Barbara Eisenstein was the Plant Sale Committee Chair in 2021.
The 2021 annual native plant sale was a big success. The sale opened on a sunny and warm – but not hot – Saturday in November. Interested and curious shoppers lined up outside the gate to the Monrovia Historical Museum patio. They entered to find over 1,800 plants arranged on the lovely patio. Throughout the day we had a record turn out, and sold almost all of our plants. As such, we sent approximately 1,800 excellent habitat plants out into our communities.
This was especially welcome news since we were unable to hold the plant sale in 2020 due to the pandemic. Also, with continuing covid concerns, our move to the Monrovia Historical Museum allowed us to spread out on the large outdoor patio to minimize close contact among shoppers. In addition, there was room for tables for vendors and nonprofit organizations.
The annual plant sale serves several purposes. It is the primary fundraiser for our chapter. Proceeds support outreach, education and conservation projects that increase our understanding of our native flora, especially here in the San Gabriel Mountains and Valley, and preserve this rich resource for future generations. The 2021 plant sale was presented in partnership with the City of Monrovia, and, as such, a portion of the proceeds was donated to the Canyon Park Volunteers. This year’s sale goes a long way to making up for the lost funds during 2020.
The sale is also an opportunity to educate the public. Chapter members and others with native plant expertise answered questions and discussed native plant gardening with shoppers. Experts, hobbyists and novices shared their own garden experiences, helping people select the best plants for their gardens.
Furthermore, this year other nonprofits including the Pasadena Audubon Society, Mission Monarch, and the Los Angeles/Santa Monica Mountains Chapter of CNPS shared their information at tables in the sale area. There were also volunteers from the Master Gardeners Program who spoke with members and shoppers on ways to be more inclusive in our outreach. A map of California Indian Pre-Contact Tribal Territories and resources on traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) were displayed at the sale, as well. All of these groups working together towards common goals, such as fairness, sustainability, inclusivity and community health, is not only exciting and effective, but also just plain fun.
Several local artisans sold their beautiful wares at the sale. The artists demonstrate their appreciation of nature in the goods they produce and sell, further enriching our outreach efforts.
Improved Garden Habitat
In addition to sharing information, we were also able to provide plants with high habitat value to the community. Birds, lizards and other critters will appreciate finding them in gardens that may not have been as welcoming when landscaped with non-native ornamentals. Besides creating good habitat, these plants are better adapted to our climate and soils, therefore requiring less supplemental water and other resources.
Being in a new location had the advantage that we were able to reach a whole new group of people. Some, not only bought plants, but also became new members of the CNPS. They will now receive information on our monthly program meetings, trips, and events throughout the year. This is an important way to grow our effectiveness in promoting and preserving our unique and beautiful flora.
It has been a very long year and a half since the world was changed by a virulent microorganism. The sale was an opportunity to finally meet up again with old friends who share a love of nature and California native plants. And it was fun!
The sale would not have been such a success without the help and support of so many people. We want to thank all of you who lent a hand in the event. We can’t reach out to each of you individually but we really enjoyed working with you and truly appreciate your help.
Finally, welcome to the new and renewing members to the San Gabriel Mountains Chapter of the California Native Plant Society. It was so wonderful to be back with other plant people following the 2020 covid hiatus. We hope everyone stays safe and well so we can continue to gather for more exciting native plant programs and events.
If you are interested in participating in future plant sales, or would like to serve on our board or be involved in some other way, please contact our chapter at: https://cnps-sgm.org/sgmmsg.php.
Photos by William Hallstrom.