Saline plant sale and nursery grand opening
I had heard tales of the lines waiting to enter, but I never actually witnessed them before today. I arrived at the Saline County Fairgrounds at 7:50 a.m. this morning and there was the longest line of folks waiting for the doors to open at 8:00 a.m. for the annual MG plant sale. Most were experienced shoppers, and had brought wagons, carts, and even laundry baskets to tote their finds. It was pretty nippy this morning and folks were wearing jackets, but happy to wait, some having arrived well before 7:30 a.m. to get a good spot in line. When the doors opened at 8:00 a.m. it looked like a swarm of ants. I waited for everyone to go inside, before heading in–truly a matter of minutes, and there were already folks waiting to check out with wagons full of plants. How they found what they were looking for that quickly, amazed me. The quality and selection of plants was pretty amazing, as were the prices. The MG’s are also extremely efficient and have devised their own check out sheet which they passed out to all attendees. By the time I finished speaking at 10, 2/3 of the plants were long gone, and the crowd was thinning out, but others were still arriving. In addition to a plant sale from MG’s gardens, they also invite local businesses to sell. They also have seminars and a silent auction. For most MG groups, plant sales are their annual money making project, and the community relishes the opportunity to come shop. Afterwards, I went and toured a friends garden in Benton, full of flowering plants, including amaryllis, both the hardy and the ones we buy in boxes at Christmas, that are now overwintering outdoors quite nicely. I also saw iris, peonies, weigela, roses and red-hot poker in full bloom. The hardy hibiscus and confederate rose hibiscus were a good 18 inches tall or more, and it is mid April! I am just amazed by this growing season.
Afterwards I headed to Party City in NLR to get supplies for the state MG conference, and then went to the grand reopening of Arkansas Gardens in Sherwood. George Collins has really transformed the place and increased the size 3 times what it was–plus more parking. He is watering all potted trees and shrubs through drip irrigation, which should save on his water bills. He is not quite done with all the work, but I was duly impressed by all he has accomplished, and this all since Feb. 1! He was in his element as he gave me the grand tour, and you can tell he is delighted to be doing exactly what he is doing. He had to take a quick break from his tour to go drive a group of families on a train ride through the nursery, but then he was back to finish showing me what they had done and what their future plans are. They were also passing out hotdogs and drinks and had a really nice crowd.
And my recent pattern continued at both the MG plant sale and Arkansas Gardens, where I bought more plants to bring home. I got some butterfly ginger, a bag of worm castings and a gorgeous red clematis. Hopefully, I will have some planting time tomorrow.