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Sunday, May 26, 2024
Plant deals, expert advice at NOTL Horticultural Society’s annual sale
Sandy Bott is co-ordinating the 17th annual Niagara-on-the-Lake Horticultural Society’s plant sale. The sale is on May 13 from 9 a.m. until noon. (Richard Harley)

Jo-Ann Fraser
Special to The Lake Report

Spring has sprung and the town’s green thumbs are eagerly anticipating the 17th annual Niagara-on-the-Lake Horticultural Society’s plant sale.

It will be held at the Meridian Credit Union Arena in Virgil on Saturday, May 13, from 9 a.m until noon, rain or shine. Purchases are cash only.

“We’re almost ready for the sale,” said Sandy Bott, who, along with Susan Dodd, has been co-ordinating the event since 2019.

“We’re awaiting delivery of the Boston ferns, Martha Washington geraniums, herbs, heirloom tomatoes and much more from our five growers. Our members are also busy in their gardens splitting perennials to share at the sale.”

One of the attractions of the sale is the variety of plants available.

“Some of my favourite purchases have been hellebore, pulmonaria, baptisia, Solomon’s seal and groundcover sedum,” said Bott, who loves the idea of gardeners sharing plants and knowledge.

“But the true treasures are the perennials donated by our members. The plants come from local gardens, so you can be sure they will transplant well into your garden.” 

Many of the horticultural society’s members are also lending a helping hand to set up for the sale.

“We are busy coaching volunteers to set up two new tents, arrange plants and help buyers cash out,” Bott said.

“There will also be lots of hands available to help buyers take their plants to their cars. And, as usual, we’ll be offering a tool-sharpening service at the sale.”

Prices for the plants range from $1 to $15, with most prices between $3 to $8.

“Our membership includes master gardeners and professional landscapers, so there’s always plant advisers on hand to help residents to add their plants to the right place in their gardens,” added Bott, who retired from the Toronto District School Board and moved to NOTL 11 years ago with little knowledge of gardening.

It was when Bott joined the horticultural society that her knowledge of gardening blossomed.

“My neighbour convinced me to join the society and I’m so glad I did. The group is a mix of people from all walks of life with one common interest – learning about gardening,” she said.

“I started to attend the monthly meetings, enjoyed the speakers and learned a lot about bees, pollinator gardens and the proper pruning and care of trees and shrubs.” 

As a result of the group’s efforts, members now know a lot about gardening – but it doesn’t stop there.

The society also invests the money earned during the plant sale into a variety of sustainable projects.

“Last year, we raised $6,000,” said Bott. “We used that money to donate pollinator plants and pay for a water tap to be installed at the Newark Park Community Garden, donated to the heritage trail, bought and delivered potted plants to the residents of the three long-term care homes in NOTL and purchased plants for the William and Nassau gardens, that our members maintain.”  

Bott encourages both brown and green thumbs to visit the sale and join the horticultural society.

“Gardening is about more than pulling weeds. It’s satisfying to watch things grow. And there’s nothing better than wandering through my garden picking a little basil to complement my freshly picked tomatoes.”

Visit notlhortsociety.com to become a member and follow the group on Facebook.

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