By AMANDA KIMBLE
STEPHENVILLE (April 6, 2017) – Spring has sprung, and Stephenville Historical Museum is celebrating the season on Saturday.
The annual Native and Heirloom Plant Fair will welcome an array of vendors and, if history holds true, hundreds of attendees from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. to the museum grounds, located at 525 E. Washington Street.
From native, adapted plants, vegetables and herbs ready to be transplanted into gardens to jams, produce and concessions that are ready to eat, the plant fair has something for everyone looking to spruce up their space or please their palate.
Arts and crafts, décor, lawn art, bird houses and other gift items will also be available.
Anyone looking to liven up their landscape but aren’t sure where to begin won’t want to miss the event, where representatives of the Tarleton State University Horticulture Center will offer a selection of Texas plants.
Event organizer Dr. Russell Pfau said there are good reasons for using natives when landscaping.
“There are a couple of benefits to using native plants,” he said. “One being to help attract pollinators that benefit us. There has been a decline in bee population – honeybees and natives – and anything we can do in our home landscapes to benefit bees would be good.”
While some people may see bees as a nuisance, they are an essential part of the food chain. Honeybees pollinate fruits and vegetables directly consumed by humans and animals, they also pollinate crops consumed by livestock that are consumed for their meat.
Pfau also said while native plants attract bees and butterflies, they also increase curb appeal outside homes and businesses and have the ability to withstand local weather and garden pests.
“They are attractive,” he said. “And, native and hardy adapted plants also do well in Texas’ hot, dry and windy conditions, whereas with nonnative plants, the wind whips them and grasshoppers eat them.”
Manon Shockey, Tarleton instructor and horticulture center manager, will be on hand and willing to provide tips on landscaping for the local area.
Pfau said there will be other educational opportunities available from a new group of Erath County Master Gardeners; representatives of Prairie Oaks Master Naturalist, a group offering education, outreach and service in the field of natural resource conservation; vendors who will be able to provide information on everything from gardening and caring for specific plants to coexisting alongside the various plant and animal species.
Pfau also said shoppers who can’t be present for the opening of the plant fair should make plans to swing by before the event ends.
“In past years, the majority of vendors have had enough (plants and merchandise) stocked for the entire day, so, if you can’t get there early, come late,” he said, adding attendees are encouraged to bring wagons or carts to make traversing the museum campus with purchases in tow easier.
Admission into the Native and Heirloom Plant Fair is free and the event open to the public, but donations to the Stephenville Historical House Museum are welcome and appreciated.
The museum is a nonprofit organization and dependent on donor dollars to maintain exhibits and local history.
Pfau, a museum board member, said some of that history will be open for tours a portion of the day on Saturday, including the newly renovated Berry House Cottage and the new Tarleton Centennial exhibit.