Fall PlantFest Features Natives
Plant fans in Richmond have been looking forward to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s plant sale since 1987, the year of our first plant sale. This year they are just as excited as ever, 29 years later we are still one of the most popular plant sales in Central Virginia. Our plant sale is still volunteer-run with proceeds from the sale going to support the Garden’s educational mission. But a lot has changed too. For starters, we now call our plant sale PlantFest. We offer more varieties and a wider selection of plants than we had back then. Plus, you’ll find dozens of specialty vendors and live music at this year’s sale.
Laurel Matthews, Ginter’s greenhouse horticulturist, has been helping garden volunteers grow starts for the sale. I asked her what plants she’s most excited about this year: “Colorful fall blooming natives that can turn your garden into a beautiful oasis,” she says. It’s easy to see why. Matthew has a sweet spot for Asclepias — a plant you’re more likely to know as milkweed or the host plant for the Monarch butterfly. She wanted to make sure I told you about the added value “surprises” that you might also get when you buy your milkweed from us: Monarch butterfly eggs, ladybugs, and other beneficial insects. Enjoy the photos too!
We will have several different types of native Asclepeias at the plant sale including Asclepeias tuberosa ‘Gay Butterflies’ (Butterfly Weed) and Asclepeias incarnata (Swamp Milkweed). Do yourself (and the Monarchs) a favor and plant this beauty in your home garden!
Perennials Galore at Fall PlantFest
Perennials (plants that come back year after year) are a great investment for your home garden and we’ll be selling many of our favorite perennials at this year’s plant sale. Unlike annuals, which you have to plant every year, perennials come back year after year, and won’t require much work from you. If they are native perennials, they’ll be suited to the climate here and once established, won’t require watering. Personally, I love perennials because they happily surprise me each year. I tend to be a somewhat forgetful gardener and so when a perennial dies back in winter I forget about it, until it happily surprises me the following spring.
Here are a few you’ll see at the sale:
Did you know that fall (not spring) is actually the best time to plant? Plants have a chance to get established before the long winter ahead and are less likely to suffer from lack of water, especially if you put them in the ground after a soaking rain. “Stick them in the ground now and they’ll be so beautiful in spring and early summer,” says longtime Garden volunteer Betsy Slade. Longtime gardeners know that all the fall planting really pays off next spring and summer.
For a full list of the plants we’ll have be sure to see our Fall PlantFest plant sale list (PDF).
If you’ve never been to our fall plant sale, we hope you’ll come. Here’s a 2-minute video to give you an idea of what Fall PlantFest is all about.
Fall PlantFest, Sept. 16-17, 2016
Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.