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One of the most frustrating aspects of creating the garden of your dreams is the astronomical costs of supplanting barren land with healthy, lush plants. Look at any gardening magazine, and you will be inundated with photos of the most elaborately spectacular gardens you’ve ever seen. Depending on where you live, where you shop or your tastes, it can potentially become an expensive endeavor.
Here’s my situation
Last year, I decided to pull up 17-year-old azaleas that had long overstayed its welcome in my yard. I like azaleas, but I think that given the space it occupied, it wasn’t exactly earning its keep. It was bland, predictable, uninspiring and a remnant of what the previous owner had created. The house was mine now, and I wanted it to reflect in some small way, my desire to create an English Cottage Garden.
A lot has happened since then, I’ve managed to find some gems to put in the two plots that I amended and fertilized. Naturally, I found several items at my local Home Depot and Lowe’s. But if I am honest, its predictable what big box stores will offer. I wanted something different and unique, which is why I opted to order the English standard, David Austin roses, online.
Of course, I still had my radar out for something else to add to the garden since I was dealing with two broad areas. Luckily, I came across a flyer announcing an upcoming plant sale hosted by the local Master Gardener’s program.
Most counties have a Cooperative Extension Service or Office. Within their purview, they offer a Master Gardener’s program to interested citizens who have an interest in gardening.
If your application is accepted and you complete their extensive training, you will be expected to volunteer a minimum of 50 hours in service to your local county extension program.
That service may include up keeping public gardens and parks in the county, etc. You must attend all classes and pass a midterm and final exam. There is a fee to join the program.
What is a Master Gardener?
Primarily, Master Gardeners promote, inform and work with the community. They answer garden questions at county fairs, garden centers, flower shows, shopping centers, and the extension office. They identify plant diseases, insects, and plant cultural problems and teach their community to preserve their natural resources.
I was excited knowing that I could confidently purchase plants that were grown, propagated and nurtured by experts in the field. Honestly, I had seen fliers announcing this sale over the years but never got around to attending one. Since I had specific needs this time around, I figured why not?
The Douglas County Master Gardeners’ Plant sale occurs annually on the first weekend in May. It is a well-attended event, so it’s imperative that you arrive early to get the best pick. There is a limited amount of each annual or perennial, so it’s literally on a first come, first serve basis.
The prices were exceptional. The most expensive item was a gigantic limelight hydrangea at 16.00!! The least costly were bushy annuals at 1.00 each. The proceeds from this event will be used to fund the many activities that the group sponsors throughout the year.
why buying local works for me
What I like best about purchasing from the Masters is that the plants are native to your particular area. This assures that they will thrive in your garden. There is an arsenal of Master Gardeners on hand to offer complete instructions on how to care for them. You will never feel like you’re on your own, which is particularly comforting to the newbie gardener.
If you are looking to spruce up your garden, keep your eyes open for a similar plant sale in your neighborhood. It’s for a worthy cause, affordable, and you will end up having a garden that’s the envy of your block!
I can’t wait to see the results after a few growing seasons, and I will have a gloriously lush garden that I’ve always dreamed of thanks to the:
Annual Plant Sale
The Douglas County Master Gardeners’ annual plant sale is held the first Saturday in May from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. We offer a large variety of perennials, shrubs, annuals, herbs, and vegetables–many ‘old favorites’ and some ‘hard to find’ plants.
Proceeds benefit a variety of causes throughout Douglas County including the group’s garden for ‘Feed the Hungry.’ The sale will be held at the Master Gardener’s greenhouse located adjacent to the Woodie Fite Senior Center at 8750 Dorris Road in Douglasville, 30134.