greentapestry : Done and Dusted

Monday, 25 May 2009

Done and Dusted

Well the garden club plant sale is done and dusted for another year. The day dawned dry and the wet stuff considerately held off. During the morning the sun made a much wanted appearance. On opening we were quite busy for the first hour but there was no repeat of the opening rugby scrum scenes of previous years.Try as I might it was a challenge to take photos indoors with sunshine streaming in and under artificial light, so have included just a couple of snippets of my stall. It is in the foreground in the second photo. We hold the sale at the local branch of The British Legion where our club meets. The Legion generously allows us to use a big room for the sale free of charge. This year we decided to 'grow', so we also ran a table top sale and invited a local project for young people with special needs to have a stall. The young people made the items they were selling which included bird boxes and garden ornaments.

True to form all the plants that I took in flower were snaffled up rapidly. These included astrantias, dicentra spectablis alba, polemonium caeruleum, polemonium 'Sonia's Bluebell and geranium phaeum 'Margaret Wison' and heuchera. I had some sturdy specimens of cerinthe major pururescens which were just on the point of opening and was pleased not to bring them all back home with me. Next year thought I must follow the lead of Pam at Hortensia and Maureen at Allotment Heaven who sowed their cerinthes much earlier. Geranium 'Orion' although not in flowers also proved popular. My happiest customers of the day were a couple who bought two insignificant looking teasels and were absolutely delighted with them.

What was not popular this year was tomatoes - no takers at all - I wonder why - normally they are snapped up.

As with all good plant sales I could not resist making some purchases from my fellow stallholders. Filling in some of the gaps in my plastic crates in the way home were geranium 'Brookside', a purple flowering osteospernum, hydrangea 'Annabelle', aconitum carmichaelii 'Arendsii',a horseradish and a pot of three Lilium 'Le Reve'.

Disappointment of the day - I had bribed himself my trusted assistant with the promise of a bacon butty, but the kitchen had run out of bacon by the time he went to order lunch. Somehow a grated cheese and onion sandwich is not the same - the cheese goes absolutely everywhere except into your mouth so why do people make grated cheese sandwiches ? One of life's perplexing mysteries.

The last hour of the sale was very quiet in terms of customers and once again we wondered about the timing of the event. We think that we have the timing right as far as the month is concerned. We hold the sale on a Saturday from 12.00pm - 2.00pm. Is two hours too long ? Is it a good time of day ? Would Sunday be a better day ? Your views would be most welcome. A glorious morning here so I am heading of to the allotment to find a home for my horseradish.


  1. Hi Anna - what a busy time you've had! I'm glad the sale went well and of course I'm not surprised you found some plants to take home too!

    I'm wondering if last year's blight problems has put a lot of people off growing tomatoes? It did me - but then I succumbed to a free plant offer at my local garden centre and got some Sungold and Gardeners' Delight. I'm not growing them up the allotment though.

    I think you may have got your timing right re the day, but I'm wondering about the start time and the time of year. You held your sale over lunchtime when a lot of people might be at home rather than out shopping, plus you chose the start of half term combined with a Bank Holiday weekend, so a lot of people will have gone away for the weekend perhaps?

    Make sure you find a spot for your horseradish to spread - it's like mint in that respect. I love horseradish sauce though!

  2. Anna:
    I am thrilled that the sale was successful, and none the least surprised to see some plants came home with you. I must say I have been looking everywhere for Geranium 'Margaret Wilson'.... Hinkley raved about it!
    Our sale is closed up by noon - starts at 8am sharp, leaving people plenty of time to stop over before heading to the Mall for other shopping. Just a suggestion!

  3. Mmmmm, bacon butty.... Oh, hi! Aren't polemoniums great? Only I pronounce it entirely wrong as "poley-oh-lee-um." I would have been all over your tomatoes and I personally prefer to buy plants not quite yet in bloom, but I think to the "general public" (versus crazy gardeners), the flowers appeal.

  4. Hi Anna,
    pleased the sale was a success and think your list of plants to take home with you sound wonderful. I've got two hydrangea 'Annabelle's waiting to go into a new border (just as soon as someone has dug out three stumps of the previous tenants) along with some others.
    One of the plant sales I like to go to is the Chrysanthemum and Dahlia society. They start at 9.30 and finish at 10.30; basically that means if you're not there by 8.30 then you've missed the best of the plants. Maybe most gardeners like an early start? Who knows?
    Take care,
    P x

  5. Hi Anna~~ I love plant sales and it seems there is always several somethings I can't leave without.

    Here in the Pacific NW it seems every time you turn around someone is selling tomato plants. Maybe this could have been why they didn't sell well--a glut in the market. Just a thought...

  6. my friend had lots of heritage tomato plants but she was struggling to sell them. I think people tend to buy tomatos earlier or are growing their own more.

    We had our plant sale on a Saturday 1:30 - 4:30. This was definately too long and the last hour was a complete waste of time. We did have people waiting to come in and we could have opened earlier. Maybe you need to start a bit later to avoid lunchtime

  7. Sounds like lots of interesting plants! With regard to timing, everywhere seems different. Most things here go from 10am to around 3pm if a Saturday. Sometimes lunchtime is quiet - sometimes it's the busiest time!! After 3pm is a bit of a waste of time usually.

    Bacon butties!!!

  8. Hi Anna

    I wonder whether the lunchtime slot is the best time.

    Well done for not purchasing more than you took to sell.



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- Anna.