Sunday, May 11, 2014

Big Sale

Early Saturday morning, I headed out in the spring sunshine to pick up my friend and drive over the state line to St. Paul, Minnesota.  We were on our way to an absolutely enormous plant sale, put on by the Friends School (a Quaker school in St. Paul) as a major annual fundraiser.  Not only does it help a school, but it also helps us gardeners load up on glorious plants.

It was an absolute mad house, too.  The picture above was taken outdoors, of the line of people waiting to get into the sale.  There were several hundred people waiting, with more arriving every minute.  It was a good thing they decided to hold the sale at the coliseum on the State Fairgrounds--not only could it hold all the plants, but it could handle all the people, too.  To get into the sale is free, you just need to get an armband labeled with the number of your group.  Then, the organizers call each group in about 20 minutes apart and then it is a race to get your plants before they are gone.

I went into the sale with a list, and did fairly well finding my items.  A lot of things were sold out (the sale started on Friday morning), but I did get the majority of the herbs and native plants I had been searching for.  Everything was grouped and labeled, but the sheer volume of plants and people was a little overwhelming.
Overwhelming in a good way, of course.  I mean, when you're in the Midwest in a crowd people are still pretty friendly and kind, with lots of smiles and compliments and "excuse me"s flung about with abandon.  For all the numbers of people buying in quantity, the checkout process was a breeze:  first they tallied your order, then you moved to the cashiers to pay.  Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.  I was awfully glad that I had a cart of my own to haul everything around and back out the doors. 

So what was my haul, you ask?  Well, my biggest purchase was a pair of Black Satin thornless blackberries.  Oh, I do love blackberries!  I have black raspberries right now, which are delicious if wickedly thorned, but they aren't the same as blackberries.  I'm planning to grow them along the fence, I think.  I also found a marshmallow plant, some yarrow, pink hyssop, peppermint, bee sage, french sorrel and bloody dock, and a large quantity of snapdragons.  Some of the snapdragons will be planted here and there in my gardens, and some will be for the pollinator garden managed by the 4Hers.  All in all, it was a good day--with lots of great plants coming home with me!

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