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Summer Blooms Native Plant Sale runs through July 10

Purple coneflower (Photo by Anthony Schalk)

Beautify your yard while also helping out our local pollinators by going native! The Nature Foundation of Will County's online Summer Blooms Native Plant Sale runs through July 10. The summer sale will feature a wide variety of late-blooming native plants that are much-needed sources of nutrition for pollinators, especially bees and butterflies. In addition, these plants provide beautiful blooms that last well into fall.

More than 75 individual species of native plants will be available for sale — from big bluestem and aster to goldenrod and purple prairie clover – as well as ready-made collections that offer a convenient way to add native plants in your lawn and garden. Individual species include pollinator magnets like anise hyssop, ironweed, culver's root and both blue and hoary vervain. Plus, favorites like cardinal flower, great blue lobelia, wild bergamot, blazing star, coneflower and many others will also be available.

"The Summer Blooms Native Plant Sale takes its inspiration from pollinator conservationist and author Heather Holm. Her research on native bees has shown how critical late-blooming native plants like asters and goldenrod are to pollinators as they prepare for overwintering or migration," explained Cindy Harn, the Nature Foundation's executive director. Just prior to the launch of the Summer Blooms sale, Holm will present a virtual seminar at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, where she will discuss how many native bees specialize in collecting pollen from only a narrow range of plants.

Individual plant species at the online sale will come in packs of three and cost $8.25 plus tax. Special collections like Bumble Bee Banquet, October Blooms and Hummingbird Haven will come in quantities of 15. A larger Pollinator Palooza collection will include 50 native plants that provide nectar and pollen throughout the season. This collection is ideal if you have a large project or if you want to split it with a friend. A 15-plant collection is $40 plus tax, and a 50-pack collection is $145 plus tax. 

"Most of the native plants you will find in our sale are ones that bloom July through October, and we wanted to give people the opportunity to incorporate these into their gardens," Harn said. "Conversely, our recently held Bringing Nature Home Native Plant Sale generally includes native plants that bloom earlier in the season, from April to July."

All online orders must be placed by 6 p.m. Sunday, July 10, on the Nature Foundation's 2022 Native Plant Sale page. During your purchase, be sure to also participate in the online raffle for a chance to win prizes, including a variety of native plant collections, gift baskets, homemade preserves, VIP experiences, tickets to the Foundation's Summer Benefit Concert and more. Raffle tickets are $5 each, and all proceeds go toward initiatives that bring people and nature together.

Online plant sale orders may be picked up from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 23, or noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, July 24, at Isle a la Cache Museum in Romeoville. While there, you can talk with native plant experts and even purchase additional plants to add to your collection. Those who haven't purchased plants online are also welcome to visit the museum on either day to shop the selection of blooming beauties in person.

Additionally, on Saturday, July 23 only, representatives will be present from the University of Illinois Master Gardeners and Master Naturalists, Wild Birds Unlimited – Joliet, Will County Audubon and the Chicago Region Trees Initiative – Morton Arboretum.

"Perhaps the most important goal as gardeners of native plants is that we work to create a matrix which provides a diversity of native plant species as well as a diversity of nectar and pollen sources from spring to fall, just as nature does," Harn said. "That’s what we are really trying to do, mimic nature and extend the boundaries of our protected natural areas into our yards and communities, giving wildlife more opportunities to thrive." 

All proceeds from the plant sale assist the Nature Foundation in supporting the Forest Preserve District of Will County's efforts to provide recreational opportunities, host programs for diverse audiences and protect the health and well-being of nature through land conservation.

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