Sonoma Horticultural in Sebastopol has extended their 25-% off sale through March, so if you're near it in the next week, you definitely should drop in. It's more than 7 acres of azaleas and rhododendrons, but they have lots of other great stuff too. Many clematis, hydrangea, primula, hellebores, iris, and other things, ranging from shade perennials to tropical vines and gorgeous Pavlownia trees. I bought a Lapageria rosea vine there in a 1-gallon can for $8.00. Later saw them elsewhere on the Web in 6-inch pots for $60.00. Glad I went to Sonoma Hort first.
Becoming a member and going to the preview sale is a good idea. Most sales give 10% to members so you get your membership cost back very quickly and they send you stuff during the year to remind you of what is coming up. The really unusual stuff is usually gone or picked over by the time the general public gets in. It is less crowded and easier to check out as well. If you have your own wagon it is a good idea to bring it as most places the wagons are gone after the first few people or you have to wait around when checking out for a wagon. Getting someone go with you is very helpful. You can get the plants and your helper can taken them to your stash. I took two of my grandkids to the Davis sale last year and they had a great time.
Most places have a list of plants they are offering that can be downloaded. Study it and see what you want ahead of time. Make a list of what you want, not that you will stick to it, but it helps you remember while you are frantically shopping. There really isn't time during the sale to think about what might work in a certain corner or for asking landscaping advice.
Some places give you quantities available, so if you want something in short supply go there first. BotGard prices are all over the map, some things are very cheap and unusual, somethings are expensive and available elsewhere for less. The major nurseries will also support the sales and provide plants, often things they are trying out or planning on introducing later. If you look at the list and see stuff you do not recognize look it up. There are many amazing plants out there that work very well but are not generally available.
BotGard sales are an important source of revenue for many organizations. It is a great place to find unusual plants and helps these very worthwhile organizations. If you haven't gone, try it sometime, it is a blast. You will find a great collection of plant nuts, sorta like this place, only in person. One last thing, it is best to get there early, usually a half hour or more before they open.
Unfortunately, I still have too many sitting in the driveway to get serious about the sales. This seems to happen in the spring. Hopefully, I wll get the over three hundred planted before Strybing and Huntington, the two biggies I haven't been to. Then the propagation bug has bitten and those are starting to get ready to plant as well as other stuff I picked up along the way and the mail order stuff is there too. Gotta get with it, now that the weather has turned good, though it is very overcast today and light sprinkles.
I have been to the fall sale at Davis a couple of times. Gotten some great plants that have generally done well. As long as I quit trying to grow greenhouse plants outside it will be fine. Many promptly croak since it is starting to get cold in the fall. I am going to the UCBerkeley and Strybing Arb sales this spring. Both on the same day, Friday, for members. I have not been to either. I figure to follow it up with a trip to Annies, which should pretty well fill up the pickup. It will hold about 180 one-gallon plants triple stacked. Annies looks like it has mostly 4" which are much easier to plant and take up a lot less room.
I can't thank you guys enough for starting this forum, I was hoping for it, and just happenned on it!!!!! Plant sales are not to be missed, always a nice selection, and prices can't be beat! Again, thanks, Annie
The Humboldt Botanical Garden Foundation will be having a Plant sale on November 5th. I'm not sure where it will be held at this point, but I'm sure they will be releasing more information as it gets a little closer.
gacarnegie - if you are still following this thread, the euphorbia you have in your photo looks very much like euphorbia leuconeura. I got some seeds from the botany department in UCB years and years ago and gave some to the botany dept. in Davis. They were the ones that told me the name of the plant. The young leaves have the white nerve-like veins - hence the name "leuconeura" . If your plant starts spitting out little seeds across the room, then it is that plant.