The hardy plant society’s super plant sale

irises at plant sale
A wide variety of irises were for sale, although “sold out” signs quickly went up next to each iris’s name. Also available was a large selection of clematis, alpine plants, succulents, hardy orchids, trees and peonies, including fern-leaf peonies (Paeonia tenuifolia).

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.

hardy plant society volunteers
Bella Seiden and Barbara Cooper started the  event and are part of its success.

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.


  1. says

    Thanks, Kat, for the glowing report. Our success comes, in part, from the great reviews and enthusiastic support we receive from avid gardeners and knowledgeable media. We’ve posted a link to your blog on our website Hope to see you and your readers at our next Super Plant Sale sale on April 27 2014.

  2. Veronica Callinan says

    Thanks Kat! What a fabulous day that was. Thank you so much for acknowledging our volunteers. Bella and Barbara do an amazing job leading the team that pulled this all together. Not only leading, but picking all the plants and organizing to the finest detail. Carla De Monte organized over 50 volunteers, in shifts, with specific roles. That’s tough work. Manuela Poli and Helen Battersby spread the word as far and wide as possible. Laura Hawthorne organized all those fantastic vendors. Virginia Hildebrandt and Reggie Morgan donated time, donated plants, donated expertise. Then donated some more. I’ll get in trouble for missing folks, so many are needed to make this day a success. I can’t leave without thanking the TBG for all their help, too. Such a great crowd over there, gardeners should get out and see the TBG gardens. Thx Kat for being there, and capturing the excitement! Veronica Callinan, Chair, Ontario Rock Garden & Hardy Plant Society (ORG&HPS)

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