The greenhouse at The Nature Institute.
GODFREY — The Nature Institute, 2213 S. Levis Lane, receives help from many, but one of their volunteer groups, the Greenhouse Gang, is bringing something to the community like never before.
The group will sponsor the first Native Plant Sale from 9 a.m. to noon Friday, May 20, at the organization’s recently constructed greenhouse at the corner of Levis and South Levis Lane in Godfrey. Guests can park in front of the brown garage.
The group has been working all season long to bring native plants to residents looking to enhance their landscaping. Native plants that will be available are: black-eyed Susan, gray coneflower, purple prairie clover, purple coneflower, prairie dropseed, aster, butterfly weed and more. Most of the plants available at this sale will bloom in the summer and fall.
The sale will have units available in four- or six-pack trays. Guests may bring their own pots for transplanting by volunteers. Plants are six-pack for $6, four-pack for $4, quart of dropseed for $5, or a full tray that has not been transplanted for $20. Cash, check or credit cards are accepted. Proceeds go toward TNI’s mission of preservation, restoration and education.
Ann Osburn, a member of TNI’s volunteer Greenhouse Gang, dedicates a few hours, seven days a week to seeding, growing and transplanting these plants to get them ready for the sale.
“I’ve always been a nature lover,” Osburn said about the dedication to her work in the greenhouse. “I would hate to see native plants get wiped out.”
Many forget the benefits of native plants when deciding which ones to showcase on their property; native plants are beneficial to the physical environment, wildlife and to people.
Because of native plants’ adaptability to local conditions, they develop deep and extensive root systems. This conserves water and holds soil in place, preventing erosion. They are naturally resistant to disease and pests, and do not need artificial fertilizers or synthetic pesticides. They provide habitat and food for butterflies and moths, bees, hummingbirds, songbirds and more.
Once established, native plants require very little maintenance. They are sustainable and live longer than non-native species. They are naturally resistant to drought, disease and pests and do not need additional water or toxic chemicals.
TNI and the Greenhouse Gang’s goal is to continue to grow and be able to sustain a weekend sale. They also hope to develop woodland plants in the fall and native trees as well.
Osburn has learned more than she ever thought she would by working at TNI’s property, describing it as “a wonderful place to come and be quiet, hear nature and recharge.” She shares in TNI’s mission of preservation and is delighted to be a part of the volunteer group that is an outlet for residents looking to go native in their own yards.
TNI’s Greenhouse Gang is still accepting applications to become a part of this volunteer group. Individuals interested in learning more details should contact TNI’s office at (618) 466-9930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about TNI and other upcoming events, visit TheNatureInstitute.org.