Monday, May 16, 2011

2011 Annual Plant Sale at the Huntington Library

Win and I joined the army of other plant enthusiasts Saturday morning for the Huntington Botanical Garden's Annual Plant Sale. It was ALARMING at how incredibly long that line becomes at 10:30 a.m.! (They don't kid around when they tell you to arrive as early as 8 a.m. if you REALLY want first dibs!)

The plant sale is set-up right at the entrance giving it perfect access to the parking lot. This makes toting your plants home alot easier. I found the event to be very well organized. They even set-up a "holding area" for non purchased plants in case you feel like visiting the main gardens before heading home at the end of the day.

It seemed alot smaller than I expected, but the selection was unbelievable. I do suggest doing research on what you really want for your home and garden prior to visiting. Dilly dally too much, and someone will definitely snatch up the good specimens! They had separated areas for plant types: cactus/succulent tables, herbs & edibles, bromeliads/air-plants/orchids, annuals, perennials, shrubs, etc. After getting the lay of the land, it was easy to navigate the floor.

Try not to freeze in shock upon entering. You might waste precious time!

Roses to whet your appetite. These are a HUGE seller. Judging by the color variations alone, I can't blame them.

Look at the head on this one. Lovely.

Azaleas in bloom. I had to resist bringing a gallon home.

Edibles and noms! I kill fragile, edible plants, so I stayed away. They did, however, offer "Chocolate Mint!" I carried this plant around for a while before I wistfully put it back.
In case you're hoping to go next year, here are a few tips:
1. Bring a cart! Don't have one? No worries! We saw wheelbarrows, library book carts, tea carts, radio flyers, a dolly with plastic bins bungee corded to it. ::eyebrow raised?:: Pretty much, if it's on wheels and you can cart away your purchases on it, it's A-OK! The only trick is maneuvering yourself around tables and plants while not running into people's ankles.
1.5. DOH! Forgot your cart? No worries! They have a stack of boxes at the entrance for your shopping needs. Great for toting around smaller plants.
2. They do take credit card, so don't fret if you couldn't make it to an ATM!
3. Not sure if you like that plant? Cart it around for a while and give it some thought. If you walk away from a plant, it might not be there a few minutes later! If you decide against a purchase, just go put it back where you found it. (All of the plants come from the Huntington! You can pick up a plant and visit a different table if necessary. There's only one check-out and exit area, anyway. So, don't think you look suspicious leaving the table with a plant in hand!)
4. Some of the table volunteers aren't plant experts! Ask for the curator who might be around (and available) to answer your questions.
5. Bring a snack and some water! If you plan on being die-hard to stand in line at 8 a.m. before walking around at the sale, chances are you'll get hungry and thirsty!
6. Don't underestimate the size of your vehicle! They sell everything from large golden barrel cactus to Japanese Red Maple trees! Make sure your vehicle has proper storage room for your taller or wider purchases.

What is up with the colors on this one? Fantastic! (Cleistocactus Ferrari)

Win and I did come home with new treasures, but that's a post for another day. :)

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