The gate opens at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 25, beginning the Mountain Garden Club’s annual plant sale held at the Highlands Ball Park. Roughly 1,500 plants will be available for sale, including the MGC’s well-known Hostas, several varieties of ferns and Dahlias, as well as Lupine, Trillium, Shasta Daisies, Siberian Iris, Ligularia, Foam Flower, Phlox, Bleeding Hearts, Mums, and many more.
The Mountain Garden Club is comprised of volunteers who care for the plants year-round; housing the plants dug in the fall – hostas, ferns and other hardy plants – at members’ homes, using winter plant blankets if necessary when the temperatures are below the freezing mark. In the spring they dig perennials, native plants, more hostas and ferns. The garden club members then pot the plants, label the plants and care for them until the day of the sale.
MGC Member Caroline Cook uses her 1987 Chevrolet Silverado “Bubba” as the workhorse dutifully hauling truckload after truckload of plants all over town in preparation. Proceeds from the sale benefit local student’s college scholarships, school-youth gardening education, garden therapy at the Fidelia Eckerd Living Center, and more.
The proceeds from last year’s sale went in part toward three local seniors who have a passion for plants and choose to continue their education through pursuing a degree in either Horticulture or Golf Course Management and Education. MGC Member Elizabeth Little, said that they call themselves the “demented diggers,” referring to the hours of time spent digging, potting and caring for each plant.’
“It’s the only fundraiser we have; it enables us to contribute money to the community, provide scholarships,” said Little. “It’s grown to be so successful that customers will be lined up down the street waiting for the gate to be opened the morning of the Sale.”
The passion the Club has for the plants and the cause is felt when among the members who take their plant care seriously, with an added dash of humor that can be seen by Bubba’s cartoon style tongue, added by Little.
Jill Hargis, a first-year member said that she went to last years sale and asked how one can become a member. She added that she wished to learn of the plants that grow on the Plateau and how to care for them, Joining MGC allowed her to gain the knowledge she wanted. Jill has enjoyed getting to know the members of MGC and enjoy the comradery of the ladies.
“The most important part is the fundraising that helps the community, assisting the kids with college expenses who otherwise may not be able to afford it,” said Hargis.
Cash or check are accepted as payment and donations are greatly appreciated. The rain date is set for Sunday, May 26, if necessary.
Pictured at the top of the article is MGC Member Caroline Cook with her truck “Bubba” and her spade after hauling plants to a secret location before the sale.
Article by Maggie Burd
Photos by Brian O’Shea
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