|Yellow and white irises|
Anyway, SFA holds a plant sale twice a year. I had never been to one before, but my friend Joyce wanted to go, so we packed a picnic lunch, set the GPS and drove down. I didn't know what to expect. Now I do. Here's some pointers if you ever want to go:
1. A plant list will be available before the date. Go online and print it out. This spring's plant list was 27 pages long. The plants are listed alphabetically by latin name, gives some basic information, and a comment about each plant listed.
2. Circle, star, or highlight the plants you would like to acquire. Then decide which plant you want most of all.
3. Get there early.
4. Bring a little red wagon. They will have some available, but don't count on getting one! And trust me, you'll need one!
5. Parking is free, but you will have to walk to get to the plant sale. Follow the crowd. Get in line. Getting in line is harder than you think! The plants are placed in rows alphabetically by latin name, and the "lines" are just people crowded in front of the row they want to go down first. I got in the row close to the "R"s, as I wanted some Rosas. When people start moving, GO!
6. There was no shoving, and people were polite, but the plants are picked up fast! It's amazing how many plants can disappear in just a few seconds. I did get the roses I wanted:
Satin Cream - a pale yellow thornless old garden tea rose that supposedly only gets to 5 ft high
Big Momma's Blush - a peachy-pink old garden tea rose that also supposedly only gets to 5 ft high
then I moved on to the other plants on my list. In an hour, we had our cart and our arms full of plants.
(By the way, neither of the roses have bloomed yet, and neither are listed on HMF.) Oh, and I picked up a Mrs. B.R. Cant on impulse. This is a big rose, and really shouldn't be picked up on impulse! And no, I'm not sure where I'll put her yet. Anyway, back to the plant sale:
7. Check out is a little different. You first find a volunteer to write down how many plants you have of each price range. Prices were mostly $1, $2, $5 or $10, with some big trees being more expensive. What did I pay for each plant? I have no idea! There was a colored plant tag in each pot. The color of the plant tag indicated the price. Did I have time to look at the color, look up the price, and then decide if I wanted it? No. All the plants would have been gone by then! I just grabbed and moved on. Anyway, after the volunteer writes down the number of each color of plant tags, you then proceed to the check out line.
8. After checking out, we decided to go around again, and filled up our cart a second time! The kind people at the check out watched our plants that we had already paid for.
9. Afterward, there are volunteers driving "mules" (the mechanical kind, not the animal kind) that will take you and your plants to your car. I was so thankful for this!
Would I go again? You bet! Not only did I get some roses, but I also got some unusual plants that I haven't seen anywhere else, such as habranthus tubispathus texensis, penstemon tenuis, and sarcandra glabra, to name just a few. Of course, there were a few plants that I wasn't fast enough to get. Maybe next time!
The photos are plants that are blooming in my garden now, not anything having to do with the SFA plant sale. But I'll be sure to post pics when Satin Cream and Big Momma's Blush roses start blooming.
It IS the fun time of the year for plant sales! I enjoy attending as many surrounding counties' Master Gardeners' plant sales as I can! It's fun to find plants that can take that Texas sun and heat.ReplyDelete
I've always wanted to attend the Smith County bulb sale. On their website, I've read a humorous account of what it's like to attend that sale. I'm sure it's similar to the SFA sale!
Wow, what a great day you had and hectic too by the sounds of it. I love the shots of the plants in your garden especially the yellow and white irises, the red Camellia looks gorgeous.ReplyDelete
I attended a Perennial Plant Society of Middle Tennessee (PPSMT) sale last year. It was fun -- but also a bit too much of a competitive atmosphere for me to enjoy.ReplyDelete
I felt sad when some plants I had hope to get were sold out 10 minutes after the doors opened.
This year, I headed down to McMinnville to a wholesaler and picked up a nice selection of plants for approximately the same prices as the PPSMT sale. By emailing the nursery ahead of time, all the plants were gathered and ready for me when I walked in the door. It was great!
