BTG’s Native Plant Sale Returns To Bestor Plaza

HG BIGGS / Daily file photo
Royal Fern Nursery’s Jonathan Townsend talks with Roman LoBianco at the Bird, Tree & Garden Club’s Native Plant Sale June 27, 2023, on Bestor Plaza. BTG’s Native Plant Sale returns for its 10th year this morning on Bestor Plaza.

The weekly market that calls Bestor Plaza home every Tuesday morning will be welcoming a special – but familiar – vendor this morning.

The Bird, Tree & Garden Club is hosting its 10th annual Native Plant Sale, opening shop at 9 a.m. on Bestor Plaza and selling native plants until there are none left to sell.

Jennifer Francois, BTG’s vice president of programs, said the sale was a great opportunity for Chautauquans to not only find new plants for their gardens, but to give back to the Chautauqua ecosystem, even in small ways.

“We’ve removed a lot of habitat through construction and the use of chemicals in the environment,” she said. “Adding native plants back to the system, wherever possible, helps increase the amount of habitat.”

As Francois explained, the reason native plants are so important to any ecosystem is because all the organisms in an area change and adapt together; animals become more and more dependent on specific plants, and plants become more and more dependent on certain animals. When non-native species are introduced to the ecosystem, they disrupt that balance, competing with native species for resources and often driving them out or, in some cases, killing them.

In Chautauqua, many of the native insect species are specialists, meaning they only feed off of one specific plant that is also native to Chautauqua, she said. When those native plants become less abundant, there is less food for those specialist insects. That is one of the reasons, Francois argues, that introducing native plants into home gardens is so important.

“We can easily put the plants in our gardens,” she said. “We cannot easily put the insects back in our gardens.”

To assist Chautauquans in finding the best native plants for their needs, BTG has once again enlisted the help of Jonathan Townsend from Royal Fern Nursery in Fredonia; Townsend also provided the plants for last year’s sale.

Francois and BTG hope that, with Townsend’s assistance, Chautauquans will be able to decide which plants will work the best for their homes. BTG also encourages all Chautauquans to come talk with Townsend and BTG members about the specific needs of their home, noting that there is no situation that wouldn’t benefit from native plants.

“The advantage of coming to the sale, whether or not you believe you need something, is the interaction with the seller, who is also the grower, on the finer points of what those plants can do in your particular yard,” Francois said.

Ultimately, she hopes that Chautauquans will stop by the Native Plant Sale to see how they can make an impact, both in Chautauqua and beyond. Native plants not only provide food and shelter for native animals, but they also protect water quality in Chautauqua Lake, preventing harmful stormwater runoff, and they can even help combat air pollution.

“You can give something back, and help the broader ecosystem,” Francois said, “beyond just what is happening in your little patch.”

Tags : Bird Tree & Garden ClubBird Tree & Garden Club’s Native Plant SaleBTGJennifer FrancoisJonathan TownsendRoman LoBiancoRoyal Fern Nursery

The author Jeremy Kohler