Happy first day of April! March went by quickly, but that is generally true for every month in Ohio expect for February. March went by with cleaning up and prepping gardens for Aprils showers and warmer weather. We do some planting in April, but the frost in Ohio makes it difficult on some plant varieties. Another great thing for gardeners to do in April is visit local garden club, arboretum and plant society sales. These are the best resource for unique, native or difficult to find plants. I posted last year on this topic. I don’t want to be redundant, but this year I am ahead of the major sales so want to share some more tips and remind you (and myself) to mark your calendars.
WHEN: Depending on the part of the country, lot of the sales start in April, run into May with a few repeating again in the fall. Last year I visited the Chadwick Arboretum (May 7-9) and the Granville Garden Club’s Daffodil Sale (April 18-19). I missed the Dawes Arboretum Sale (May 16).
HOW TO FIND: Start with checking the websites of local Arboretums and Conservatories. Here is a database search by ZIP CODE from the American Horticulture Society. Another great resource would be to check local master gardeners or garden clubs. Here is a link (also from the American Horticulture Society for Master Garden clubs by State. And here is a link to find garden clubs in your state too, via the National Garden Clubs website. You can also do a good old Google search for “Plant sale” and your area’s name and see the results.
AT THE SALE TIPS:
- These sales often have wagons you can use, but if its a popular sale (like Trade Secrets) it might help to bring your own wagon. However please be courteous while pulling in crowds, I have received (and given) a few bruised shins in the past.
- Plants are grouped by type, seller or both. Know the site conditions you are looking to fill (sun/shade/soil/water), since this will help you narrow down where to look and save you for making a purchase that is not successful in your garden.
- Use your phone to search images and care information on plants you are not knowledgeable. Often these are cuttings from someone’s personal garden or the arboretum so don’t include those informational tags at nurseries, just the plant name. And there are tons of knowledgeable plant people around so ask them questions.
IF YOU MISS THE SALES: Don’t worry, go to your local nursery as early as possible to get the best selection. If you purchase a plant before your frost free date, protect the them with old sheets at night when there is a potential for frost.
I hope everyone is able to get out to at least one sale this year, or like me try to visit as many as you can.