Monday, April 14, 2014

SFA Plant Sale

Any Texan can tell you, SFA stands for Stephen F. Austin State University.  It is located in Nacogdoches, Texas.  Most people outside of Texas don't know how to pronounce Nacogdoches, but it is pronounced pretty much the same way it's spelled.

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.

Dutch irises

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.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

It's Here!

Spring is finally here!  What a tease it has been this year.  But now, new, young leaves have begun to show on the shrubs, 

creeping phlox is blooming,

tulips are blooming, and are well worth the price to have a few in the garden.

I planted the beginnings of an iris walk, and I can't wait to see if my efforts pay off.

The grass needs mowing (ugh), but the asparagus is fresh and super yummy.  This is the first year I've been able to harvest them, and they are better than I ever expected!

The late cold snap damaged a lot of my roses.  Most are recovering, but I'm quite worried about a few of my old garden teas.  We'll just have to wait and see how they fare.  But as always, the garden is full of sweet surprises.

I think my peonies are going to bloom this year!  Peony blooms in Texas!  How exciting!  
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