This month they are humming and hawing over the perfect selections from their gardens to divide and sell. Talk about hosta varieties, good groundcovers, favourite flowers and plant combinations fills the room quickly when the subject of the upcoming plant auction comes up at their meeting. They look forward to passing on the most beloved pieces of their garden, and delight in sharing hard-earned tips about their plants. Profits from their sale will benefit the garden club, through which they can exchange information and ideas about gardening on a regular basis.
I've always enjoyed perusing society plant sales, a dozen a season, to scout out unusual, sought after, and well cared for plants. If I'm stumped by any of the gems on the table, I can usually locate the plant grower, face poking out behind all the foliage at the back of the table. These enthusiasts have not shown up on a crowded Saturday or Sunday morning, rain or shine, to finagle me into a deal. They may be shy at first, but they are proud of what they've grown, and they want to ensure the best home for their plants. Starting a conversation with a plant grower about their favorite variety always seems to bring them to life. Before long the dialogue becomes animated with mimes of watering, clipping, blossoming, even sighs of relief for a job well done. I come home with arms full of plants, informational leaflets, and contact info from a number of growers, should I have any troubling questions.
After years of enjoying the spring sales from the buyer's side of the table, I finally have the opportunity this season to attend as a grower! No matter which side of the table I end up on, attending these sales has become one of the things that defines my growing season. Here are a few of the society plant sales that I hope to attend in my area this spring (click on the links for more information if you live in the area):
Natick Garden Club Annual Auction
Natick Community Organic Farm Spring Spectacular
Society Row Plant Sale with White Flower Farm presents Tomatomania
Lyman Estate Spring Herb Sale
New England Herb Society's 31st Annual Plant Sale
COGDesign Annual Plant Sale
Boston Natural Areas Network Spring Festival and Perennial Divide
There are numerous other local sales listed in my area at BostonGardens.com. For information on garden clubs around the state, visit The Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts.