Plant sale draws an enthusiastic crowdProwling along the perimeter, Amy Liska of Eagan, scoped out the plants she wanted at the Dakota County Master Gardeners’ Plant Sale Saturday morning. A half hour before the gates even opened Liska knew what she wanted and where to get it.
By: Emily Zimmer, Rosemount Town Pages
Prowling along the perimeter, Amy Liska of Eagan, scoped out the plants she wanted at the Dakota County Master Gardeners’ Plant Sale Saturday morning. A half hour before the gates even opened Liska knew what she wanted and where to get it.
The minute the gates opened Saturday morning Liska and about 150 other people sprang to action trying to get their hands on the coveted plants. The first two minutes of the sale are best described as controlled chaos.
This is the third year Liska has attended the sale. She returns each spring, she said, because the plants are good.
“I love (the plant sale). All the plants I’ve gotten from it are doing great,” she said as she piled plants onto a wagon not quite big enough for everything she wanted.
Liska was not alone in her enthusiasm for the sale. On a sunny but chilly Saturday morning more than 150 people lined up at the Umore Research and Display Gardens to get first pick of the master gardener-raised plants.
“I have a yard full of them,” said Barb Schilling. “It’s the best plant sale I’ve ever been to.”
Schilling and her sister Karen Grecinger were one of the first in line for the event. They arrived a little after 8 a.m. in hopes of being first through the gates at 9 a.m.
While they waited to get into the sale master gardener Barb Betts entertained the group with a little impromptu dancing and conversation. Starbuck’s and McDonald’s donated warm beverages for those waiting.
What makes this plant sale popular is the fact plants are proven hardy enough for Minnesota weather, Grecinger said. In addition the plants have been raised by Dakota County Master Gardeners and are healthy.
Some of the plants are donated from master gardeners’ personal gardens and others are grown at the display gardens. The Dakota County Master Gardeners sold around 1,700 plants Saturday morning, ranging in price from $4 to $10.
The annual plant sale raises money to support the programs the master gardeners sponsor including classes, youth programs and research projects. And the sale is an outreach in its own right because the master gardeners are on hand to answer questions and give advice.
“It’s a self supporting effort,” said master gardener Brenda Scheer.
With budget cuts looming for all government-funded groups the plant sale will continue to be important for the master gardeners and its mission. Scheer said they don’t know how cuts will affect them but that they are bracing for them.
To raise more money the gardeners will have a fall plant sale in September. Still in the early phases planning Scheer said more information will be forth coming about that sale.