For 25 years, the Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens has been on a mission to get as many native and desert-thriving plants into local yards and gardens as possible. This year, the tradition continues through its annual native plant sale, FloraFEST.
FloraFEST gives area gardeners the opportunity to purchase these types of plants and get their questions answered by local plant experts.
The annual native plant sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28 in the outdoor area between the museum and the Undergraduate Learning Center.
This year, the plant sale will offer more than 3,000 plants from about 300 different species — many of which can’t be found in area nurseries. FloraFEST favorites include red yucca plants, hesperaloe parviflora, and chocolate flowers, berlandiera lyrata, but returning gardeners will notice the addition of a variety of succulent plants.
FloraFEST is not only a fundraiser for the maintenance and operation of the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, but it is a chance to educate the community on local plants and their environment.
“We really see this event as an outreach component, a way to get people to become knowledgeable about local plants and learn what does well in the Chihuahuan Desert in El Paso,” said Daniel Carey-Whalen, director of the Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens. “We’ve built this relationship with the community for 25 years and El Pasoans have come to expect FloraFEST every year.”
Carey-Whalen recommends plant enthusiasts get their early on Saturday if they are seeking rare items or looking for the most variety.
First-time gardeners who are unsure about what they want and would like to spend more time speaking with local master gardeners and other volunteers are encouraged to arrive later in the day Saturday or Sunday morning.
Shoppers can visit with local master gardeners, horticulturists and other plant experts for advice on how to care for their plants at home. John M. White, garden curator for the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, has some advice for novice gardeners.
He said native plants and desert-loving plants, “Don’t look so hot in the pot.” The sooner you plant them in the ground, the sooner they will start to look healthier and more appealing, White said.
What: Annual native plant sale
When: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, April 27 and Sunday, April 28
Where: Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens, at the corner of University Avenue and Wiggins Way