This past Sunday was the Ontario Rock Garden and Hardy Plant Society‘s annual plant sale, held at the Toronto Botanical Garden. With a lineup beginning almost an hour before the sale began, an overflowing parking lot and eager gardeners jostling through the aisles to get their must-haves before someone else did, it was the gardening event in Toronto last weekend.
What draws people to this sale are the multiple nurseries that come as vendors (Mason House Gardens, The Potting Shed, Blossom Hill Nursery and Vineland Nurseries were among them), and the plants that members bring from their own gardens, often hard-to-find treasures. These are the first plants grabbed from the tables.
Volunteers organize the yearly plant sale, doing everything from guarding exits so no plants leave without payment, to watching over a large “plant parking” area, where plants are tucked away while their new owners continue shopping. The sale started five years ago and is open to the public. Sunday’s huge turnout showed that this event has gained a reputation with serious gardeners as a prime place for buying special plants in the spring.
The Ontario Rock Garden and Hardy Plant Society has hundreds of members across Ontario and beyond, including Czech Slovakia, Scotland and Sweden. One of the advantages of being a member is the society’s annual seed exchange.
While trying to keep up with the plant names and gardening jargon on Sunday, it occurred to me that this society has some of the most hardcore gardeners I have ever met. And with my job at Garden Making, that’s saying something.