Scott Kunst of Old House Gardens says that "the best gardeners have a ruthless streak." In an on-line interview he emphasized that "if you're not willing to throw things away — or give them away — then you eventually are going to be overwhelmed by all that stuff that keeps burgeoning in the garden."
That describes my current situation. My best beds are getting too crowded. But you plan and plant and wait years for everything to come to fuition, for the garden to fill in and fill out. Once it finally happens it's hard to realize what a short step it is from lush beauty to overgrown.
However, that means that many gardeners — myself included — will be "pruning" our plants this Spring and donating everything from small slips to entire clumps to plant sales sponsored by local garden clubs. Digging out and potting up is my top priority in the garden this week because plant sale season is here.
The following list includes my three personal favorites and a new one. I'll be working at the Olbrich sale next Saturday morning under the tent devoted to shade plants. Stop by and say hello — and buy some plants.
May 9-10, West Side Garden Club 2014 Spring Plant Sale, Friday, May 9, 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., Saturday, May 10, 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., 3918 Nakoma Road, Madison, near Seminole Hwy, west of Thoreau School. Choice perennials, specialty annuals and herbs. My treasured candelabra primroses are from this sale.
May 9-10, Olbrich Botanical Gardens’ Plant Sale with the Pros, Friday, May 9 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Saturday, May 10, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., 3300 Atwood Ave., Madison. Good selection with knowledgeable staff on hand for questions. Always something special to be found here and the selections are geared to our growing zone. All my boxwoods and many unusual trees are from this sale. Plus the staff use many of these selections in the garden so you know they've got to be good.
Saturday, May 17, Wisconsin Hardy Plant Society Plant Sale, 9:00-Noon, West Madison Agricultural Research Station, 8502 Mineral Point Road. WHPS gardeners are plant collectors who always have the newest, the latest and the best plants. This sale is a must.
Saturday, May 24, Hosta Sale at Allen Centennial Gardens, 9:00 a.m.-Noon. According to ACG the sale will include divisions from the Gardens' 500+ cultivar collection as well as new cultivars. They note that divisions will be larger than the standard single crown generally sold in retail. This is a new event but should be worth checking out.
I've been growing this lily of the valley (Convalaria majalis 'Hardwick Hall') for nine years. I keep it in check by donating clumps of it to the WHPS sale. This year I'm hoping to be able to dig a few Trillium sessile (top photo) for the sale as well.
DISCLAIMER: I am a member of both Olbrich Gardens and the WHPS but I would say the same things even if I wasn't. No one asked me to publicize these sales. I do it because they are well-worth attending and have been the source of many great plants for me over the years..