Spring Plant Sales
Spring hits me like a ton of bricks. Spring fever that is. I have a greenhouse full of flats of seedlings that are getting the "hardening them off" shuffle treatment. Every morning outside they go; every evening I whisk them back inside the greenhouse. Some are already acclimated and ready to go into the ground. Then it hits me - where am I going to put all these seedlings? Once again I am out of balance between the amount of seeds I start and the amount of bare ground available for new plants.
I usually give a number of my divisions and seedlings to a few local garden clubs. They raise money for their clubs with plant sales. One local club in Hansville, Washington raises money that goes towards projects for their community. Every year I was invited to help people identify plants they are buying and to give cultural advice. I get there early to lug my reference books to the table and give my donation of plants to the people to price out. I am amazed at the lines of people waiting to get in to shop. The excitement builds, as the helpers scurry around with last minute touches to the sale.
Suddenly the gates are open and a stampede of people rush through to get to the tables of plants quickly. First thing to grab is anything in bloom. People are drawn to the flowers as if they were bees ready to collect the nectar. In no time the plants with flowers are gone. Once the colorful objects are grabbed and tucked away then serious shopping begins. The green plants sitting in 4 inch pots make buyers use their imagination and hope as to what this plant will do in their garden. If their imaginations fail them they bring them to me and my reference book that hopefully has a wonderful picture of the little green thing they hold in their hands. They take one look at my well-used reference book with it's broken binder and pages falling out and know this book has helped many people.
When the crowd begins to thin out I go around to all the tables and eye whatever plants are left to see if some treasures have been missed. One year I found a whole flat full of seedlings of Primula auricula, at the end of the sale. At the end of the show everything is priced to sell. I bought the whole flat of treasures, as the price was reduced to fifty cents a plant.
Plant sales by local groups are wonderful places to buy plants at a reasonable price. It helps sometimes to know what you are buying so you don't overlook a flat of not your typical grocery store primroses. Check out your local plant sales this spring. Many are listed here on the Gardening Events page or check your local paper. Get to the sale early and don't just gravitate towards the flowers. You too might find some treasures that are sitting green and quiet in the corner, hiding their full potential for your garden!
Photographed in author's garden.