HESSTON — For the past 20 years, the Dyck Arboretum of the Plains has hosted FloraKansas — the largest sale of native plants in the state — twice a year as a fundraiser to help support the operations and maintenance of the Arboretum. From a few native plants under a tent in the parking lot to thousands of plants sold from the Arboretum greenhouse, the event has been growing and expanding.

This spring FloraKansas will take place from April 26 to 30 and will be upgraded to a Native Plant Festival. In addition to purchasing native plants that are drought tolerant and attractive to pollinators, attendees will be able to attend mini outdoor classes led by plant experts and activities for the kids, all free of charge.

"With a growing interest in gardening with native plants throughout the state, we felt that FloraKansas needed to grow into a different kind of event," said Arboretum Office Manager, Janelle Flory Schrock. "This event has become so much more than an opportunity to purchase plants. Our return attendees have become a networked community of native plants experts in our area. We want to maximize the opportunity for that networking and sharing of information to happen at FloraKansas."

The FloraKansas Native Plant Festival will begin from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. April 26 with an early sale for Dyck Arboretum members, who receive a 10 percent discount on all plants, as well as many other benefits throughout the year. Memberships can be purchased on the day of the sale, in order to participate in the early sale.

The remainder of the event is open to the general public during the following times: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.  April 27, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 28 1 to 5 p.m. April 29 and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 30. FloraKansas is located at the greenhouse on the Arboretum grounds at 177 West Hickory in Hesston.

Arboretum Executive Director and Horticulturist Scott Vogt will be available at the plant sale to assist with questions and plant selection, as well as Education Coordinator and Prairie Restoration Specialist Brad Guhr, Grounds Manager, Katie Schmidt, and volunteer gardeners from the area. In addition, Neff Family Farm will be selling herbs and vegetable seedlings.

Plant sale goers can prepare for the event by visiting www.dyckarboretum.org. The website includes a complete plant list in our "2018 Native Plant Guide" available for download, as well as a plant library, alphabetized by scientific name, but searchable by common name, bloom time, soil type and light conditions.

The proceeds of the plant sale help support the Arboretum's mission to promote, through education and stewardship, the conservation and use of plants native and adaptable to Kansas.

For more information, contact the Arboretum office at 620-327-8127 or at arboretum@hesston.edu.