The Plant Sale You Don’t Want to Miss!
Written by Anita Lawson, Guilford County Extension Master Gardener
Extension Master Gardeners of Guilford County host their annual Passalong Plant Sale and Festival at the Guilford Cooperative Extension on Friday, May 10, 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., and Saturday, May 11, 9 a.m. until noon. If you get there early, the Festival barn, which serves as the entrance to the sale, opens at 8 a.m. to serve coffee, tea, and light snacks.
Each year this sale gives thrifty buyers an opportunity to purchase thousands of plants, most of them propagated and potted by local Extension Master Gardeners. Expect to find garden vegetables such as peppers and heirloom tomatoes and popular herbs like mint, basil, and rosemary. Also on sale is a wide variety of perennials known to thrive in sunny Piedmont gardens, including iris, daylilies, asters, mums, and shade perennials including Lenten roses, hardy begonias, and hostas. Groundcovers for both shade and sun include epimediums, ferns, and liriope. Shop for houseplants like those your grandmother loved, for example, crown-of-thorns, spider plant, or night-blooming cereus. All items mentioned above are typically priced from $2 to $5.
For a few dollars more, you can buy blooming geraniums, just in time for Mother’s Day! And you will also find a wide selection of trees and shrubs, including gardenias, dogwoods, and Japanese maples. The best items sell fast, so the slogan of the sale is, “Come on Friday for variety, on Saturday for bargains!” At all points during the sale, Master Gardeners are available to provide information on planting and caring for your purchases.
Plan to be in the Festival Barn on Friday, May 10, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. for two special presentations by Extension Master Gardener Jan Laws. At each interactive session this expert plantswoman demonstrates how to combine a selection of colorful plants to create a striking container garden. The planted pots will be for sale after the demonstration.
The Festival Barn is the focus of other educational efforts. Master Gardeners are on hand to provide information on the plants you buy and on more general aspects of gardening. Such Extension agencies and related endeavors as Forestry, Food and Consumer Sciences, and School Garden Network host booths in the barn to provide information about their areas of expertise. Additional displays in the barn feature information on the plants on sale and other topics, including home vegetable gardening, water-wise landscaping, supporting local food producers, and specialty flower gardens such as butterfly gardens.
If you are at the sale at lunchtime on Friday, plan to enjoy a grilled hot dog lunch. $2 will buy a hotdog, chips, and a soft drink. Before you leave the Extension area, tour the Master Gardeners’ demonstration garden to gain more ideas for enhancing the beauty and utility of your property.
All profits from the Passalong Sale go to support Extension Master Gardeners’ work in Guilford County, including services in support of school gardens and community gardens, speaking engagements, special planting activities like Neighborwoods, and publications. The Extension Center is located at 3309 Burlington Road, Greensboro, 27405. Call 336-375-5876 for more information.