Native Plant Sale at James Farm an Annual Rite of Spring!

Indian River Inlet, DE:   For many, the annual Native Plant Sale at James Farm Ecological Preserve has become a spring tradition.  Now in its eleventh year, the Gardening for the Bays Native Plant Sale on Saturday, May 2nd at the James Farm Ecological Preserve on Cedar Neck Road in Ocean View is the ‘one-stop-shop’ for ‘going native’ in your garden.

Sponsored by the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, the event will host five nurseries selling thousands of flowers, shrubs, grasses and trees that are native to coastal Delaware.  In addition to the nurseries, the Master Gardeners will be on hand with advice and expertise.

Local nurseries include the new Inland Bays Garden Center located in Bethany Beach, East Coast Garden Center from Millsboro, and Roots Nursery from Selbyville. Envirotech Environmental Consulting from Lewes will bring water-loving plants for ponds and wetland areas. Environmental Concern, a non-profit native plant nursery from St. Michael’s Maryland will bring more than fifty kinds of native plants for rain gardens, woodland gardens and gardens by the sea.  

The sale starts at 9 a.m., but at 8 a.m. the Sussex Bird Club will lead a walk in search of warblers and other migrating birds that visit James Farm in springtime.  At 10:30 a.m., Dr. Dennis Bartow will lead a ramble along the trails of James Farm. Other special special events include a Gardening for Butterflies Demonstration at 9:30 and 11 a.m. by Ptery Iris of the Delaware Botanical Garden and a Composting Demonstration at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. by Pamela White.

The Good Earth Market will have breakfast treats and coffee for early arrivals and will offer snacks and lunch throughout the day, including a Gardening for the Bays tradition, organic havarti cheese, sprouts, tomato and cucumber sandwiches and grilled organic hotdogs.   

Local beekeeper, James Carfagno is coming back (with honey!) to show and tell the story of bees, some of our most important native pollinators, and crucial to our backyard gardens and to commercial agriculture.

The Delaware Nature Society will present their Backyard Habitat Program with advice on enhancing yards and gardens to provide food, water and shelter for birds, butterflies and other native wildlife, and the Livable Lawns program will demonstrate how to make your yard bay-friendly.  For the first time, the Delaware Council of Wildlife Rehabilitators and Educators will exhibit with information on how to help injured and abandoned animals.

The Center for the Inland Bays still has a goal of 1000 Rain Barrels for the Inland Bays and will once again have rain barrels for sale.  For a $40 donation to the CIB, attendees can take home a ‘ready-to-be-installed’ rain barrel.  They can be purchased at in advance of the sale.

This year, at the Children’s Tent, small visitors will be painting a rain barrel.  Two new items will be sold at the Gardening for the Bays sale table; a newly designed tee shirt featuring favorite native birds and flowers, and bee houses for your backyard, made by volunteer Dave Ritondo with all proceeds go to support the work of the CIB.  

For those who want to start the Gardening for the Bays weekend early, the 2nd annual Gardening for the Bays Cocktail Party featuring ‘bay-centric’ food and beer tastings, select plants for sale from the Inland Bays Garden Center , and a silent auction of garden items will be held ‘under the tent’ at James Farm from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, May 1st.  Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling 302 226 8105 for $30, or at the door for $40 with all proceeds going to support the work of the Center for the Inland Bays.

The Gardening for the Bays Native Plant Sale is an outreach education event of the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, a non-profit organization established in 1994 to promote the wise use and enhancement of the Inland Bays Watershed. With its many partners, the CIB conducts public outreach and education, develops and implements restoration projects, encourages scientific inquiry and sponsors research.  

For more information call Sally Boswell at 226-8105, or email at Or, go to our website at