Of course, I had to drive 3+ hrs roundtrip, but it's mostly beautiful country scenery along the way. And I knew the perfect place to stop for a fried catfish lunch ;-)
Hi Holley, that sounds like a really fine plant sale! I wonder how many plants they sell in their spring sale altogether. Wow, you got some Tea roses that are not even listet on HMF? I am so happy for you that you could acquire these rarities and I am dying to see them in person. Hope they do well and bloom soon for you. Great that you got some other unusual plants. I love plants sale where they don't offer the same old stuff that you see everywhere. Long live diversity!ReplyDelete
I truly admire the photos of your garden that you used in this post. I love, love, love the first shot with the irises. Mine let me down this spring again and weren't blooming :-(.
Wishing you a lovely Easter week!
Oh Holley, I'm so glad you brought this plant sale experience to us! I have heard so much about the sale which is promoted in Central Texas even though it is at least a seven hour drive on a good day. I even have a Lumberjack T-shirt to wear in the garden. SFA and Greg Grant are such a legend in Texas horticulture.ReplyDelete
I think it's great that you had access to an advance copy of the available plant list. I attended a cactus and succulent plant show this past weekend and, although I knew something about some of the plants I selected, I picked up others and conducted my research after-the-fact. I may have made different selections had I more information at my fingertips. I think the Theodore Payne Foundation sale of California natives is handled along the lines you describe but I haven't got there yet.ReplyDelete
Oh bliss. No wonder you went around a second time. I'm looking forward to pictures of those roses.ReplyDelete
The irises look so stunning! I love both of the shape and color. The Camelia looks gorgeous.ReplyDelete
Wow, your garden is gorgeous right now! The irises are so pretty! I've been to plant sales like this one and they are crazy fun! But I don't remember anyone helping bring the plants to the car.ReplyDelete
It's best to be prepared before going to plant fairs! Glad to hear you managed to pick up the roses you wanted :)ReplyDelete
Oh I would LOVE to go to this! It sounds brilliant! I was elbowed in my pregnant belly by someone at the Chelsea Flower Show a few years ago. The person didn't want to buy anything - just stare at a garden which was going nowhere for a few days, so I am very pleased to read that people are well-behaved at this event, even though plants sell fast.ReplyDelete
Sounds like so much fun. Kind of like a game show for plant shopping.ReplyDelete
I think I would enjoy an "event" like that! Sounds like a lot of fun! Glad you got the roses you wanted, and I'm sure you'll find a spot for the one bought on impulse. ;-)ReplyDelete
Now, I know and it is only a hop, skip and jump from where I live in the piney woods of east Texas. Do you know when the fall sale is?ReplyDelete
Ann, I think it's going to be October 4th this year. (But certainly double-check that date before then!) I hope you go and find lots of fun plants!Delete
Holley, can you please share what fertilizer you are using for your roses now that we know that the nicoinoids are causing disaster for our bees. My experience is that roses LOVE the chemicals, but I don't want to do it anymore. I start them all with E.B.Stone SureStart, and I've tried another E. B.Stone organic product for ongoing feeding, but I know it won't protect against black spot for example. What are you doing if I may ask?ReplyDelete
Susie, good luck with figuring out what is best for you. I truly believe that roses can be grown organically without all those pesticides/fungicides - IF you have the right rose for your location. After all, roses have been grown for thousands of years, and they didn't have chemicals to spray on them back then! Of course, it may take a year or two for your roses to build up a natural defense. As for me, I seem to use a different fertilizer every year. This year I used a mixture of blood meal, bone meal and ashes from my fireplace, with a little cottonseed meal mixed in. Last year I just spread manure around each rose. Some years I don't even fertilize. In the past, I have tried Osmocote and even Miracle Gro, but like you, I now lean toward organic. Still, it seems everyone has a different opinion about what is best, so this summer I'm going to do a soil test to figure out what I need next year. As for protection against blackspot, I have never sprayed, and have never used systemics. I grow roses that are disease resistant, and I am lucky enough to live where it is too hot for blackspot in the summer, so fall and spring are the only times I have to worry about that. If I have a rose that is a blackspot magnet and I have been unhappy with it for several years, I pull it out and get a different rose. I can name a few roses I no longer grow because of this. But let me tell you what my favorite rose seller does: He starts his cuttings with Osmocote, but when the rose gets larger, instead of using chemicals, he waters all his roses with fish pond water. He insists it protects the roses against disease, as well as fertilizes. I think he probably has the winning solution. In fact, I would use a fish emulsion fertilizer, but the smell would drive my cats crazy! ;)Delete
