greentapestry : Plant Sale - Never Again !

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Plant Sale - Never Again !

The above photo is of our camper van packed up for its trip to my garden club plant sale back in May 1999. Camper vans are great for plant addicts as himself has found out to his cost. Whether it is a trip to a plant sale, nursery, garden centre or an open garden almost every size and shape of plant can be accommodated with ease. There's never too little space :) Anyway the subject of the garden club plant sale has been in my thoughts for the last few days. This years sale will be held as usual on a Saturday in May. The date is still to be decided so I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will not fall on the same weekend as the Malvern Spring Gardening Show. Himself is hoping that it is not the same day as the FA Cup Final.

Once having committed yourself to participating it is a matter of providing plants and the wherewithal to run your own stall. Although at the end of each sale I utter the heartfelt words "Never again" ! I return almost every year. The day itself is quite long and usually exhausting. An early rise, van to be loaded with plants etc, van to be unloaded at venue, tables to be sorted out and filled with plants then organised in some logical manner etc, etc. There may just be time for a quick slurp of something wet before the official start and our customers pour in. By now I should know better but each year I conveniently manage to forget that sod's law dictates that :

The weather in the days leading up to the plant sale and on the day itself will be cool, wet and windy. You will usually arrive looking like the proverbial drowned rat. You will have dropped plants on the way in and will break a nail or two carrying your plants in. Forget fashion and wear your most comfortable gardening or allotment clothes for the occasion.

You can never have too much change. Amongst your first half a dozen customers, there will invariably be somebody usually making a small purchase, who utters the words 'I am sorry but I have not got any change', and then merrily waves a twenty pound note at you.

Folk will always buy whatever is in flower. You may have far sturdier and superior specimens of the same plant but if ain't got flowers it gets left on the shelf.

Folk always want to buy what you grew last year and did not sell. One year there was an overwhelming demand for hollyhocks and herbs. I grew some the next year so of course nobody wanted them and they all came home with me.

The plant that you have been willing to open its flowers in time for the plant sale always opens the following day.

You bring flowers from your garden to help illustrate what you grow. This vase containing aforesaid flowers always gets knocked over wherever you carefully place it on the table and you get a soaking. You have probably only just dried out.

If labels are taken out of plant plots for a closer scrutiny they do not get returned to the same pot.

You may have nourished seeds and cuttings for weeks, sometimes months but your babies will quite often be handled most roughly and without due respect. Grit your teeth !

Sometimes you may actually be sad to see a plant go depending on who has bought it.

Having said all that I have almost all but said yes to this year's sale. Calling at a local garden centre in the autumn, I came across some sturdy plastic crates at a bargain price. ' Just right for the plant sale ! ' I shouted gleefully. Himself shot me a scathing glance. I am now thinking of what plants I can gather together to travel in these crates come May. To be continued.


  1. LOL - too funny, doing these things is rather tiring but presumably the money you take helps towards your garden for another year?
    PS - thanks for your comment on blog housekeeping (lol) the debate rumbles on!

  2. That made me laugh so much Anna and I bet other plant sales and car boot people are nodding their heads in recognition of the truths you've spread out before us!

    I'm planning on going to Malvern too - but probably won't be at the weekend...

  3. There's nothing like a plant in bloom to say, 'buy me!' Pictures are fine, but a bloom is always alluring.

  4. Mmmm. My first plant sale is April this year. Regularly veer from sheer excitement to utter panic.

    P x

  5. LOL, I purposefully buy plants that have NOT yet flowered, especially if they look to be sturdier or larger in the plant base! ;-) I've volunteered at a HUGE plant sale the local botanical gardens have, also in early May, and it is (in both instances; I've volunteered at two different gardens) pandamonium! I think it took me five years to stick to "never again" but IO think I'll heed it this year! However, I host an annual plant swap, which is more or less the same work (more if you count I have to dig up and label plants, whereas at the other sales, the plants are bought)... Ah, yes!

  6. Karen - the intention is that any pennies made should go towards subsidising my plant buying habit, but I usually spend most of it on the day visiting other stall holders :)

    I am glad that I made you chuckle VP. The date has now been arranged at Thursday nights commitee meeting and it does not clash with Malvern :)

    You are spot on Northern Shade - often photos are just not enough to sell the plants :)

    Good luck Pam - I will keep my fingers crossed for you !

    I look for the sturdier specimens too Monica. Look forward to reading about your swap on your blog. It sounds like fun !

  7. Hi Anna - thanks for the comment on my post today. I found your post really interesting but I think I'm still going to do it. Where are you based? I'm 5 mins from the Malvern spring show maybe we can meet up.

  8. Helen - I think that you have probably gathered that I really enjoy participating in the plant sales despite my moans. I am really glad that you are going to give it a whirl. You will enjoy yourself. I live near Liverpool. Would like to meet up with you when we make it down to Malvern . Lucky you - it's must be a lovely spot to live in. Will email you soon re.plant sales but it may be the weekend before I get my thoughts down on paper as it were :)


All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at :


- Anna.