Tony Troche of LaPorte and Jenny Allison of Kinsbury look over flats of birdsfoot violet during the 17th annual native plant sale at the Indiana Dunes State Park pavilion in Chesterton, Ind. Saturday April 13, 2013. The sale is a major fundraiser for Friends of the Indiana Dunes. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
For more on the Friends of Indiana Dunes, go to their website, www.friendofindianadunes.org, or find them on Facebook.
Updated: May 26, 2013 6:21AM
For Leslie Simons, the native plant sale sponsored by the Friends of Indiana Dunes is a family affair.
She came to the sale, held April 13 at the Indiana State Dunes Park pavilion, with her sister and her parents, with all of them buying native plants for their gardens.
Simons, of Valparaiso, purchased a house three years ago. The previous owner, an older gentleman, had a lot of plants in his garden that he got in the woods.
“I’m just trying to add,” she said after selecting white wild indigo, as well as foxglove and purple coneflower.
Zella Olson, president of the Friends of Indiana Dunes, expected close to 400 people to show up for the 17th annual sale, which is a major fund-raiser for her group. The sale offered 105 plant varieties including shrubs and trees this year, and lupine and goldenrod proved to be early favorites, selling out not long after the event began.
The sale raises as much as $8,000 for the group, which provides a wide array of services to both the state park and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
In the past year, the group bought two all terrain vehicles for the state park, as well as an ATV wheelchair and snowshoes. They also purchased cookies for Maple Sugar Time at the national park and donated $500 to Discovery Charter School for the purchase of native plants, among other efforts.
Shoppers had many plants to choose from, including a wide array of ferns with names like Christmas, Interrupted, Regal and Ostrich. They also got advice from volunteers helping with the sale, including participants in the Purdue University Extension Office’s Master Gardener program.
Larry Dunbar and his wife, Cheryl Carufel, loaded a cardboard box and tray with shade plants and grasses for the garden at their Portage home.
“There’s a lot of wild plants growing in the yard,” she said, adding that includes medicinal plants like nettles and lobelia, something she wanted to expand. “A lot of the native plants are medicinal. People don’t know. They think they’re weeds and they’re not.”