BERLIN — For the 13th year, the Assateague Coastal Trust (ACT) will offer a selection of native flowering perennials and heirloom tomatoes at its annual festival, but this year the event has been relocated to ACT’s backyard in Berlin at the corner of Old Ocean City Blvd. and Main Street.
The festival, which also features nature-inspired crafts, opens its doors at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 5.
“It is always a good idea, however, to place plant orders in advance,” said ACT President Tom Jones. “That guarantees that gardeners will get the best of the plants that come from our growers.”
Advance order forms are available now at www.actforbays.org or by calling 410-629-1538. Orders may be placed directly through the website, which also features descriptions of every plant to help gardeners make their selections.
Ten of the 21 perennials available are new to the ACT festival, and all plants are chosen because of their drought resistance and their natural ability to adapt to local gardening conditions. Native plant gardens require less herbicide, less pesticide and less fertilizer than exotic varieties, which is good for the environment and encourages habitat creation for native wildlife.
“Every year we create a new ‘Butterfly, Bird and Bee Garden Package,” said plant festival volunteer Pat Pilling. “The package is designed to attract those wonderful creatures to local gardens, and since the package is 12 plants for the cost of 10 it is an economical choice.”
Since heirloom tomatoes were introduced to the festival three years ago, they have grown in popularity. Four organically-grown varieties – Brandywine, Green Zebra, Cherokee Purple and Striped German — are featured this year. Heirlooms typically produce more flavorful tomatoes than hybrids.
Master Gardeners will be on hand to help you solve garden problems and make your selections for 2012.
Besides the plants themselves, a dozen local craftspeople will be exhibiting their work for sale.
“All of our artists and craftspeople create either garden or nature-related work, or use natural materials in their products,” said festival volunteer Kim Fehrer. “We have woodworkers, birdhouse and bird feeder makers and glassworkers among others.”
Sponsors are being solicited to help underwrite plant festival expenses. Your business or organization will benefit from plant sale publicity, website links and on-site promotion during the festival. Volunteers are also needed on May 5 to assist with plant sales.