FloraFEST fundraiser to benefit Chihuahuan Desert Gardens

The+2018+FloraFEST+native+plant+sale+will+be+held+from+9+a.m.+to+4+p.m.++on+April+28+and+29%2C+at+the+UTEP+Centennial+Museum+and+Chihuahuan+Desert+Gardens.
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FloraFEST fundraiser to benefit Chihuahuan Desert Gardens

The 2018 FloraFEST native plant sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  on April 28 and 29, at the UTEP Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens.

The 2018 FloraFEST native plant sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 28 and 29, at the UTEP Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens.

Andres Martinez

The 2018 FloraFEST native plant sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 28 and 29, at the UTEP Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens.

Andres Martinez

Andres Martinez

The 2018 FloraFEST native plant sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 28 and 29, at the UTEP Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens.

Julia Hettiger, Staff Reporter

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The UTEP Centennial Museum and Chihuahuan Desert Gardens will be hosting the 2015 FloraFEST native plant sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 25 and Sunday, April 26 at the Centennial Museum.

FloraFEST is an annual fundraiser held to raise money for the maintenance and operation of the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens. The event will be hosted by members of Authentic Texas, People of the Big Bend.

“We will be selling trees, shrubs, vines, cacti, groundcovers and perennials that are native or adapted to the Chihuahuan Desert,” said John White, botanical curator of the Chihuahuan Desert Garden. “Sizes vary from one-gallon size to 15-gallon size.”

There will be native plants for sale and local master gardeners will be available for questions and advice on how to take care of the plants at home.

“People coming to the sale will see the large variety of plants that can be used in a low-maintenance, lower-water use garden that are colorful and varied in their textures,” White said. “Garden staff, UTEP faculty, professional horticulturists, Doña Ana and El Paso master gardeners, plus about 50 volunteers, will be helping and assisting buyers with their questions and purchases.”

Most of the plants that will be for sale are unique and hard to find in local nurseries and stores.

“It is becoming harder to find native and desert-adapted plants in the local area,” White said. “Many of the big-box stores have caused the smaller nurseries to close as they cannot compete financially.”

This year’s theme is “Celebrating West Texas” and will feature lectures and workshops leading up to the event, which is a new feature not previously done for FloraFEST.

The new features include an exhibit, “Authentic Texas: People of the Big Bend,” which can be seen Tuesday, April 21 through Saturday, April 24 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. There will be a 10:30 a.m. tour of the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens and at noon on April 22, Lois Balin, West Texas Urban Wildlife biologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, will be giving a lecture on attracting butterflies and hummingbirds with native plants in observance of Earth Day.

Lastly, there will be a featured lecture on Friday, April 24 by Gary Nored, a photographer and blogger of the Big Bend. The lecture, “Tough Beauty: Remarkable Plant Life of the Big Bend” will be presented at 6 p.m. in the Undergraduate Learning Center, room 116. It is free and open to the public.

Participants will have the opportunity to preview the plants that will be sold at FloraFEST.

This year’s FloraFEST will be the largest of its kind in the region. The event is open to the public and admission is free. For more information, call 747-5565.

Julia Hettiger may be reached at [email protected]

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