Peggy Hill is a garden consultant, writer, speaker and plant ho. She blogs about her garden shenanigans at hiddenhillsgarden.com. Peggy is also working to preserve 435 acres and 25,000 feet of magnificent shoreline on Smith Lake in North Alabama as part of the Forever Wild Land Trust. For more information and to register your support, visit savesmithlake.com.
 

 

Reasons to Shop at the Botanical Gardens’ Plant Sales
by Peggy Hill - posted 10/07/15

I find this very amusing. Apparently, I’m the new poster child for plant sales at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. I say this because, for the second year in a row, my picture is on the postcard that they mail to all members advertising the sale. Here's a link to information about the Birmingham Botanical Gardens' fall plant sale.

Birmingham Botanical Gardens Plant Sale

I totally love that picture. It makes me happy to see myself so happy. You might remember that picture from my first back-page article in the March 2015 issue of Alabama Gardener magazine. The title of the article was ‘Gardening Makes Me a Better Person’, and I described the look on my face as sheer gardening delight. So a big “Thank You” to Andrew Krebbs at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens for capturing the moment and also for letting me use the picture in my article.

In celebration of my unofficial poster child status, I’m posting my top 6 reasons that you should shop at your nearest Botanical Gardens' plant sale, along with pictures of some of the treasures I’ve found at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens' plant sales. I'll start with two great native plants - 'Fireworks' goldenrod (Solidago rugosa 'Fireworks') and American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana).

Goldenrod and beautyberry bush

Reason #1: You need more plants. Did you know that landscaping is the only home improvement that increases you home’s value by more than it costs? For every $1.00 you spend, you get back $1.09. So, if you go to the sale, and your spouse starts complaining about how much money you’re spending, reply, “Actually darling, I’m making us money. Now, please hold this oakleaf hydrangea while I pick out a Japanese maple.”

Ashe's magnolia

I bought my Ashe's magnolia (Magnolia ashei) at Birmingham Botanical Gardens' fall plant sale in 2012.

Reason #2: The Botanical Gardens' plant sale has a great selection. Some plants don’t look good in a pot, and many nurseries don’t carry them because no one impulse buys an ugly plant. But at the Botanical Gardens’ plant sale, you can find ugly ducklings that become swans in your garden, along with plants that look amazing from the start.

Red Penta

I buy two red pentas every spring. The hummingbirds love them.

Reason #3: You can’t buy a bad plant at the Botanical Gardens' plant sale. I used to shop at a local nursery. One day I noticed a handsome plant that I recognized, but the name escaped me. When I asked the owner, she said, “Oh, you don’t want that. It’s privet, and it’s terribly invasive.” My first thought was, ‘Well then why are you selling it?’ My second thought was, 'I won't shop here again.' That kind of thing doesn't happen at the Botanical Gardens’ plant sales. They carefully select the plants they offer. Nothing is a known invasive, and they all perform well when properly placed in the garden.

Mona lavender

The purple Mona Lavender (Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender) was also purchased at their spring sale.

Reason #4: You can chat with friendly, knowledgeable people. Gardeners are nice.

Reason #5: You’ll support a great cause. When I was writing an article about Alabama’s public gardens, I was given a tour of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens that included their classrooms. It did my heart good to see inner-city kids planting what was probably their first seed. I want to help make those types of programs possible.

Turk's Cap

Turk's cap (Malvaviscus arboreus)

And my final reason that you should shop at your nearest Botanical Gardens' plant sale is the motto on my favorite T-shirt.

Reason #6: You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy plants, and that’s pretty much the same thing.

So here's a review:


Reasons to shop at Botanical Gardens
  

And here's links and information about Alabama's Botanical Gardens and their fall plant sales:

Birmingham Botanical Gardens - Saturday, Oct. 17, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 18, noon to 4 p.m.

Huntsville Botanical Gardens - Saturday, Oct. 10, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, Oct. 11 noon to 4 p.m.

Mobile Botanical Gardens - Friday, Oct. 23, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 24, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

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