Return of the native: Hilltop Arboretum sale encourages growers to use native plants | Entertainment/Life

On behalf of native flora and fauna, LSU’s Hilltop Arboretum hopes you’ll pass local when deciding on crops for this spring’s lawn.

Native crops are an annual characteristic of the Spring Fling Plant Sale, which shall be held Saturday and Sunday on the arboretum, 11855 Highland Road. In addition to a better probability of a hit rising, local crops make lifestyles higher for the encompassing ecosystem, mentioned Maradee Cryer, chair of the sale’s plant variety committee.

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Maradee Cryer, middle, chair of the plant variety committee for Hilltop Arboretum’s Spring Fling Plant Sale, appears to be like over a wagon loaded with crops as volunteers sell off a truckload of crops from Louisiana wholesale nurseries in preparation for the sale.

“We’re all sort of in the same environment, and we’re all sort of interdependent. You can’t have your birds if you don’t have food for them to eat,” Cryer mentioned. “In general, native plants provide a lot more food for insects and, hence, for birds than nonnatives. A native live oak is just a world of benefit for the insects and for the birds.”

Live oaks are a ways from the one local crops on the sale, which contains small bushes, shrubs, flora, ferns and floor quilt crops. Cryer expects kind of 30% to 50% of the stock to be local crops. Plants that draw in butterflies and bees are widespread, too, she mentioned.

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Susan Broussard, left, and Rob Roux, proper, paintings on loading purple indigos and asparagus ferns onto a cart.

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“This time of the year, one of our most popular is our native Louisiana irises,” Cryer mentioned. “If we’re lucky, they’ll be beginning to bloom at the time of the sale. They come in a variety of colors, and they’re beautiful. They’re not that difficult to grow, and we get a lot of call for that.”

Generally, crops which can be local to this area are more straightforward to develop than nonnative crops, however that’s no longer a ensure, Cryer mentioned. She mentioned she has attempted unsuccessfully to develop local milkweed in her backyard.

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Maradee Cryer, middle, chair of the plant variety committee for Hilltop Arboretum’s Spring Fling Plant Sale, issues out a vacation spot for some crops to, from left, Amy Hughes and Janet Forbes, as they and different volunteers sell off a truckload of crops in preparation for the sale.

“You sort of have to plan by trial and error,” she mentioned. “I tried for years to get the native penstemon to grow and they bloomed one year and disappeared. Then suddenly, last year, they started popping up in my yard. I have no idea why.”

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Donna Belanger, middle, places down some azalea crops, as she, Terry Tuminello, proper, and different volunteers sell off a truckload of crops.

The sale shall be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and midday to 4 p.m. Sunday. The plant availability checklist shall be posted at lsu.edu/hilltop by way of 5 p.m. Friday. Shoppers are requested to park within the Oak Hills subdivision and stroll into the arboretum from Pecan Grove Court, as it’s unsafe to park on Highland Road.

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