Holley, this is such great info. Thank you so much. I'm going to follow your advice. Oddly enough, even though I think about this all the time in terms of my personal health....I forgot about letting the roses build up some natural immunity. Of course! Kind of a Duh on my part. But seriously, thanks so much for your detailed response, it helps. I do live in what they call "The City of Roses!" after all. But it still has it's challenges.Delete
Holley I laughed reading how you got your new plants! What a wonderful place is the plant sale. If I would come there I bought as many roses as I could place in a car.ReplyDelete
Oh how fun! That sounds like quite the plant sale! What type of clematis is that in your picture, do you know? I would like a clematis in my garden that is that color - it's very pretty! I love your Crossvine (I'm a sucker for vines, can't you tell?)ReplyDelete
Indie, I think the clematis is Duchess of Albany. I bought it because liked the name! ;)Delete
I love going to plant sales like that. So much more interesting than shopping at garden centers. It sounds like you chose a nice variety of plants. I'll look forward to seeing the photos of your plants growing in your garden! (I really like the photo your clematis. Such a pretty color!)ReplyDelete
I used to go to plant sales over here but haven’t been for many years, these days I do all my plant shopping online and the temptations can become just as unbearable I can assure you!ReplyDelete
Looking forward to seeing your new plants in your garden, especially the roses :-)
Sounds like you had a grand time at the sale! It's the season for them and I love them too. Glad you got some great plants; there's nothing as exciting as coming home with a car full of new plants!ReplyDelete
Sounds like a great time! Love going to sales like this although I usually buy way more than I need!ReplyDelete
You were so wise to go prepared! Sales like this can be overwhelming. Sounds like you got some great plants and roses. The irises in your garden are just beautiful Holley. Have a wonderful Easter!ReplyDelete
Oh, I so want to go to your plant sale as it sounds so exciting! Who grows them all, and why are they so cheap ? I visit a nursery several times a year which sells unusual plants at very reasonable prices, and it feels like Christmas morning when I get there ! Looking forward to seeing your roses when they decide to bloom...ReplyDelete
Wow Holley that sounds like a blast...and reasonable prices. The best of both worlds...great plants for great prices!ReplyDelete
How I love plant sales! It seems you found a very good one and bought some treasures. I will attend a Master Gardener symposium in a few weeks, and they usually have a plant sale. You are getting me primed for that very special day. Enjoy spring!ReplyDelete
Sounds like a really fab sale! Lovely photos.ReplyDelete
Sounds stressful! And exciting... And potentially shocking at the checkout, but worth it to bag the unusual.ReplyDelete
I haven't been to any plant sales yet this year. Can't wait for my first -- they are such fun events. I look forward to seeing your purchases established in your lovely garden. P. xReplyDelete
Holley, I loved your photos! The sale sounds like a lot of fun, if maybe a little stressful as Janet says. Can I ask you a question on a different subject--what do you feed your roses? I'm going to all organic and mostly using EB Stone, but I'm concerned about black spot. Roses love the chemicals, but they aren't getting them now....so what do YOU do?ReplyDelete
Holley, forget this comment--I see that you already addressed it above. I just hadn't gotten to that! Thanks for catching this duplication.ReplyDelete
Oh my gosh, your spring flowers are just beautiful!ReplyDelete
One had better be organized and had better know the Latin! Your pointers would be very helpful. If not already doing so, SFA should publish similar pointers prior to their sale. By the way, your spring garden is looking very lovely!ReplyDelete