over 2,000 acres of land and operate four educational sites: Ashland Nature Center, Abbott’s Mill Nature Center, DuPont Environmental Education Center, and Coverdale Farm Preserve.
Clean Water Advocate: Communications
Email Sean Dwyer