On Saturday, April 25, the Big Bend chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas will host a plant sale from 9 am to 4 pm at Brown Dog Gardens on Murphy Street as part of Earth Day celebrations in Alpine.
“Native plants tell you where you are,” said organizer and president of the Big Bend chapter, Dallas Baxter. “When you see lechuguilla, you know you’re in the Chihuahuan Desert. In addition to that sense of place, natives provide food and habitat for wildlife in a way that other plants can’t. But it’s not always easy to find these plants in a commercial nursery,” she said.
Many of the plants offered at the sale have been grown from seed collected by botanist Michael Eason.
Eason and others have collected extensively in the Trans-Pecos. He typically gathers about 10 percent of the seeds of a given population – leaving enough for that population to continue to thrive.
Eason has worked with private landowners. “But the region’s roadsides offer abundant opportunities for seed collection,” he said. “And the Davis Mountains Scenic Loop is especially rich.” Eason also mentions the Scenic Loop, the Casa Piedra Road, the River Road and between Alpine and Del Rio as being great for viewing native plants and collecting their seed.
This year’s Earth Day celebrations will be held on Murphy Street in Alpine from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Native-plant experts will be on-hand at the sale to guide and educate buyers. The sale is cash or checks only, and no plants will be sold before Saturday.
The spring sale will focus on herbaceous, green and flowering plants. The Native Plant Society plans a fall sale also at Brown Dog in cooperation with the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute that will focus on perennial shrubs and trees.
“This is the Big Bend chapter’s first plant sale,” said Baxter, “and it will be small but rich in interesting flowering natives.”
To see a list of available plants, go to npsot.org/wp/bigbend/files/2015/04/BBNPSOT-Plant-Sale-2015.pdf.
A version of this story was heard on Nature Notes, a production of Marfa Public Radio in cooperation with the Sibley Nature Center in Midland. Andrew Stuart wrote the original story.