Plant Sale Strategies

This weekend presents a seasonal high point for avid gardeners in the Monterey Bay area. Marking the beginning of the spring planting season, three significant plant sales offer a fine array of plants to choose from for your garden.

The Santa Cruz Chapter of the California Native Plant Society will offer several categories plants that are native to the Golden State. The sale will be on Saturday, April 13th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 for CNPS members and 12:00 to 4:00 for the public. There is more information about this sale today in this paper’s Home & Garden section. 

The UCSC Arboretum and Botanic Garden will hold its spring plant sale, presenting collections of plants that are native to South Africa, Australia, and California, plus some from other dry summer regions. This sale is at the same time and place as the CNPS sale. The Arboretum  is “a favorite destination for those who love  plants, birds and natural beauty. [It] inspires stewardship of the world’s biodiversity through research, education, and the conservation of rare and extraordinary plants.”

The Arboretum’s sale event includes a first-ever Silent Auction of striking and uncommon plants. This activity will be active from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. , with a last call bidding opportunity at 12:55. Winning bidders must be present at the end of the Auction to claim their winnings.

For lists of the sale plants and the Silent Auction plants, visit the Arboretum’s website and click on the Events calendar.

The CNPS and Arboretum sales are at the Arboretum, the entrance for which is on the west side of the campus, off of Empire Grade. For driving directions, browse to the Arboreum website and click on the Visit menu.

South African Blossom
Leucospermum erubescens Photo by Bill Bishoff

Monterey Bay Area Cactus & Succulent Society will conduct this weekend’s third plant sale. It will be held at the Community Hall, 10 San Jose Street, San Juan Bautista. This is a two-day event, from 9:00 to 5:00 on Saturday, April 13th, and 9:00 to 4:00 on Sunday, April 14th. Use Google Maps, MapQuest or other service for driving directions from your location.

The MBACSS event brings together several advanced growers of cactus & succulent plants for a combination of a show of well-grown exceptional plants and a sale of mostly young plants that are easy to cultivate in the Monterey Bay area’s moderate climate, and that bring a fascinating range of colors and forms to local gardens. Many gardeners enjoy collecting different cultivars within a genus, or a variety of different genera from South Africa or Mexico or other areas of the world. In addition to adding plants for your garden, the plant show provides an unique and enjoyable opportunity to see and study outstanding specimens of cacti and succulents.

The sale also includes creatively designed containers and planting supplies. 

Advanced growers will be available on request to provide growing advice and background information for specific plants.

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When planning to participate in one of these sales, or visit a garden, or select plants from a mail-order catalog, optimize your satisfaction potential in these three ways.

1. Determine the plants you want or need to add to your garden. Be specific! What is the desired mature size of the plants you want? Will they be in full sun, partial shade, or full shade? What colors would support your design? What plant forms would work best?

2. Decide on the low and high amounts you want to spend. The low amount would be appropriate if only a few plants meet your objectives, and the high amount would serve to control your urges on an occasion was lots of what you see is appealing.

3. When plant lists are available online, as with the Arboretum’s sale, take the time to mark your targets for possible purchase. Unless you are already a plant maven, this process could require “Googling” the plants by name. With very rare exceptions, such a search will yield good information about the available plants. This preparation is particularly wise for the Arboretum’s Silent Auction.

Your plant search could extend over all three of this weekend’s plant sales.  Enjoy the hunt!

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