A small native tree called red buckeye and a perennial known as Mexican petunia are two plants you surely want to check out during the Hampton master gardeners plant sale 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
I grow both in my garden, and they are must-have plants for different uses and reasons.
Red buckeye, or Aesculus pavia, grows 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide with panicles of large red flowers that hummingbirds like in late spring. In the fall, the tree produces shiny, chestnut-looking fruit that can be used for decoration.
Mexican petunia, or Ruellia brittoniana, features purple flowers on dark red stems that reach 30 inches tall. It blooms throughout summer, spreads readily and dies back in the winter. It's a useful plant for heat-tolerant color in touch spots, according to Carol King, Hampton master gardener.
The sale offers 4,000 plants in 150 types, and includes beauties like lily-of-the-valley, a shade-loving ground cover; spiderwort, a purple-flowering perennial; sweetspire, a native with white spring flowers and red fall foliage; beautyberry with fall purple berries birds adore; and red star hibiscus, a hardy specimen with giant flowers.
Plant prices are mostly in the $3-$5 range; cash and checks only. The sale will be held at Bluebird Gap Farm, 60 Pine Chapel Road, adjacent to the Hampton Coliseum; admission is free. Rain date is Sunday. Master gardeners will be on hand to answer questions and help with plant selection; river birch trees from the Virginia Department of Forestry will be given away.
"The sale is a great chance to develop your new green thumb," says Carol.
"You can experiment with inexpensive plants known to do well here."
Proceeds help the master gardeners continue their education in sustainable landscaping, which includes development and maintenance of their arboretum at the farm, which you can tour after shopping for plants.
10 tips for better plants
1. Choose the right plant for the right place.
2. Plant at the right depth.
3. Soak the plant before planting it.
4. Remove the plant from its pot and untangle or remove roots circling the pot or are matted at the bottom or sides.
5. Put the same soil back in the hole that you take out.
6. Use 1-2 inches of mulch to protect roots.
7. Diversify the plants in your garden or landscape.
8. Plant flowers among your vegetables to attract pollinators.
9. Learn what's best for your lawn, which is a stand of living plants; contact your Virginia Cooperative Extension office for detailed advice.
10. Look of your garden from the plants' perspective; if the plant is happy, you will be too. – Hampton master gardeners
For a list of local Virginia Cooperative Extension offices and how to contact them, more master gardener plant profiles with photos and more details on how to plant properly, visit Kathy's blog at http://www.roomandyard.com/diggin.
York County sale
York County master gardeners hold their plant sale 9 a.m.-noon Saturday at the Learning Garden, 301 Goodwin Neck Road (adjacent to the York County Public Safety Building). Annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees will be sold; call the extension office at 890-4940.
Contact Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org