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Spring Plant Sale signals the start of gardening season

Posted: May 10, 2013 - 12:07am

Finally, spring is arriving. It has been so cold that even the early spring primroses have frozen in their tracks half out of the ground.

This weekend is the traditional opening day for the Southeast Alaskan Gardening season, and the huge multi-vendor sale, which kicks off at 9 a.m. on Saturday in the Safeway parking lot, will showcase some of the offerings from the various gardening groups as well as several of the businesses and small growers who provide the young plants, hanging baskets and gardening materials for our town.

This sale grew out of the Juneau Garden Club’s Spring Sale, which was held on Del Rae Drive the Saturday, the day before Mothers Day. In the days before the multiple barges per week there was only one way to get flowering plants for your garden, which was for established gardeners to divide and share their treasures. The Garden Club provided a way for everyone to have access; they had an annual event in which they sold divisions from their gardens to provide the funds for their programs.

As the number of gardening groups grew, and the number of aspiring gardeners grew also, the sale expanded to include more sources, including some private vendors. There are now about 20 chances to purchase, the offerings include young perennials, vegetable starts, fruiting trees and shrubs, soils, garden art, spring flowers and who knows what will appear this year.

The vendors begin assembling the evening before the sale, tables provided by the community garden association, management and space assignment by a rotating representative from the societies. The mutter and clamor from the plant suppliers as they arrange their sites fills the air. It is a festive event filled with comparisons and desires.

Apple trees for our climate and zone, Rhubarb and Raspberries, Tomato starts and Seed Potatoes, Primroses of various styles and colors, Rhododendrons, Lilacs, Roses and sweet smelling Violas will be in abundance.

Chairperson Elfrida Nord of the Juneau Garden Club will declare the gates open at 9 a.m., while members of the various societies will staff their booths and eager gardeners will certainly mill about with flats, boxes and wagons to haul their treasures home. By noon the energy will be falling back as trucks and station wagons carry away the new plants to fill the gardens of our plant-crazed world for another season of horticulture and delight.

We’ll see you there, and remember … happy gardening!

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