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It’s time for many people’s favorite planting event – the Montreat Native Plant Sale and Arbor Day.

Sponsored by the Montreat Landcare Committee, the sixth annual The Montreat Native Plant Sale and Arbor Day Celebration will be from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, April 28 at Moore Center Park, next to Lake Susan, in Montreat. Indoor and outdoor plants will be available, and native and unique plants will be featured. Activities and programs for children are also planned.

Five Western North Carolina nurseries will be offering a wide variety of native and other plants for home and garden. They include Appalachian Creek Nursery of Swannanoa, Carolina Native Nursery of Burnsville, Field Venture Farms from Marion, High Country Nursery of Fairview and In-Site Out Design of Black Mountain. Other participating local vendors include Professional Landscape Solutions of Black Mountain and Ten Thousand Villages.

Experts will help visitors learn about native plants and trees, as well as gardening in general. The Extension Master Gardeners of Buncombe County will answer questions and give advice on gardening. The Hemlock Restoration Initiative will explain the work being done to stop the hemlock decline. Montreat College students will teach children about the structure and function of trees by facilitating a craft activity.

The Montreat Landcare Committee will share information on preferred native plants and on invasive plant species to avoid. The Montreat Tree Board will provide brochures and flyers for best practice tree maintenance. The American Chestnut Foundation will provide information on its activities to restore the American Chestnut Tree.

The North Carolina Forest Service will be distributing information on its Firewise initiative. The importance of the initiative in Montreat’s wooded neighborhoods “has become self-evident in the forest fires we’ve had,” Amy Blake, event co-chair with husband Mason Blake.

Informative programs are planned throughout the day. At 9 a.m., Montreat mayor Tim Helms will read an Arbor Day proclamation, and Montreat will again be honored as a “Tree City USA.” At 10 a.m., Lucy Cohn-Still, urban forestry expert with the North Carolina Forest Service, will present a program on promoting the health of your trees, including tree pruning.

At 11 a.m., Doug Gillis, president of the Carolinas chapter of The American Chestnut Foundation, will describe the efforts and advances to restore the American Chestnut Tree. At noon the Montreat Tree Board will demonstrate new equipment the town has purchased for tree pruning. And at 1 p.m., Jonathan Marchal, youth education manager of The North Carolina Arboretum, will present a program on the new eco-Explore outdoor science program for children.

Parking will be in the Anderson Auditorium parking lot. Breakfast and lunch will be offered by Something Fun Catering and Events.

The Montreat Landcare Committee is a cooperative effort of the Montreat Conference Center, the Town of Montreat, Montreat College, Montreat Cottagers Association, the Montreat Trail Club, the Montreat Wildlife Habitat Program and Montreat Presbyterian Church Earth Ministry Team. For more about it, go to MontreatLandcare.org.

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