Spring Planting Frenzy

Another bi-annual plant sale put on by the Master Gardener’s program at the Cooperative Extension has come and gone; I managed to stop at 14 plants (2 were zinnias for the patio, so they don’t really count). The line started early, as usual:

The sale supposedly runs from 8:00AM–11:00AM, but virtually all the plants are gone in the first hour.

A few days before, in anticipation of having more plants to put in the ground, I dug bricks out of the patio to extend one of my beds:

Slowly but surely, every year I have a little more shade, which means more opportunities to put plants in the ground and have them survive the brutal summer; most plants need some shade in the morning or afternoon, few can handle full-on sun all day long. The green bush above is a Wonderful pomegranate, the tiny tree to the left a desert-adapted peach.

I picked up a variety of plants at the sale: lavender, a columbine that supposedly does well in this climate, some moss verbena….they all went in my newly extended bed. I try to plant stuff that’s good for birds, bees and butterflies:

This is some of the plant matter I yanked out of the ground:

I also planted 2 mission fig trees: you can see one here, hooked up to my crude soaker hose, the light green plant in the back is a wooly butterfly bush, they get quite large and have funny orange-globe-shaped flowers, kind of like globe amaranth.

I’m pooped now! And a bit sunburned.

Plant Sale at the Pima County Cooperative Extension Demonstration Garden

The University of Arizona’s “Campus Farm” is just down the street from me; it’s the large plot of acreage that is their agricultural program. They also have a lovely demonstration garden as part of their Cooperative Extension, and yesterday was the spring plant sale to benefit the Master Gardener program and the Cooperative Extension Demonstration Garden.  Most plants–very nice plants suitable for desert landscaping–were $4. Uh-huh. What a deal. A lot of the same plants would be triple, at least, at a local nursery; and, they wouldn’t be as good. Here’s the line that formed well before the sale started:

Smart folks brought their own boxes, as you can see. I just staggered around with pots of plants in my arms.  As soon as the gate opened, there was a feeding-frenzy under the small ramada where all the plants were neatly arranged; here you can see the “hold” table in the foreground, where folks have stashed their plants they want to buy, and the actual sale in the background:

Here’s a close-up of some of the lovely plants on hold, including my own; I picked up a pink trumpet vine, a penstemon, a couple of hollyhocks (we’ll see how they do) and some xeric groundcovers including a Chihuahuan primrose, and some hummingbird and bee friendly perennials:

The trumpet creepers are in full bloom in the gardens; that rose arbor in the background has a very nicely controlled Cecile Brunner rose. There were so many people at the sale. I think I heard a beleaguered sounding Master Gardener tell someone in the garden that “those plants aren’t for sale”.

I’d like to have the time to be part of the Master Gardener program. What fun. I can’t wait to put my plants in the ground…..tomorrow, I hope! Bearbear and I walked by the largely empty ramada today, the day after the sale; it was quiet, no one was there, and I think there were about 30 plants left unsold.