Gardening for Life celebration blooms with student-grown native plants

Published 1:21 pm Thursday, February 29, 2024

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In the spirit of community and sustainability, the Gardening for Life Celebration, taking place March 30 at Polk County High School, is not just a one-day event but a culmination of ongoing initiatives. As volunteers diligently prepare for the festivities, a noteworthy aspect of this group’s outreach has been quietly flourishing.

In September of last year, the Gardening for Life Project made a significant contribution to the Polk County High School agricultural program. Hundreds of native plant plugs, representing 12 carefully selected “keystone” perennial species, were donated to the school. These species were chosen for their exceptional value to wildlife and pollinators, aligning with the project’s mission to promote biodiversity and ecological resilience.

The students have been actively engaged in nurturing these native plants, gaining hands-on experience in the cultivation and care of species vital to our local ecosystems. Through the process of growing and potting up these plants, the students not only have expanded their horticultural knowledge but also have contributed to the promotion of native flora in our region.

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Now, six months later, the fruits of their labor are ready to bloom, quite literally. In late March, the students will be offering these locally-nurtured native plants for sale as part of the Gardening for Life Celebration Native Plant Sale. This initiative not only highlights the dedication of the students but also showcases the importance of community involvement in fostering environmental stewardship.

Adding to the excitement, these student-grown plants will be joining selections from seven of our region’s finest native plant growers in the Native Plant Sale. The event promises to be a vibrant hub for plant enthusiasts and environmental advocates alike, providing an opportunity for the community to support sustainable practices and embrace the beauty of native flora.

The students’ native plants will also be featured at the annual FFA Spring Plant Sale held at the high school greenhouse during the John Vining Fundraiser on March 30, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and continuing weekdays beginning April 1, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., until all plants are sold.

As we look forward to the Gardening for Life Celebration, we celebrate not just the event itself but the seeds of knowledge, sustainability and community engagement that have been sown throughout the year. The student-led Native Plant Sale stands as a testament to the power of education, collaboration and a shared commitment to preserving the natural richness of our local environment.


Submitted by the Gardening for Life Project Team