Monday, May 10, 2010

Saturday was Klehm Arboretum’s annual fund raising plant sale. Déjà vous, exactly like the 2009 sale day—damp, cold and windy.

Last year I remember walking across the parking lot, the wind cutting through my light weight jacket, making me shiver. This year I'm more prepared in a heavy winter coat. The sale begins at 9:00 but the volunteers aren’t ready so we must stand in the lobby for a half hour.

While we wait we chat a little about plants and previous sales. I tell them about two new favorites found here last year. It’s exciting, not like visiting a garden center (although that can be exciting too). Here you will find some unusual plants. Many gardeners specialize in native wild flowers that can’t be found in box stores or even greenhouses.

Last year I found rudbeckia triloba by accident. I had been talking with a volunteer who brought a box of plants to the sale. I followed her to a table in the corner where she pointed at a group of tiny plants and told me these were very nice. She didn’t know the name and just called them black eyed Susan’s. The little leaves didn’t look familiar, certainly not one of the more common rudbeckias. For a buck and a quarter, why not try one? (It was late July before these little leaves suddenly grew into a 28 inch clump and burst into a spectacular yellow display. The flowers lasted throughout the autumn season.

(Rudbeckia triloba native to the eastern US)

This year I picked up several more r. triloba.

Another great plant from last year’s sale was Fireworks, a hybrid goldenrod.

(Solidago Fireworks another native plant.)

Found another Fireworks at this sale. Also picked up a huge clump of chives, a white woodland phlox, a few miniature bearded iris, a jack in the pulpit, and a bloodroot.

(A few early gardeners check our the display tables)

(Crows in front of Klehm's visitors center.)