Published 9:57 am Friday, May 18, 2018
Plant sales reserved first Saturday in May
The first Saturday in May is the date for the University of Tennessee Area Extension Center’s Annual Plant Sale. DW, Mack and I went in the rain. I’d been looking forward to it for months. We got up early, forgoing our normal breakfast of pancakes, to Mack’s dismay, and left for Jackson before 7am. Thanks to the UT Gardens Facebook page, I’d been seeing all the fabulous plants that would be available. I knew we should get there early, even on such a wet morning as it was.
First stop was the Madison County Extension Center office where the local Master Gardeners were inside selling plants, shrubs, and vegetable transplants they had grown. I will have to admit that seeing all the plants brought tears to my ears. There were ginger lilies, Siberian irises, oak leaf hydrangea, Shasta daisies, repeat blooming day lilies, creeping jenny… and many more of my favorites that I had left behind in Batesville. But, I regained my composure, found a box, and dug in. DW headed to the veggies. I started with the perennials, progressed on to the shade table, then the sun lovers, and ended with the succulents, filling up two boxes, while keeping up with Mack. His bright yellow rain jacket was easy to spot, thankfully.
Restraint. I knew what I bought, I’d have to plant. But, for now, flower bed space is limited around my house. I’d only recently completed a small bed around my newly completed greenhouse and dedicated the space as a holding spot for transplants and new plants. But even so, holding back at a plant sale is so very hard to do.
The plant sale was held in two locations. So, we paid and drove on to the Area Extension Center. It was still raining and this time it was all outside. Thankfully we were prepared for wet weather and it wasn’t cold. This part of the sale was organized by the area horticulture specialist. He also offered transplants from his own garden and had hand picked selections from a nursery in middle Tennessee, all suited for the local climate and conditions. Everything came with planting instructions. DW and I shopped and Mack played in the puddles.
Again, it was very well organized; plants were categorized and divided up on trailers: trees, ground covers, perennials, annuals, shrubs, vines, bulbs, flowers, evergreens and more. The rain was only a slight hindrance, but I imagine that restraint would have been much harder on a sunny, dry day. My prize find was a Thailand Giant elephant ear. In fact, I bought two, one for me and one for our daughter-in-law Kathleen’s father in Huntsville. He and I have had this friendly competition on who could grow the largest elephant ears. Game on.
Hail State! And we spotted another couple dressed in their Mississippi State rain gear. Turns out they were MSU Extension specialists up from Starkville for the sale, he also being a horticulturist. We visited while Mack and their 5-year-old played. Felt like old home week, though I had just met them.
My haul included a yellow blooming saucer magnolia, a purple clematis, and two cultivars of althea (Rose of Sharon); one a compact bush and one with variegated leaves. DW found butterfly bushes. All good because we have plenty of sun. But in a moment of weakness, I did succumb to one pot of hosta, pretty with green and yellow leaves, though not too sure what to do with it now, since we don’t have any shade.
This time it took two trips to the truck to get it all loaded and to hit all the puddles in the parking lot. Mack had been a good boy. We headed to IHOP to make Saturday complete. Plants, puddles and pancakes…Saturday mornings don’t get any better!