Union County residents can come to the free “Native Plant Swap and Shop” event on Thursday evening, June 9, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and trade harmful, invasive plants from their yard for up to three colorful native varieties that attract butterflies and other pollinators, free of charge. More native plants will also be available for purchase at the event.
The Native Plant Swap and Shop is hosted by the Union County Department of Parks and Recreation. Pre-registration is required online at ucnj.org/plant-swap.
“The Swap and Shop is a fun way to start introducing beneficial native plants into your yard and garden. It has been a big hit with gardeners in our community, and we are delighted to bring it back this year,” said Union County Commission Chair Rebecca L. Williams.
The Swap and Shop will take place at the Scout Camping Area in the Watchung Reservation, located below the Trailside Nature and Science Center at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside. Ample free parking is available on site.
Admission to the event is free. Attendees can arrive any time after 5:30 and stay as long as they like. Expert naturalists will be on site to provide guidance and information on gardening with native plants.
Attendees can bring any number of invasive plants from their yards to swap for up to three native flowering plants including swamp milkweed, blue wood aster, creeping phlox, narrow leaf sunflower, tall white beardtongue and cardinal flower.
Examples of invasive plants to bring are: Japanese barberry, pachysandra, butterfly bush, garlic mustard, porcelain berry, periwinkle, English ivy and Chinese silvergrass. The invasive plants should be dug up with roots included, and brought to the event in a sealed box or bag.
Residents are also welcome to attend Swap and Shop to purchase native plants. It is not necessary to bring invasive plants from home in order to make a purchase. Toadshade Wildflower Farm will be on site with a variety of native plants for sale. Preordering for pickup is advised, online at toadshade.com.
For more guidance on gardening with native plants, download the free “Plant This, Not That” guide.
Quick links to all Union County environmental programs and activities are available at The Green Connection, ucnj.org/green-connection/.
For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.
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