Monday, May 19, 2014

The best plant sale of the year

This past Saturday was the local IFAS extension/Master Gardener's plant sale.  & it was packed.  they open at 8am & at &7:45 I was waiting in a looooooong line of traffic to make the turn into the IFAS extension office building lot.  I have no idea if they opened early because by the time I got parked & out of the car it was after 8. 

I had planned to take pictures even though my camera was on a trip to Miami (next week it goes to Paris without me!); I have been learning the camera on my phone which s actually a nice one but my hands were full almost immediately.  I had brought sturdy bags which enabled m to carry plenty of plants but next year I am bringing a wagon!

I came home with one calendula which I immediately repotted (it had two unopened blooms & I was hoping to save one of them) & one cut-leaf coneflower.  I actually went hoping to find one of the varieties of purple coneflower but they were gone by the time I made it to the perennials section.  What I did find was a different variety of the rain lilies I am already crazy about.  I also go two lavender plants because I never can resist them & four roses: two Belinda's Dream & two Louis Philippe.  I forked over a whopping $26.  Consider if you will that roses this size cost >$15 a the local discount rose garden.  Yes I am delighted with my haul but that's not all.

The famously difficult to find UF campus IFAS bookstore had a booth where I could have easily dropped $100.  What I did buy was a book on native tree identification, an updated poisonous pasture plants guide & a small but thorough booklet on fruit plant propagation with a special focus on different kinds of grafting.  Yee-ha!

On the whole this event seemed to go smoothly.   There were two unruly people, both of them elderly men who were probably themselves overwhelmed, not that that is an excuse.  Still two cranks in a crowd of I don't know how many seems like almost nothing.  There was also a snafu as I was checking out; they kept coming up with a different plant count & I nixed it each time; all of their numbers added up to an even number & I knew I had nine plants.  In the end it was quite the headache to recreate the prices of what I had (they talked about going back to look but I knew the lavenders & one of the roses were already gone).  As I walked away from the table I could not help but notice the older lady responsible for pulling the color stakes used as price tags still had some of the tags from my plants in one hand when she started pulling them for the next sale.  Then she put them on the table & began to pile all the stakes  together.  The woman who was working with her caught my eye, smiled & shrugged.  I can see how the crowd of people no matter how happy to be there could easily fluster a person who would rather be gardening.

In all the sale runs for five hours (four actually but there are still people there even as the are wrapping up) & it is just once a year.  I have heard they made over $15K for the local Master Gardener program.  A good day.

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