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Bloom Time!

The Charleston Horticultural Society’s annual plant sale—open for business this Friday, April 13, and Saturday, April 14—is packed with hundreds of verdant species (including the kniphofia and eucomis shown at right). Photographs by (left to right) Susan McL Epstein, Rebecca Gallagher, & Brad Goshorn

April 11, 2012

Bloom Time!
If you’re looking to grow your garden, there’s no better place than Plantasia

written by Anna Evans

Elephant ears, dragon toes agave, ice dance sedge, and twilight zone aloe: they’re but a few of the fantastical names amidst the 7,000 plants that wonder-struck gardeners will find “priced to sell” at Plantasia, filling Wragg Square from this Thursday night through Saturday.

The Charleston Horticultural Society’s (CHS) annual plant sale has it all: from shrubs and trees to grasses and groundcovers, annuals and vines. In addition to standard Southern favorites, they’ve got “old-fashioned plants that you don’t see often, such as the banana shrub, as well as cutting-edge species new to the market,” says the CHS's Susan Epstein. “For example, there’s ‘Sunny Foster’ holly, specialty Japanese maples, ‘Florida Sunshine’ anise, and newer hydrangeas such as ‘Lemon Zest’ and ‘Fugi Waterfall.’ We’ve got funky little ferns and a lot of tillandsias—air plants that you can attach to trees using liquid nails!” A carefully curated selection of vendors will also be selling garden pottery, furniture, and more.

The festivities begin with Thursday night’s preview party. A $50 ticket gets you first crack at the plants, plus libations, light refreshments, and live entertainment. Also place your bids on containers being created by pro garden designers.

Then, on Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., the sale is open to the public. Print the plant list, available here, and come ready to shop, or simply show up with a description of your green needs, as CHS docents are on hand to aid in plant selection. “They’re very knowledgeable. If you tell them, ‘I have shade, rocks, and no water,’ they will find you the right plant for the right place,” says Plantasia chair Katie Roberts.

Friday shoppers would be wise to return on Saturday, when there are two exciting additions to the offerings: a “Real Yard Sale” of used outdoor furnishings, as well as a wide selection of “Members’ Favorites” plants, grown and donated by CHS members. If you have a wagon, bring it along to tote your finds, although carts are also available on site, and volunteers will help load your loot into the car.

Need some inspiration to fuel your fresh landscaping efforts? Walking tours are offered at 10 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday, with docents taking participants inside six to eight beautiful downtown gardens. At Wragg Square, you’ll also find free lectures and demonstrations held on the hour every hour: “Drop Dead Gorgeous: 10 Easy Ways to Kill Your Orchids,” “Container Combinations Colored Outside the Lines,” even “City Chickens: What the Cluck is All About,” and many more.

Plantasia Preview Party: Thursday, April 12, 6-8 p.m. $50. Plant sale: Friday, April 13, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, April 14, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Free admission; cash, checks, Visa, and Mastercard are accepted for purchases. Wragg Square, 342 Meeting St. (in front of Second Presbyterian Church). Find complimentary parking at the Rivers Federal Building, 334 Meeting St. For details, call (843) 579-9922 or click here.

To find more events happening around town this weekend, click here.

To peruse articles from Charleston's April garden issue, click here.

Wed, 04/11/2012