Spring Plant Sales

Last year I just sort of went to plant sales as I heard about them, without any real strategy. This year, armed with a tiny bit of foresight, I'm doing some real planning. One of the benefits of living in two cities 250 miles apart is that I get a wider range of travel. So here's the list of sales I'm planning to go to so far, in order of date:

San Francisco Garden Show
Cow Palace, Daly City
Thu, March 22 (it's actually March 21-25, but I'm going on the Thursday)
I went to this last year and was a bit disappointed, but this year I want to go look at Japanese maples, so I'm being much more directed. I found the display gardens utterly terrifying, so I have plotted a route that avoids them. We'll see how well I do at that, because frightening display gardens also fascinate me.

Poly Plant Shop Spring Perennial Sale
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
Sat, April 7
Not a wide selection or even really esoteric, but it is my school and the prices are good.

Poly Plant Shop Tomatomania
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
Fri, April 13
Hoping to find some weird heirloom varieties, but really, I don't need more tomatoes this year. I'm going out of shopping instinct rather than need.

San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden Spring Plant Sale
El Chorro Park, San Luis Obispo
Sat, April 14 10a - 4p
I need to replace a couple native plants that got hosed in the heat last summer or the freeze this winter. That'll teach me not to get plants in the ground promptly. Also, perhaps new plants need to get extra water their first year. I'll give that a try this time round.

Regional Parks Botanic Garden Plant Sale
Tilden Park, Berkeley
Sat, April 21 10a - 3p
More California natives. I want some ferns, a few native bulbs if they have them, and some shrubs. I wish they had a list of their stock online.

Merritt College Plant Sale
Merritt College, Oakland
Sat, April 28
Never been; been told I should go.

UC Berkeley Botanical Garden Plant Sale
Tilden Park, Berkeley
Sat, April 28 10a - 2p
Interested in some greenhouse-y plants and a few of the natives they have listed.

San Francisco Botanical Garden Spring Plant Sale
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Around May 6
Plenty of interesting stuff on the list from last year, and another sale I've never been to that people tell me I should check out.

Cabrillo College Plant Sale
Cabrillo College, Aptos
Sat, May 12 9a - 5p
Got some great stuff last year. I want to riffle through the natives and also look into some of their salvias (not that I need any more salvias). As the last sale of the year, this is my last chance to get some things I definitely want to buy this year. On the other hand, if I've got all I wanted by mid-May, I can skip it (Cabrillo is a bit of a haul for us).

My basic strategy is to have a running list of the plants or types of plants I'm looking for, with notes about which sales are most likely to have them. Then I can be more directed in my purchases. It's time to start filling in with shrubs, and I still have a few more ornamental trees to plant (next winter I'll be planting more fruit trees, anyway), and when you make decisions like that you really need to be less haphazard than is my usual gardening practise.

Oh, and if you'd like to meet up at one of these sales? Drop a line.

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posted by ayse on 03/18/07