Monday, May 9, 2011

Plant Sale

Every year the Royal Botanical Gardens has its annual spring plant sale. It is held in the arboretum, a wonderful area filled with hundreds of kinds of trees. It is also famous for the lilac festival which is held in June.
I arrived before opening at 9am along with a hundred other eager people, searched for a parking spot and then high tailed it to find the end of the queue. Then of course the mad dash as we all elbowed our way past each other to begin the plant sale extravaganza. Now I am not really the type to line up hours ahead of time to ensure my ticket or place in line. And I am not a collector trying to find the elusive primula that only grows in Tahiti. But since this is my third year going, I guess I enjoy the environment and the feelings that accompany the rush and excitement of a good find. I was more organized in my preparations than I have been in the past. I remembered to bring a sturdy plastic bag and a cardboard box for my potential goodies. Others were obviously veterans of the plant sale and brought wagons, boxes, carts and most importantly, the list. No list for me. Actually I was just curious to see what they had and then see if there was a plant I could not leave behind. I did make  a few purchases (at 20% off too, being a RBG member).

First photo are two Thalictrum diocum or Early/ Tall Meadow rue. I have other meadow rues in the garden but this one grows in a shady area and will go in the native area. Hopefully they will survive as they are quite small right now, almost insignificant in fact, and yet I decided to make the purchase.

Trillium erectum. I have tried this red trillium a few times unsuccessfully so far. I can grow the large white ones or T. grandiflorum with ease it seems, but the red eludes me. If it flowers the world will know, but maybe not until next year.

Not quite an edible. Nodding onion or Allium cernum is a pretty member of the onion family whose flower head nods towards the ground before the small white flowers open and straightens to face the sun. I lost the only one of these I had a few years ago when we were re-stacking our stone wall. I tried to remove the plants I wanted to keep before hand but being a small bulb among other small bulbs it was not to be. Seeing as they only had one left at the sale I grabbed it.

Lastly I could not leave without this heucherella hybrid Sugar and Spice. The leaves are lovely with that purple blotch and the flowers are a dainty pink. I imagine from the name is has scent but I have not been so lucky yet.

There are many other plant sales advertising in and around my area right now and I hope to go to one or two more, just to see. If I had had a list with me this time it would not have helped, as what I need are trees and shrubs and the RBG sale did not have much in that area. Who knows, maybe next plant sale I'll come home with a tree sticking out the trunk.


  1. I know the pain of the smashed plant...glad you found a replacement! I hope your red trillium thrives...they are so lovey!!

  2. Enjoy your little pretties! I just discovered triliums. The one a friend gave me got a bit dried, but I'm hoping it comes out of it.

  3. It’s another wonderful rainy Spring day, so I’m taking time to look over the Blogs I follow. Wanted to see what you have been up to. I have not even thought about (ok maybe a little) of going out to buy any plants yet this year. Spring is so slow in coming this year and the cold rain today just makes it seem longer. I have some daffodils, scilla, and the like out, but seems far from the warm days of Spring. HOpe it comes soon. Then like you I will be out and about looking and no doubt buying. Check in again soon. Jack

  4. Our neighbour got some plants at the RBG sale as well. I'm interested in Meadow Rue and Trillium since they do well in shade. My astilbeys seem to be multiplying well and the monkshood has come back after being decapitated by the dog. Oddly lily of the valley is very slow to gain a foothold. - Laurie