Last year, the Lewis County Master Gardeners held their first ever fall plant sale out of necessity.
This year, they’re bringing it back because it just makes sense.
“Fall is the perfect time to be planting all these things,” said event organizer and Master Gardener Charmaine Gill. “Your plants have a couple months to get established before the cold weather comes around and when spring comes, they’re ready to just put forth and bloom.”
The Lewis County Master Gardeners’ second annual fall plant sale will take place this Saturday, Sept. 18, at the program’s demonstration greenhouse next to the Borst Home demonstration garden in Centralia.
As with their larger spring plant sale, the fall plant sale is a fundraiser for the Master Gardeners program that pays for community outreach including demonstration gardeners and free workshops. Gill explained that the program never changes for workshops, including their upcoming fall Gardening for Everyone, which will be Oct. 9 at Centralia Christian School.
“It goes back into the community in many ways,” Gill said of the money raised at the plant sales.
The first fall plant sale, held in September 2020, was a way for the nonprofit to recover from the cancellation of their annual spring plant sale. The spring sale is the nonprofit’s largest fundraiser of the year but because of ongoing COVID-19 restrictions it joined the list of many fundraisers and community events that could not take place that spring and summer.
Gill explained that many master gardeners had grown plants for the spring sale that were not able to be sold, so when COVID-19 restrictions began to ease in September 2020, they decided to try a small sale.
The community responded favorably to the event, Gill said.
“It was the first thing we planned since COVID and people were really looking for something to do or somewhere to go,” Gill said.
This year, the nonprofit was able to bring back its popular spring plant sale. Gill said local Master Gardeners were especially thankful for the community’s support during the event. For instance, she said shoppers were respectful of requirements for masking and social distancing. And when shopping carts that are usually available for the sale were not available, The Pumpkin Patch on Goodrich Road stepped in with donated wagons. In addition, many shoppers brought their own ways to carry plants and a local Boy Scout troop pitched in to get plants safely to cars. The Master Gardeners Foundation set a fundraising goal of $20,000 for the spring plant sale and sold in excess of $23,000 in plants.
“We were very, very pleased with the outcome,” Gill said.
The Master Gardeners fall sale will primarily feature trees, shrubs and other perennials this year. Gill said there will not be any annuals this year, as they were all purchased at the spring sale. As with the spring sale, all plants are grown by local master gardeners. A few of the perennials were left from the spring sale and cared for all summer by the Master Gardeners program greenhouse committee. Still others are new offerings being brought in by master gardeners. Gill said that one of their members is bringing 300 plants to the sale.
“There will be a variety of plants,” Gill said. “It will be like the spring plant sale but smaller.”
As with the spring sale, masks will again be required and social distancing will be encouraged at this Saturday’s fall plant sale. The fenced area that houses the demonstration greenhouse is much smaller than the Southwest Washington Fairground’s blue pavilion where the spring sale was held, so Master Gardeners will also be closely monitoring how many customers are inside the sale at one time.
The Lewis County Master Gardeners Fall Plant Sale will be held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at the Fort Borst Park Demo Garden greenhouse.
The fall Gardening for Everyone event is planned in person for 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at Centralia Christian School.
For more information about these events or any offerings by the Master Gardeners program, call 360-740-1216 or visit their website at lewis-mg-mrc.org or Lewis County Master Gardeners on Facebook.