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The May Tree and Shrub Sale is open!

With spring well on its way, we are eager to get our hands in the dirt and start planting. While we wait for our herbaceous plants to grow green and strong, we have opened our May Woody Sale, featuring everything from groundcovers to tree saplings! Place your order online and schedule plant pickups starting May 9, continuing every Thursday and Friday through May 24 at Gilsland Farm, and only on May 24 for pick up at Fields Pond.

To take advantage of this early online native plant sale, go to our website here and browse our awesome selection. Once you’ve made your choices, make sure to schedule a Thursday or Friday pick-up appointment here. You should get a confirmation email for both your order and your appointment. Our pick-up location is at Gilsland Farm Audubon Center, 20 Gilsland Farm Road, off Route 1. As you enter the sanctuary, you’ll see a farmhouse on your right. Just pull into the dirt parking lot by the solar trackers—your plants will be waiting here for you! Please email us at with any questions or accommodations.

With so many great plant choices, we’d like to feature a handful of trees and shrubs with specific qualities. The following plants are just a taste of what we have in store.

Common Juniper (Juniperus communis); Photo by Don Cameron.


Common Juniper is a stunning groundcover with multi-seasonal interest. It is cold-hardy and evergreen, and its fall berries are excellent for wildlife—and gin! It is a plant host for numerous caterpillars including the Juniper Hairstreak, a deep green butterfly.

Other great groundcover choices include Bearberry and Lowbush Blueberry.


Common Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis). Photo by Dan Wilder

Common Elderberry is a classic native berry with many historical uses. Its berries have been used for teas, jams, wine, medicine, and dyes, and the wood is excellent for carving arrows, flutes, and toys. Many wildlife thrive on this shrub, including caterpillars who rely on it as a host plant, pollinators who enjoy the abundant flowers, and game birds, squirrels, and bears who eat the berries.

Other plants with delicious berries for both people and wildlife include Canada Serviceberry, Black Chokeberry, and Black Cherry.

Small Shrubs

Sheep Laurel (pictured at top) is a beautiful shrub with leathery, evergreen leaves that reach up toward the sun. However, the best feature is its truly impressive display of bright pink flowers in July. You can promote even more blooming by deadheading each season. This plant is found on the edges of bogs and marshes in the wild, and in gardens it thrives in wet soil.

For other small, stunning shrubs, try New Jersey Tea, Sweetgale, Steeplebush, or Virginia Rose.

Common Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis). Photo: Dan Jaffe

Edges and Hedges

Common Buttonbush is a great choice for a hedge or border plant. The June flowers are fragrant and extremely unique, resembling pincushions. This shrub is low-maintenance and grows well waterside, where it provides seeds for water birds, nesting structure for wood ducks, and welcome shade for fish.

For other hedge or border plants, Silky Dogwood, Gray Dogwood, Withe-rod, and Nannyberry make excellent picks.
Fall Interest

Black Gum is a slow-growing but adaptable tree. The glossy green leaves from spring and summer transform into olive, orange, and finally scarlet in the fall. This dramatic color display is accompanied by soft blue berries that are devoured by wildlife. This tree is also the host plant for The Hebrew, a white moth with a script-like black pattern.

To create a bright fall landscape, also try Sugar Maple, Red Chokeberry, American Larch, and Highbush Blueberry.

Winterberry (Ilex verticillata). Photo by Dan Wilder

Winter Interest

Common Winterberry’s name tells all—its bright red berries last long into winter, providing a food source for overwintering birds. These berries are a great pop of color against a muted wintry background. This large shrub is hardy and adaptable to many conditions, making it a garden staple.

Other colorful winter plants include Balsam Fir, Great Rosebay, Red-twig Dogwood, and Northern White Cedar.

Looking ahead:  On Saturday, June 8, we host our Native Plants Festival and Sale. This event is from 9 am–3 pm, and we’ll have plant experts, speakers, and the first chance to shop our herbaceous plants! Our online store will open on June 15, featuring both our woody and herbaceous plants for the rest of the season. Place orders online and schedule pick-ups at our Falmouth and Holden locations.