On a Saturday, The Greater Newark Conservancy concluded it semi-annual block party. Although the day was cloudy (rain or shine) the event was well attended by Newark plant advocates, city lot adopters, ands residence all came out the support the element that signals the official planting season along with arrangement and plant option for those mothers with green thumbs.
Some of the proceeds of the sales goes to support the Conservancy’s Newark Youth Leadership Project (NYLP), a year round program for high school students from Newark and college students from around New Jersey. Through NYLP, Greater Newark Conservancy provides job training and seeks to improve conditions in the urban community by increasing employability and earning potential. Since the NYLP’s inception 16 years ago, more than 700 Newark youth have participated in the program with the Conservancy, with many continuing their educations at top colleges and universities and finding successful career opportunities. NYLP’s three major goals are development of leadership skills, educational and career enrichment through instruction, tutoring and field trips, and development of employment-related skills. This years youth leadership for scholarships is scheduled for Wednesday May 13th.
The block party was full with family events, Inflatable Bounce House, Youth Farm Stand, Gardening classes, and food demonstration. But for me, the most memorable was the value for a gardener to me was the bi-annual plant sale. This year’s sale was bigger and better and the value was extraordinary.
Plants such as; Persian Shield (Strobilanthes dyerianus) Grown for it’s fantastic metallic purple leaves, this annual likes full sun to part shade and plenty of water. One plant can grow up to three feet tall and wide. Lantana (Lantana camara) Blooming from July until the first frost, this pretty annual likes full sun and a medium amount of water. A perfect choice for Summer flower barrels;
Coleus (Stolenostemon scutellarioides) Another charming annual grown more for its colorful foliage than its tiny flowers. This plant likes partial shade and makes a great accent to other blooming annuals. Coleus is a tropical plant also can be taken indoor in the fall and brought back out during the spring and summer months;
Hellebore (Helleborussp.) A fun perennial for part to full shade. It will bloom as early as late winter and brighten up any boring spot under shrubs or trees.
Prices for start plants and flowers were up between 15 – 20% at most local plant distributors. Prices of plants were $10 for a pallet or 8 plants, in comparison, the near by nurseries, large hardware store such as (Lowes and Home Depot) and even the discount large box merchandise stores (Walmart and Kmart). The prices were half, and in some cases a third of the current retail price. some conservancy for their sweat equity received a further discount on the plant prices. If you have missed the sale all is not lost. The conservancy has remaining supplies of seedling, vegetables, shrubs and fruit trees still available. Sales such as this makes living and gardening in Newark truly values added.