By Teresa Woodard
The plant-buying frenzy is about to begin, and there’s no better place for one-of-a-kind plants and great gardening advice than a public garden’s plant sale. Besides, the sales generate significant income for botanic gardens, arboreta and plant societies.
There’s a month-long series of sales throughout the Midwest. Many feature auctions, pre-sale party nights, workshops and book signings. To get first dibs on plants, check out the pre-sale events typically offered to members. No doubt, the membership privilege is well worth the $25-$50 annual dues.
Also, come with questions. Many of the volunteers have first-hand experience growing the plants for sale. So, don’t be afraid to ask for their favorite tomato plant, native shade tree or miniature varieties. The only danger is you may end up with a trunk full of wonderful plants.
While there are many places to shop, this year, we’re highlighting the Native Plant Sale at Aullwood Audobon Center in Dayton, Ohio. I loved revisiting the late conservationist Marie Aull’s woodland gardens, while doing a story for the recent issue of Country Gardens magazine.
At Aullwood’s natives sale, you’ll find 100 different species — from woodland wildflowers like celandine poppies to prairie favorites like compass plant and milkweeds to wetland stars like cardinal flower. They’ll also have ornamental grasses like little bluestem and native trees and shrubs such as flowering dogwood, sumac and spicebush. To save time, submit a pre-order form by April 7, and orders will be ready for pick up on April 11 or 12. If you pick up on April 11, you also have shopping privileges at the plant rescue sale featuring trilliums, bloodroots, Virginia bluebells and more. After shopping, be sure to see the spring ephemerals starting to bloom at Aullwood Gardens.
Other places to shop include:
- Chicago Botanic Garden Antiques & Garden Fair (April 11-13)
- Morton Arboretum Arbor Day Sale, Illinois (April 25-27)
- Native Illinois Plant Sale (April 26)
- Cox Arboretum MetroPark Wildflower and Native Plant Sale, Ohio (April 26)
- Adena Mansion’s Heirloom Plant Sale, Ohio (May 2-18)
- Inniswood Volunteer’s Plant Sale, Ohio (May 3-4)
- Wegerzyn Mayfair Plant Sale, Ohio (May 3-4)
- Southwestern Indiana Master Gardener Association’s Annual Plant Sale (May 3-4)
- Chadwick Arboretum Plant Sale, Auction and Gardening Fair, Ohio (May 8-10)
- Olbrich Botanical Gardens Plant Sale with the Pros, Wisconsin (May 9-10)
- Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society Annual Native Plant Sale and Auction (May 10)
- Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City Plant Sale (May 10)
- Missouri Botanical Gardens Spring Wildflower Sale (May 10)
- Secrest Arboretum Plant Discovery Day and Sale, Ohio (May 10)
- Holden Arboretum Plant Sale, Ohio (May 17-18)
- Bernheim Arboretum Bloomfest Plant Sale, Kentucky (May 18)
- Dawes Arboretum Plant Sale and Garden Fair, Ohio (May 18)
- Wisconsin Herb Society’s Herb Fair (May 24)