Thursday, March 19, 2015

2015 Spring Plant Sale

Rock garden iris

by Erika Zambello

Spring is finally here, and we are all excited to head outside and begin another growing season. Kick-start your garden this year with a visit to the annual Duke Gardens Spring Plant Sale, less than two weeks away! The Spring Plant Sale will be held on Saturday, March 28, from 8 a.m. to noon, with a members-only preview sale on Friday, March 27, from 4 to 6 p.m.

(See a video preview from our greenhouses here, and another about how you can buy plants propagated directly from Duke Gardens plants.)

The sale will feature Duke Gardens plants, trees, shrubs, vines, bulbs, specialty vendors, and decorative plant pots. Not sure which plants will go best in your garden? No problem! Gardens staff and Durham County Master Gardeners will be on hand to provide expert advice and suggestions.


Gardeners can find an assortment of colorful hellebores at the sale, a perfect way to give a winter or early spring garden a pop of color. A perennial plant, hellebores grow close to the ground, and feature five "petals," called sepals. Many species are evergreen, frost tolerant and shade tolerant.

Additionally, Camellias can provide great garden color when few other blossoms are open. The plant sale will feature both spring and fall varieties, which generally grow in light sun to full shade. Even when not in bloom, camellias are an evergreen shrub and will provide color to your landscape all winter long.

Leaves of a cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior)

If you're looking for green in your garden, look no further than the cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior). It is evergreen in the colder months, and it prefers dry or moist shade. It will reach around 2 feet in height. A perfect plant to add around foundations, cast iron plants are also great houseplants.

Italian arum (Arum italicum)
Italian arums (Arum italicum) also have lovely green winter foliage. Native to Europe, they flower in mid-spring and produce beautiful fruitscapes of red and orange in the summer. This plant prefers shade, and other than its colorful fruits it is largely dormant in the summer.

Finally, many associate irises with the coming of spring and summer. Take home one of the many species of rock garden irises for your own garden, and enjoy their brilliant blue, purple and yellow blossoms. These irises reach only 4 to 6 inches in height, bloom in early spring and summer, and are a great addition along borders and edges of paths and entrances.

Come check out these plants and so many more at the Spring Plant Sale on March 27 and 28. Though the Friday preview sale is for members only, non-members may join on site. Please see our membership page for more information about support levels and benefits.

Blogger and photographer Erika Zambello is a graduate student studying ecosystem science and conservation at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.

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