The short but very busy season of local plant sales gets under way on Saturday with the always-great outdoor sale at the Native Plant Center on the Westchester Community College campus in Valhalla. The sale, which features 3,000 plants and more than 70 species of native perennials, shrubs, trees, ornamental grasses and vines, runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (members are allowed in at 9:30). Get there early for the best stuff.
(Volunteers setting up on Tuesday, photos by Mark Vergari)
Look for coneflowers, asters, ferns, mountain mint, serviceberry, coral bells, creeping phlox, columbine, high- and low-bush blueberry.
(Coral bells, or heuchera)
(Prickly pear, image from the Native Plant Center)
If you’re a bit of newbie when it comes to gardening, lots of volunteers will be on hand to offer guidance about what’s good for sun or shade and what may be deer resistant, aromatic or bird and butterfly friendly.
(Plant sale chair Carolyn Summers, left, and Native Plant Center director Carol Capobianco look over perennials delivered earlier this week for the Native Plant Center sale on Saturday.)
Plants that are indigenous to the Northeast may not be as showy as exotics like Chinese peonies and German irises, but they’ll be the workhorses in your garden, drawing lots of pollinators and offering sustenance to native wildlife. Plus natives are easier for home gardeners to maintain — they’re much more likely to be drought tolerant and disease resistant than exotics from Europe and Asia. They’re already genetically primed to do well in our soil and weather conditions.
The Native Plant Center was established in 1998 as the first national affiliate of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, Texas.
(From left, volunteer Carolyn Summers, Jennifer Baugrand, the horticulturist at the Native Plant Center in Valhalla, and Lisa Turoczi, right, the owner of Earth Tones Native Plant Nursery in Woodbury, Connecticut, check off plants as they are placed on a table, April 23.)
In general, local plant sales are a great way to get great stuff for your garden and show support for nonprofit groups that will give that money back to the community. That flat of pansies you buy will help pay for the colorful containers and hanging baskets that line downtown shopping districts all summer.
Many of the plants on sale were grown in garden club members’ own planting beds and greenhouses, so you know they’ll do well in the Hudson Valley. When you buy plants at local sales, you’re much more likely to get ones grown locally, not ones marketed on a nationwide basis.
Some of the best and biggest sales, including ones sponsored by Teatown Lake Reservation Nature Center in Yorktown and the Garden Club of Nyack, will be held on May 11, the day before Mother’s Day. Get it? Instant easy gift for Mom.
Along with hundreds of top-shelf plants for sale, Teatown will be offering free tours of its 2-acre Wildflower Island from 10:30 to 1:30 p.m. on May 11.
May 18 is another winner, with big, wonderfully run sales at Lasdon Park and Arboretum in Somers and the annual Master Gardener Plant Sale in Brewster. The Shop at Lasdon will be open, too, selling gardening tools and gifts.
May 18 is also Armed Forces Day, and at 3 p.m. that day at Lasdon Park a majestic bronze sculpture of an American bald eagle, created by wildlife artist Mike Curtis of Idaho, will be dedicated to all those who have served.
If you don’t know the 234-acre Lasdon Park, you’re missing one of the real treasures of the Westchester parks system. The plant sale is a great excuse to go exploring.
LOCAL PLANT SALES
Valhalla: The Native Plant Center’s 14th Annual Native Plant Sale. This year, the hours have been extended for greater shopping enjoyment. The sale opens to the public at 10 a.m.-1:00 p.m. (Native Plant Center members may enter at 9:30 a.m.) 10 a.m. Westchester Community College, 75 Grasslands Road (park in Lot 1). www.nativeplantcenter.org, 914-606-7870.
Dobbs Ferry: The Garden Club of Dobbs Ferry Plant Sale. A palette of perennials, annuals, herbs and vegetables will be available. Demonstrations are planned throughout the day, including container planting, garden design with annuals and perennial companion mixes. Children’s Village will offer a collection of plants from their greenhouse. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Dobbs Ferry Train Station, 11 Station Plaza, between High and Palisades streets.
Cos Cob, Conn.: 52nd Annual May Gardeners’ Market. Select vendors will be selling collections of annuals, perennials, heirloom vegetables, wildflowers, herbs, shrubs, trees and unique plants as well as a family-oriented educational bee program. To register, visit www.gecgreenwich.org or call 203-869-9242. Rain or shine. Free. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Garden Education Center of Greenwich, 130 Bible St.
Tappan: Tappantown Historical Society Plant Sale. An array of plants including annuals, vegetables, herbs, hanging baskets, home-grown perennials and distinctive shrubs, many from local gardens will be available. A master gardner will be on hand to help with advice and plant selection. Proceeds will support local history education programs including the 29th annual Colonial Day on Sept. 28. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Rain or shine. Call 845-359-1923. www.tappantown.org. Tappan Reformed Church, 32 Old Tappan Road. 845-359-1694.
Mount Kisco: Annual Flower Patch Sale. Selection of hanging baskets, annuals, perennials, herbs and vegetables. Noon-5 p.m. May 9-10; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. May 11. United Methodist Church of Mount Kisco, 300 E. Main St. 914-666-5014.
Briarcliff Manor: Briarcliff Manor Garden Club Annual Plant Sale. Annuals, herbs, hanging baskets, gift baskets, tomatoes and a section of plants grown by members will be featured. There will also be home-baked goods available for sale. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Rain or shine. Wells Fargo, 1050 Pleasantville Road. 914-941-8203.
Pleasantville: Pleasantville Garden Club Annual Plant Sale. Perennials, annuals, herbs, gift items and hanging baskets. Sale to benefit club’s community beautification projects and scholarships at local high schools. 8-11:30 a.m. Pleasantville train station, Marble Avenue. 914-747-4217.
Upper Nyack: Garden Club of Nyack’s Annual Plant Sale. The sale features perennials and shrubs from members’ gardens, including native plants such as columbine, rudbeckia, meadow rue, and joe-pye weed as well as garden favorites like hellebores, bleeding hearts and ferns. Free. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 507 N. Broadway. 845-358-0553.
Yorktown: Teatown’s Plant Sale: Featuring the Unusual, the New and the Tried and True. The two-day event opens with a first pick sale from 4-7 p.m. May 10, with an admission fee of $10. On May 11, admission is free and the sale is from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Teatown Lake Reservation Nature Center, 1600 Spring Valley Road. 914-762-2912.
Mahopac: Spring Fling Plant, Craft and Bake Sale. Rain or shine. Flowering plants, hanging baskets, annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs and more. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. First Presbyterian Church of Mahopac, 411 Route 6 N. 845-628-2365.
Brewster: Master Gardener Plant Sale. Heirloom and hybrid tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and other vegetables, plus annuals, perennials and shrubs, many from member gardens. Also gloves, pots, soaps and free pH test for your garden soil (bring a half cup of soil). Gardeners on hand to answer questions and offer advice. 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Cornell Cooperative Extension Education Center, 1 Geneva Road, www.cce.cornell.edu/putnam, 845-278-6738.
Somers: 22nd Annual Friends of Lasdon Plant Sale. Huge selection of plants of all kinds. For more information on the sale and membership in the Friends of Lasdon, contact Nancy Giges at 914-683-5108 or firstname.lastname@example.org. 20 percent discount for members at the sale. 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Lasdon Park and Arboretum, 2610 Amawalk Road/Route 35. 914-232-6583.
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