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By Beth Monroe, Public Relations and Marketing Director, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

It’s Plant Sale time at the Garden again! I just came back from the employee/volunteer pre-sale and it occurs to me how my buying habits have changed in a dozen years as a Garden employee. These fluctuations are based largely on “life events” — maybe you see yourself in some of them, too.

Fall Plant Sale; Agastache 'Purple Haze' in center

I remember being totally overwhelmed at my first Plant Sale. My background is in communication, not horticulture. I didn’t know what was an annual or what was a perennial, what did well in shade or in full sunlight, etc. In the end, I bought nothing. Gradually, over the next several years, I learned a thing or two working here and began “collecting.” I’d get one of this and one of that – just because it was “pretty” or looked interesting, but with no real plan in mind.

 Then I had kids. Gardening with young kids is a wonderful activity, but it comes with some restrictions. If I took my eyes off my toddlers for one second, I’d live to regret it, such as the time my youngest pedaled his tricycle headfirst into the rose bush. Also, time was at a premium, so when I began buying items I never even got around to planting, I decided to scale back.

Our growing family meant a new house on the horizon, so in the past year or two my Plant Sale buying habits have been limited to herbs and annuals for containers – I didn’t want to invest in anything I couldn’t take with me.

Now we’re in that new house and my husband says we’ll never move again! The kids are bigger, too. I’m still getting used to the new yard (I’ve read you should live in a place at least one year before you plan the landscape), but I have ideas. I want something attractive to wildlife, so when I saw Agastache ‘Purple Haze’ – a perennial covered with bees – at the Plant Sale just now, I bought seven. And so begins the next chapter of my gardening life.

I’d love to hear if you’ve had similar experiences and which gardening “life stage” you are in now!

The Fall Plant Sale at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is Friday, September 17, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday, September 18, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

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