May 10th, 2022

Volunteers are Vital at Spring Plantfest

Have you been to the famous spring plant sale dubbed Spring PlantFest? This fun and family-friendly event is a hit year after year because of our volunteers! Did you know that 100% of the proceeds from our plant sales go support our educational mission?

Plantfest prep in the greenhouse

Volunteers are nurturing plants and labeling them in the greenhouse in preparation for the spring plant sale on May 13-14, 2022.

Featuring over 40 vendors, more vendors than ever before, the spring plant sale will be a day of great plant finds and, of course, our volunteers will be standing by to answer questions and ready to assist shoppers with what you may need.

Spring PlantFest is truly rooted in our volunteers; the first Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden plant sales started by selling plants donated by volunteers from their home gardens along with a few seedlings from the Garden. As the sale evolved through the years, the Garden began ordering “plugs” from external nurseries and growing them to a larger size in the greenhouse. These plants from nurseries were sold alongside the donated volunteers’ plants. Now, PlantFest has grown to such be a big event that we offer both plants grown from cuttings in the garden, thining our plants, and many from nurseries as well.

Betsy Slade, Jane Hartough, Nancy Penick at the spring plant sale

Betsy Slade, Jane Hartough and Nancy Penick preparing for the spring plant sale.

Nancy Penick, a volunteer who helps to coordinate PlantFest, told me all about how volunteers help prepare for the sale and what they do during the sale at the Garden’s tent, “Ginter’s Greatest.”

volunteers prepping plants for the spring plant sale

We are grateful to our volunteers who are hard at work for Plantfest!

Volunteers began ordering plants from nurseries for the sale in November. “When making our lists of plants, we look for something a little different — mostly perennials and some shrubs that will do well in our area, but also that the shopper would not likely find at every big box store and local nursery,” says Penick. “We have recently been adding more natives to our offerings. We also grow some annuals from seed for the spring sale.”

We started growing these plants in the greenhouse as early as February. Volunteers have been diligently potting them into 6-inch containers and fertilizing them. Volunteers also pinch back the plants back every so often to keep them looking fresh. Volunteers label and price each plant and provide information about needs for sun, watering and soil type.

“Volunteers are busy during the sale assisting customers, answering questions, taking payments, selling special items we may have – like birdhouses made by the ‘Geezers‘ etc., watering, restocking plants to tables, etc.,” says Penick. “We also make ‘culture cards’ for each type of plant. This includes important information on the plant and a picture of it in bloom, as often the plant is not currently blooming.”

You can see all 40+ PlantFest vendors on the Spring PlantFest page including, Evergreen Lavender Farm, Pollinator Rare Plants, and Gathered Threads among others. Henrico County Master Gardeners will host a children’s activity on Saturday, and Deb’s Daylilies will also have an activity for children during the sale.

The spring plant sale is located in the parking lot, so there is no admission fee. If you would like to tour the Garden after shopping, to see A Million Blooms or M&T Bank Butterflies LIVE!, there is a general Garden admission ($17 for adults/$8 for children) for visitors. Dogs are welcome at Spring PlantFest but are not permitted in the Garden.

Members, be sure to check your inbox for details about our Members-Only PlantFest preview and stop by the Garden Shop during your visit for a members-only 15% discount only during the sale.

Bring a wagon to make transporting all your beautiful new plants easy. Also, you may want to bring some cash as not all vendors take credit cards.

We hope you are ready for a fun and shopping-filled weekend!

Spring PlantFest Plant Sale

May 13-14, 2022, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

About Lydia Pearl

Lydia is a public relations intern at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and a sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University, majoring in Mass Communications. She is excited to be practicing her writing skills while learning more about plants and getting involved in the Richmond community.

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