Plant sale (b)looms

Published 8:58 pm Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Master gardeners Gail Warner, Wanda Gerard and Danna Vroman get to work on a project outside the Western Tidewater Free Clinic building on Meade Parkway. This Saturday, the Suffolk Master Gardeners Association will hold its annual spring plant sale. (Submitted photo)

Master gardeners Gail Warner, Wanda Gerard and Danna Vroman get to work on a project outside the Western Tidewater Free Clinic building on Meade Parkway. This Saturday, the Suffolk Master Gardeners Association will hold its annual spring plant sale. (Submitted photo)

Plants to attract butterflies and honeybees will be featured at the Suffolk Master Gardeners Association’s annual spring sale Saturday.

On Tuesday, an ever-growing inventory on the association’s website — www.suffolkmastergardener.org — was approaching 50 species, including chrysanthemum, ginger mint, Louisiana iris and spiderwort.

“We have a lot of plants for sunny areas, shady areas, and we decided to do something new this year: We are going to have plant species targeted for attracting the butterflies and the honeybees,” said Wanda Gerard, president of the association.

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Designing gardens to support wildlife and promote biodiversity is becoming a trend, she said.

“The butterflies — they just can’t stop and eat off any old plant,” she said. “Depending on what type of butterfly they are, they have to have certain host plants.”

Folks from the Butterfly Society will be on hand to provide information, according to Gerard.

“We wanted to show the public some of the things that they could do in their garden to attract butterflies and the bees,” she said.

Leading up to the sale, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church, 3488 Godwin Blvd., association members have been busy producing stock.

“We are just doing the propagating from our gardens,” Gerard said. “Some things have been planted from seed; some things lived in the ground all winter and are now finally coming back. If they are a bigger clump, we are digging them up to divide it.”

For National Arbor Day, which was Friday, river birch, bald cypress and overcup oak saplings will be handed out free of charge, Gerard said.

The event will also include a bake sale, with coffee, water and soda also available for purchase.

Serious buyers should arrive early, Gerard advised, as plants sell out early, depending on the popularity of the given species.

Attendance was down a little at least year’s event, she said, due to bad weather, but organizers are hoping for a nice, sunny day this year.

“We will be there rain or shine,” Gerard said.

Prices are in line with those at nurseries and other retailers, Gerard said, adding that association members will provide lots of good advice to budding gardeners.

“We are able to give one-on-one gardening advice to customers,” she said. “We can take questions, and we can walk with them to discuss the plants.”

The range of plants available at the sale grows each year, according to Gerard, and the society holds two annual sales.

“The longer we have sales, the more we will have,” she said.