The Matthaei Botanical Garden's plant sale runs today through Sunday. Click logo for details!
I volunteered to help set up for the sale on Tuesday and Friday mornings. The sale is a huge endeavor, requiring a lot of staff and volunteer time and planning. My little bit of help was only a small cog in a much, much bigger wheel! If you're in southeast Michigan, be sure to stop by for some plants. They have a huge selection, and a plant list is available by clicking the logo. The sale is a major fundraiser for the gardens.
We had wonderful weather on Tuesday, sunny and warm, but not hot. This morning was another story. Lots of rain. There were also very strong thunderstorms going through this afternoon and evening, once the actual sale opened.
On Tuesday morning, our group of volunteers put price tags in flats and flats and flats of plants...
...and recreated any missing plant tags.
Once that was done, we started moving plants from the holding areas to one of two tents. The garden tent booked pretty bare on Tuesday morning (this is only about half of the space!)...
But ended up full, lush, and ready to rumble by noon on Friday. Some plants include:
Oenothera missouriensis 'Lemon Sunset'...
Digitalis purpurea 'Camelot Rose.' I've always adored foxglove — they seem like a quintessential faerie garden plant. (Which is ironic as I don't have any!)
Poppies (Papaver nudicaule, 'Flamenco') just popped in the dark tent.
The parking lot tents were also ready by noon on Friday (note volunteer in rain parka and wet pavement!).
Plants were also set up in the auditorium.
Another volunteer, Chris, and I were responsible for getting the rhubarb plants (which you can't see) and the raspberries (which I'm sure you see standing tall in the back) from one of the greenhouses to the auditorium. We also pruned the raspberries as needed.
We used this kind of cart to wheel the plants through the conservatory to the auditorium. The hanging baskets and other accent plants are located on the patio. Note the wet pavement. It thundered and rained Friday morning, which didn't deter the brave volunteers assigned outdoor duty.
After finishing my volunteer shift, I took a closer look at some things in the conservatory. I love this display of a huge lobster claw (Heliconia vellerigera), orchids, and ferns.
The lobster claw was fascinating up close. It grows yellow flowers, which turn into berries, first yellow, then turning green, and finishing up blue. Doesn't that berry look like a marble? I found it stunning. And I love the fuzzy texture!
I was also fascinated with this sausage tree (Kigelia pinnata). Now if only there were a bacon tree!
The most amusing thing in the conservatory is this flower kaleidoscope. At first glance, it looks like cool garden art; a decorative and imaginative container planting. But the kaleidoscopes really work.
I put my camera lens right on the eyepiece so you could see what I mean.
You get different patterns by moving the lens...
This may actually be intended for kids, but I got a real kick out of it.
Special thanks to Deiatra, who let me use her camera on Tuesday and emailed me the photos!
And, finally, unrelated to my plant sale experience, I've been wanting to show this sculpture on the Matthaei grounds:
Shadow Pavilion by Karl Daubmann in collaboration with John Marshall. (The mulch is incidental.)
I like how it looks different, depending on where you're standing.
And that it's easy to interact with. You can touch it!
This is my favorite angle.