The Union County Board of County Commissioners invites residents to come to the free “Native Plant Swap and Shop” event on Tuesday evening, June 13, 2023 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and swap up to three invasive plants for a matching number of colorful, beneficial native plants, free of charge. Additional native plants will also be available for sale at the event. The event takes place in the Watchung Reservation at the Scout Camping Area, located near the Trailside Nature and Science Center at 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside.
“The Swap and Shop event is a fun way to learn about the value of native plants in our local ecosystem. Everyone with a yard or garden can help preserve and protect butterflies and other valuable pollinators, by taking out invasive species and replacing them with native plants,” said Union County Commissioner Chairman Sergio Granados.
Residents who plan to participate in the swap must pre-register online at ucnj.org/plant-swap. The swap is limited to 100 registrants. All other attendees are welcome on a walk-in basis. There is no charge for admission. 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.
Examples of invasive plants to bring for the swap are: Japanese barberry, pachysandra, butterfly bush, garlic mustard, porcelain berry, periwinkle, English ivy and Chinese silvergrass. For accurate identification the invasive plants should be dug up recently and brought to the event in a sealed bag or box, with their entire roots included.
The native plants offered for swap include Cardinal Flower, Dense Blazing Star, Blue False Indigo, Joe Pye Weed, Foxglove Beardtongue, Swamp Milkweed and Orange Coneflower.
The Toadshade Wildflower Farm will also be on site with native plants for sale during the event. Participants who plan to make a purchase are advised to pre-order for pickup through the Toadshade website, toadshade.com.
For information about other nature education programs offered by Union County, visit the Trailside Nature and Science Center online at ucnj.org/trailside. More information about activities in Union County Parks is available at ucnj.org/parks.
Quick links to all environmental programs and activities hosted by Union County are available at the Green Connection, ucnj.org/green-connection.