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In the garden: Largest area plant sales on the horizon

UPDATED: Sat., April 21, 2018, 5:14 p.m.

Ornamental grasses will be one of the many offerings at the Spokane County Master Gardeners’ annual Garden Fair & Plant Sale on Saturday. (Susan Mulvihill/For The Spokesman-Review)
Ornamental grasses will be one of the many offerings at the Spokane County Master Gardeners’ annual Garden Fair & Plant Sale on Saturday. (Susan Mulvihill/For The Spokesman-Review)

Gardeners know spring has truly arrived when local plant sales start taking place. Two of the largest sales will kick off the season next weekend when both the Spokane County Master Gardeners and the Associated Garden Clubs of Spokane hold their annual offerings of wonderful plants.

On Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Master Gardeners will host their Garden Fair & Plant Sale in and around the Spokane County Extension building, located at 222 N. Havana St. Visitors will find a wide range of perennials, vegetable and herb plant starts, berries, dahlias and ornamental grasses – all grown by Master Gardeners. Vendors will also offer perennials, native plants, garden art and jewelry. There will be information booths on topics such as gardening for life and sensory gardening.

Veggie Committee lead Ken Johnson suggests folks come early for the best selection of plants, which will include hundreds of peppers, tomatoes, eggplants and artichokes. Since tomatoes tend to be everyone’s favorite, there will be a selection of tried-and-true favorites along with new and unusual varieties.

This event raises funds for the Spokane County Master Gardener program, which provides horticultural advice and education to gardeners throughout the county. They staff a free plant clinic from March through October each year to answer questions and suggest solutions to gardening challenges. The clinic, which will be open during this event, provides a perfect opportunity to get your questions answered.

Tim Stiess, past-president of the Master Gardener Foundation of Spokane County, recently explained the history and purpose behind this annual event:

“At the beginning, we held an open house to share research-based gardening information with the Spokane community in a fun event as well as to promote all the good things that Master Gardeners do in the community. The Garden Fair is now a fundraiser necessary to the continuation of the local Master Gardener program, but has never deviated from that original purpose.”

The Associated Garden Clubs of Spokane will hold their plant sale on Saturday and Sunday in Manito Park. The sale includes a broad selection of annuals, perennials, hanging baskets, vegetables and herbs.

Their sales are always popular with local gardeners. Plant sale coordinator Norma Gavin noted that last year was their biggest sale ever, with more than $20,000 raised.

The Associated Garden Clubs of Spokane holds these sales to raise money for community projects that involve gardening in Spokane County. In 2017, the proceeds went toward grants for insulating curtains in Manito Park’s Gaiser Conservatory, a rototiller for the River City Youth Ops, improvements to Spokanimal’s dog walk area, plot improvements for Spokane Women’s Farms, in addition to other local programs.

The club is accepting grant applications through May 15 for projects that include neighborhood or community gardens, plants or planting materials, building materials and fencing, signs or markers, and educational gardening opportunities. Applications and additional information are available on the clubs’ website, associatedgardenclubs.org.

Remember that while shopping for the perfect plants for your garden, you will also be supporting worthwhile programs in your community.

Watch in this week’s “Everyone Can Grow A Garden” video on my YouTube channel, youtube.com/c/susans inthegarden.

Susan Mulvihill is co-author, with Pat Munts, of “Northwest Gardener’s Handbook.” Contact her at Susan@susansin thegarden.com.


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