Green Scene and the Cedar Valley Arboretum and Botanic Gardens are “joining hands to plant a greener tomorrow” at the 42nd annual plant sale.
This year’s sale is Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon in the Ag Building on the National Cattle Congress grounds. Admission is free.
It’s one of the most popular fundraisers in the area with gardeners lining up to purchase perennials, ornamental grasses, vines, groundcovers, small shrubs, hostas, daylilies, house plants and domestic wildflowers.
For the first time ever, the plant sale will offer annuals, vegetables and herbs as bedding plants and in pots, a result of the new partnership.
Shoppers attending the sale are asked to bring their own boxes because the supply is limited.
“Instead of having two sales in two locations, we’ve combined our resources into one sale. The arboretum traditionally has sold annuals and vegetables, so I hope combining those with perennials and other plants we sell will bring more people to the sale,” says Karen Acton of Green Scene.
Rob Pruitt, CVABG director, is excited about the opportunity to join forces with the venerable organization. “There are a lot of connections between us, and it seemed like a natural fit, a great match,” he says.
“For the public, it’s great to have two nonprofits partnering together and to know that when you make a purchase, you’re helping two organizations do really good things in our community.”
Green Scene is a 100-percent volunteer-powered non-profit group founded 42 years ago in response to tree loss experienced in the community from Dutch Elm disease. From 1976 to present, the organization has contributed nearly $1 million to Black Hawk County for tree plantings and county beautification projects.
Currently, grants are helping replace ash trees being removed because of the Emerald ash borer.
The CVABG, located directly east of Hawkeye Community College, was founded in 1996 with the mission of enhancing the quality of life through horticulture, including planting and maintaining display gardens, including a children’s area, and offering public programs and events.
At the sale, gardeners will find such perennials as:
- Allium “Millenium,” 2018 plant of the year — Lavender-purple with a hint of rose, this allium eaches 10 to 15 inches tall and blooms about mid-summer. Blooms can last about a month.
- Dwarf coreposis ‘Zamphir’ —An easy to grow, low clump-forming perennial with a compact habit. Unique fluted, daisy-like flowers; matting habit makes excellent groundcover or edging plant.
- Agastache “Kudos Mandarin” — Cheerful flowers in bright orange are long-lasting on a plant describes “neat as a pin.”
- Heliopsis “Double Sunstruck” — Semi-double, intense yellow flowers bloom against variegated foliage on a compact, long-blooming plant.
Other perennials include hibiscus “Cherub,” echinacea “Prairie Giant,” dicentra “Golden Heart” and “Valentine,” geum “Koi,” “cimicifuga “Hillside Black Beauty” and chelone “Black Ace,” among others.
“We’ll have a nice selection of clematis and new hostas, including ‘Wiggles & Squiggles’ and ‘Water Slide.’ We’ll also have bargains — plants we’ve been digging out of local gardens. The plants probably will be smaller because spring has been slow coming, but they’re really vigorous and the root systems are getting big,” Acton explains.
Pruitt says annuals will include new petunia varieties, as well as other introductions, along with a good selection of best-selling vegetables.
Anyone interested in making plant donations can drop them off at the Ag building from Monday to Thursday, starting at 10 a.m. Organizers ask that plants be doubled bagged in plastic grocery sacks and labeled with plant variety and color in permanent marker on the outside of the bag.
Volunteers are needed to work the sale, as well as during the week to pot, water, label, dig and haul plants. Call Sandra at (319) 984-5897.
To schedule a dig team or have plants picked up, call Brian at (319) 269-2549).