Dig up some deals at tree auction & plant sale fundraiser Oct. 5
WHAT: Master Gardener Tree Auction & Plant Sale
WHEN: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Sat., Oct. 5; U-Dig-It starts at 7:30 a.m.
WHERE: Tri River Area Extension Office, Mesa County Fairgrounds
Plant lovers will have two new, unique options at this year’s 16th annual Master Gardener tree auction and plant sale, Oct. 5.
In addition to the annual tree auction beginning at 10 a.m., there’s a “U-Dig-It” sale starting at 7:30 a.m.
“It’s a unique, one-time only event because we are trying to reduce our inventory of herbaceous perennials in the arboretum,” Tri River Area Extension Agent Nick Meyer said.
The extension office anticipates the arboretum will lose some of its square footage once Mesa County Fairgrounds completes its master plan. So this year, to save plants and raise money for its Master Gardener program, people are invited to bring shovels and containers to dig up plants for purchase at a discounted price.
Varieties include columbines, yarrow, salvia, gazania and more, Meyer said.
“Also we’re selling lavender plants. They’re large and very beautiful,” he said. “The lavender demonstration plot has run its course and we’ve collected the data we need.”
Plants will be priced according to size, and on an “all sales final” basis.
The other unique aspect to this year’s sale is the donation of a large collection of plants belonging to a Master Gardener who is digging up her backyard.
The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, Meyer said, is donating the plants to generate funds for a youth horticulture program, and possibly a youth Master Gardener program.
“We’re calling it a legacy sale,” Meyer said. “We want to encourage youth to get involved with gardening and horticulture.”
The collection will include small flowering pear and crab-apple trees, forsythia, viburnum and English boxwood shrubs, and lots of various perennials. The legacy sale begins at 9 a.m. — the same time as the regular potted plant sale of nursery-donated ground covers, perennials and shrubs.
Local auctioneer Buster Cattles will conduct the tree auction which includes a variety of both deciduous and evergreen trees that have been donated by a dozen or so nurseries from Delta, Montrose and Mesa counties. A fork-lift operator will be on hand to load trees (some of them “quite large”) into people’s vehicles, Meyer said.
“Many nurseries like to decrease their inventory (in the fall) and it’s an opportunity to help a community project,” Meyer said.
The annual tree auction and plant sale is the only fundraiser for the Master Gardener program, a comprehensive horticultural program taught at the county Extension office. After completing the course, participants volunteer 50 hours to the Extension program. The next Master Gardener course will be offered fall 2014.
“It’s a way of extending horticultural knowledge and information throughout the community,” Meyer said.
Master Gardeners will be on hand at Saturday’s event to talk about the plants and discuss fall planting techniques. The sale will be held in the parking lot on the southeast side of the Extension building. The event also includes a bake sale.
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