Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Butterfly Plant Sale

This weekend -- Friday, Saturday and Sunday -- is the semi-annual butterfly plant sale at Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park in Dallas.  Through my volunteering at the Butterfly House there, I was included on an email last week asking for volunteers to work the plant sale.  I jumped at the offer -- and signed up for Saturday.  Last night was the volunteer orientation.  What I didn't know?  As volunteers we would have the opportunity to pre-shop.  Oh.  My.  Gosh. 

The evening began with an explanation of how the plant sale would operate -- customer traffic flow, different volunteer positions.  Then it moved on to what would be for sale:  16,000 plants.  Sixteen Thousand.  These are plants that a mere seven people started from seed since .... January.  You do the math.  We were asked to rank a list of volunteer positions as to which we preferred to do.

Next we were given a tour of the plants by Randy Johnson, Director of Horticulture, who of course is a Master Gardener (a life goal of mine) and who is the main man at Texas Discovery Gardens.   He had on old work boots, jeans, sported a pony tail and one of those straw pointy-topped Chinese hats that you see in rice paddy photographs.  I don't have to tell you that we all followed him around like ducklings behind the momma duck, slack-jawed.  I truly wished I had brought a dictaphone.  (And well yes, I have one, but just because it's an occupational hazard.  I have a laminating machine too, but that's probably another post.)  He would show us the seedling in a pot, and then take us to the garden area where that same plant was 2-3 years old.  Along the way he described the benefits of the plant (host or nectar) and if it was an annual, a perennial, or a native perennial.  All of them were caterpillar/butterfly friendly, obviously, and all of them were draught tolerant.  And the prices!  Rock bottom, baby.  And all organic.
Randy Johnson, Director of Horticulture, Texas Discovery Gardens

And then... we were turned loose with clipboards and plant lists to shop.  Not surprisingly, of the 20 or so volunteers, I was one of the last 2 people there.  If I could have spent the night I probably would have, despite the presence the purportedly very unfriendly black cat who has residence there.  When I left, the backseat of my little Mini was full of pots.  I don't know exactly where they will all be planted, but I'm betting that I'll bring more home after my shift on Saturday -- thank goodness I drive a small car.  More on the plants I bought in later posts...

Friday night is members only (but you can buy a membership!) and Saturday and Sunday the sale is open to the public.  Come on out!  From the website:

Our annual Butterfly Plant Sale is back! Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 21, from 10 am to 2 pm. We have hundreds of herbs, perennials, host and nectar plants that will attract pollinators to your garden. We have gallon and 4-inch pots, as well as limited larger sizes. Members receive a ten percent discount and a chance to shop May 20, from 4 pm to 7 pm! You can buy your membership at the sale. Come early for a Plant Safari where you see established butterfly plants at Texas Discovery Gardens and learn about their light/water needs.

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