Annual plant sales enhance your garden or landscape
By Valerie Beerbower
Five Rivers MetroParks are made possible through citizen support of a tax-based levy, but local foundations also supplement two facilities. The Wegerzyn Gardens Foundation and James M. Cox Jr. Arboretum Foundation were created to enhance Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark, and Cox Arboretum MetroPark, respectively. Between these two organizations, millions of dollars have been raised for special amenities like the Children’s Discovery Garden at Wegerzyn, as well as landscapes and other facility improvements at Cox Arboretum.
Saturday, April 30, through Sunday, May 1, these two foundations will host their annual plant sales. Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Cox Arboretum MetroPark, get plants to make your landscape local with the Wildflower and Native Plant Sale. Most of the plants offered in this sale have been propagated or rescued from local areas slated for development. Get advice on-site from the Wildflower Volunteer Group to find the plants most suitable to your garden.
Find stunning perennials, annuals, herbs for companion planting (or simply to enhance your landscape) and vegetables at the 2011 Mayfair, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark. Hanging baskets also will be available (just in time for Mother’s Day).
To learn more about these plant sales, visit metroparks.org/PlantSales or call Cox Arboretum MetroPark at (937) 434-9005, or Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark at (937) 277-6545.
Still scratching your head wondering what plants are right for you? Here are some simple tips to help you sketch out your landscape
Shady Lanes: If your proposed landscaping area is covered by full shade to partial sunlight, consider these types of plant offerings:
- Hostas are an easy plant for shade gardens. Pick up some at Mayfair 2011.
- You can find hardy geraniums at both sales. These are excellent bloomers that require minimal maintenance.
- Blue star (Amsonia) pull double blooming duty. You’ll get light blue flowers throughout summer and wonderful yellow fall foliage. Get these at either plant sale.
- Columbines are another great choice for a low-maintenance shade garden. Pick up some at both plant sales.
- You can’t go wrong when you go local. Native wildflowers are the perfect low-maintenance plants. Shady superstars include mayapple, Virginia bluebells, wild geranium, Dutchman’s breeches, lily of the valley and celandine poppy. Get these at the Wildflower and Native Plant Sale.
Sunny Estates: Most flowering plants love full sun. You’ll find no shortage of these at either plant sale. Here are some of low-maintenance favorites suggested by MetroParks staff that you can pick up at the sales:
- Marigolds are annual plants that are easy and floriferous—even if you have the worst green thumb. Get a flat at Mayfair.
- Ohio’s once-sprawling prairies teach us the importance of native habitat, and cone flowers are no exception. Today, you can find this tough prairie plant hybridized with new colors at both plant sales.
- Rudbeckia (also known as brown-eyed Susan) can give your home a pop of color in bright yellows. Pick up these resilient plants at both sales.
- From brick red to soft pink, flowering geraniums are great way to add low-maintenance color to brighten hot summer days. Take cuttings in fall to winter over for next year. Get these annuals at Mayfair.
- If you’re looking for edge plantings or creating borders, consider sun-loving shrubs. In addition to providing attractive foliage in summer and fall, spicebush is a favorite food of butterflies, and buckeye plants come in a wide variety of low-maintenance shrubs. Pick up these two at the Wildflower and Native Plant Sale.
Veggie Variety: Want to get started on your own vegetable or herb patch? Give your summer barbeques a healthy, fresh flavor with some of these companion plants (available at Mayfair):
- Roma or sugary cherry tomatoes produce lots of fruit, whether growing in the backyard or in a pot on a patio.
- THE companion plant for foodies everywhere — sweet standard or Italian large leaf basil — is easy to grow. Stick in full, hot sun and harvest the leaves all season to add a delicious burst of flavor to your dishes.
- Lettuces are easy to plant and harvest for cool spring days. They can even be replanted for a second harvest in the fall.
If you have a question, ask a staff member or volunteer at the plant sale. If they can’t answer your question directly, they’ll be happy to point you in the right direction or connect you with a knowledgeable horticulture technician. Need a little inspiration? Visit one of the garden facilities, which include Cox Arboretum, Wegerzyn Gardens, and Aullwood Garden MetroPark. Remember to take notes as you stroll the grounds and make a list of plants to look for at the plant sales. If you’re interested in making your thumbs a bit greener, look into some of the upcoming gardening programs. Check the “gardening and landscaping” section of your current issue of ParkWays, available at your favorite MetroPark facility or via download from metroparks.org/parkways. You can also log onto metroparks.org/gardening for links to programs as well as other resources for
Miami Valley gardeners.
Reach DCP freelance writer Valerie Beerbower at email@example.com