Botanical Garden Plant Sales ~ A Shopping Frenzy for Gardeners!By Debra Corrington (rcn48)
April 22, 2012
Every year Spring Plant Sales sponsored by Botanical Gardens, Community Gardens, and local plant societies offer gardeners an opportunity to browse and shop for plants, unique garden ornaments or furniture.
Botanical Garden Plant Sales are usually organized by their core of volunteers and vendors are chosen by invitation only, assuring excellent quality and tremendous variety in the plants being sold. Most of these vendors make a conscious effort not to duplicate the selection of plants offered and there are always ample choices to whet the appetite of enthusiastic and passionate gardeners.
Specialty nurseries, local growers and regional plant societies are among the vendors who anxiously await eager shoppers on a mission - searching for favorite annuals and perennials as well as unusual and distinctive selections which are often impossible to find at local garden centers.
Gardeners who are occasionally dissatisfied with the lack of knowledgeable sales personnel at garden centers will be delighted with the invaluable information the plant vendors are willing to share. If you have questions relating to a plant's specific needs, these Plant Sales are an ideal location to ask! Having been intimately involved in the production of plants they offer, the vendors are always generous with their knowledge and expertise.
Spring Plant Sales are frequently only held for one day and if you're not an early shopper, your choices will be limited!
The crowd of anxious gardeners begins to grow and the ensuing "Shopping Frenzy" creates a somewhat chaotic atmosphere. Imagine the excitement of joining other frenzied shoppers and returning home with your newly purchased treasures with a quest to find the perfect spot for them in your garden!
However, members at many of the Botanical Gardens, often receive an invitation to attend a 'Members Only' sneak preview the evening before the sale, enabling them to purchase plants before the event opens the next morning. This alone might justify the expense of a membership. These sneak previews offer a pleasant shopping experience for members in a relaxed atmosphere with refreshments often provided and an excellent opportunity to grab the best selections!
Frequently plants from the Botanical Gardens are divided or propagated by the staff or volunteers and sold at their Plant Sales.
Proceeds from the sale of these plants, combined with the fees and commissions collected from the exhibiting vendors, help support the funds necessary to maintain the gardens in addition to providing the outstanding educational programs available to gardeners.
It's irrelevant whether the Plant Sale you attend is sponsored by a Botanical Garden, Community Garden or local plant society, gardeners everywhere will be pleased to know the contributions from their plant purchases have benefited these organizations.
The display gardens of Botanical Gardens offer wonderful collections of plants, which are typically identified and maintained to provide education and recreation for visitors. The plantings also provide important research information for the horticultural staff at the gardens.
An additional advantage of attending Plant Sales at Botanical Gardens is the option for visiting these display gardens while you're there. The gardens are usually flourishing with a marvelous display of spring blooming plants, trees and shrubs and fall plantings of tulips, daffodils and other favorite bulbs are ablaze at this time of the year.
Often busy gardeners don't allow themselves this luxury with their hectic schedules and critical time frames for spring planting chores. Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a calm, relaxing stroll through the gardens after you've finished your plant shopping.
These Plant Sales are held "Rain or Shine" and true gardeners won't allow the foul weather to dampen their spirits - just make sure you bring an umbrella!
To locate a Spring Plant Sale in your area, a simple search on the internet will quickly reveal thousands of links for every region of the United States and Canada.
Subscribing to the newsletters provided by some of these organizations will alert you with advance notice of the Plant Sales on their calendar of events throughout the year.
The numerous gardening magazines available will also typically include a calendar of regional gardening events.
Other excellent sources of information can be found right here at Dave's Garden. DG members regularly post events of local interest in the regional forums (subscribers only) and occasionally on the discussion forums: DG Calendar of Events or Public Gardens (subscribers only). If you're unfamiliar with Botanical Gardens that might be in your area, Go Gardening offers the ability to search and identify Public Gardens or Parks and Arboreta within a chosen radius of your location. This feature of Dave's Garden provides valuable information for both local gardeners and gardeners interested in locating gardens or parks in areas they might be visiting. Extremely helpful are the links which are provided (when available), contact information and a map of the location.
I encourage you to use any or all of the resources noted above to find a Plant Sale near you. You won't be disappointed. I guarantee you'll be marking your calendar every spring with unrestrained enthusiasm in anticipation of returning to participate in another "Shopping Frenzy"!
Photos, unless otherwise noted below, belong to: Rick's Custom Nursery
Thank you to the following for permission to use their photos in this article:
FOGs 14th Annual Plant Sale, FOGs Volunteers ~ London, Ontario: UWO Friends of the Garden (FOGs) - The University of Western Ontario (Photographer: Myra Gordon)
Rutland County Master Gardener Sale ~ Rutland, VT: Courtesy of University of Vermont: Vermont Master Gardeners (Photographer-Albert J. Marro; Rutland Herald 06/02/07)
Sunshine Community Gardens ~ Austin, TX: Sunshine Community Gardens Board Member, Ila Falvey