Not that "real" gardeners don't relish the challenge of growing in every season or any fathomable condition, but spring is where the magic happens! (Wait, is this an episode of MTV's "Cribs"? Well, as a matter of fact, it sort of is!) Many, including hordes of folks who don't consider themselves in any way plant-savvy, crawl out of their hibernation from the out-of-doors to take on Mother Nature.
I personally looked her square in the eye this past weekend and challenged her to a game of "Survivor." Not between the elements and me, mind you. Rather, I planted approximately 140 pots of seeds and cuttings at home. (<-- That's part of my work!) I fully expect that, though I might have a casualty or two along the way, Jeff Probst will anoint me, and my plant children, champion of this competition at the end of the season. The tribe will have spoken, if you will. That is to say, I intend to master the garden, despite the fact that I, unlike so many of my coworkers, am not a "real" gardener.
For us at The Gardens, spring means a myriad of things, such as cherry blossoms, tulips, countless schoolchildren on field trips, family strolls during spring breaks and the annual Spring Plant Sale (coming up April 15-17)! The lists of plants are flowing in from our volunteers and I must say that I am more excited about this year's sale than I have ever been. Perhaps it's due to the aforementioned reality show playing out in my mind, pitting my plants against Mother Nature. Perhaps it's partially due to the excitement and challenge of a new home – Vestavia Hills Shopping Plaza – and all of the unknowns that come with it. Or perhaps it's due to this absurdly beautiful late winter and spring we've been experiencing since, well, the second week of a normally brutal February.
Whatever the reason, I am excited. I cannot wait to see the plethora of perennials and the abundance of annuals under one roof. The countless natives will thrill any serious plant person. Start your own raised bed or container garden with vegetables and herbs; make it a salad bed or something fun of that sort. Or find plants for your local community garden. Love fragrant flora? Stop by the rose booth and figure out what works in your yard. Who doesn't love an orchid? No, seriously, who? (And if you've never read The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean or seen the Charlie Kaufman's film, Adaptation., you probably should!)
I'm leaving out literally thousands of plants, but you get the picture. We obviously don't have an exact count just yet, but upwards of 100,000 plants will be sold this year. And what's more, you don't just get great plants at great prices that benefit a beloved cultural institution in your community. No, you also get heaps of information from our hundreds of knowledgeable volunteers who will ultimately sacrifice somewhere around 5,000 hours of their time to make this sale possible.
So if you don't have the confidence to take on Mother Nature like I'm doing this year, don't fret. These wonderful people who give their time and talent to help us put on the Spring Plant Sale will give you all the tenacity you will need to grab that Trillium by the roots and make it grow in your garden.
Need directions to the new Spring Plant Sale location at Vestavia Hills Shopping Plaza? Let Fred Spicer, executive director, walk you through getting the location (as well as what's in bloom at The Gardens right now). Here he is on Fox 6 last Wednesday:
Can you tell we're excited? Hopefully you are too! Details about the Spring Plant Sale, April 15-17, are available online at www.bbgardens.org/springplantsale.