The Merryspring Plant Sale will be held on Friday, May 10, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, May 11, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Friday’s sale is for Members Only, but you can become a Merryspring member at the sale or by calling 236-2239. Saturday’s sale is open to everyone.
An annual “rite of spring,” the Merryspring Plant Sale offers midcoast garden-ers an opportunity to browse leisurely and select from a wonderful assortment of unusual plants. Spread around the Merryspring gardens, this year’s display tables will exhibit a wide range of perennials, annuals, herbs, tomato seedlings, and shrub roses.
Among the featured native perennials this year, Dicentra eximia is a smaller, daintier version of the bleeding heart. Two other featured perennials – Lobelia cardinalis, the beloved cardinal flower, and the somewhat obscure Lobelia siphilitica, a blue cardinal flower – are both excellent hummingbird attractors.
Other exquisite perennials available this year are Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Lilafee’ (barrenwort), a graceful, lavender-flowered, woodland, dry shade lover; and Heuchera ‘Venus’ (coral bells), with its large silver leaves hosting deep green venation. Other sun-loving perennials that attract hummingbirds, butterflies, bees and birds include Echinacea ‘White Swan’, a white coneflower;Penstemon ‘Husker’s Red’ (beardtongue), with maroon red foliage and stems;Nepeta ‘Little Trudy’, a dwarf catmint; and the late-blooming hummingbird magnet, Salvia elegans (pineapple sage). A variety of dahlias and peonies, as well as the hardy chrysanthemum ‘Harmony’, with its daisy-like yellow flowers, will also be for sale.
New fun annuals being offered this year include the Profusion series zinnia, which are powdery mildew resistant; statice; and two types of amaranth, the stately burnt orange ‘Autumn’s Touch’ and the heirloom ‘Love-Lies-Bleeding’. Other heirlooms include the speckled orange-flowered Belamcanda chinensis (blackberry lily);Gladiolus callianthus ‘Murielae’, a highly fragrant species gladiola with white flowers and a deep burgundy throat; and ‘McMahon’s Texas Bird’ pepper, an incredibly hot variety that was grown at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. The seed of this pepper was given to Jefferson in 1812 and forwarded to Philadelphia plantsman Bernard McMahon in 1813.
Traditional herbs such as rosemary, thyme, parsley, and basil will be offered in some unique varieties. In addition, more exclusive herbs such as stevia, scented geraniums, and ‘Mojito’ mint will be on hand.
Flowering vine offerings such as the elusive fragrant snailflower, or Caracalla bean; passionflower; purple clematis ‘Venosa Violacea’; and Thunbergia (black-eyed susan vine) will also be on sale. Other fun tropicals that will be available include Cestrum nocturnum; night-blooming Jessamine; and patchouli.
Among this year’s 30 tomato varieties are a host of heirlooms and hybrids, as well as cherry, grape, paste, campari, and beefsteaks – some striped, some heart-shaped, some lobed -all in an array of rainbow colors! ‘Black Sea Man’ (a hardy Russian heirloom); ‘Moonglow’; ‘Sunsugar’; ‘Matt’s Wild Cherry’; ‘Costoluto Genovese’ (a tasty Italian heirloom); ‘Pineapple’; ‘Cupid’; ‘Marianna’s Peace’ (a pinkish-red heirloom beefsteak); and ‘Golden San Marzano’ are some of the varieties.
This year’s roses will include an extensive assortment of
tough, hardy shrub varieties such as the vigorous, doubleruffled, pink-flowered ‘Bonica’ and, from the Canadian Explorer series, the stunning deep red ‘Champlain’. Also available will be the coral-hued hybrid tea ‘Tropicana’ and the grandifloras ‘Strike It Rich’ and ‘Tournament of Roses’.
As in years past, divisions and other plants donated by
members and friends of Merryspring will turn the sale into an extraordinary treasure hunt for plant lovers. In addition to all the wonderful plants, there will be an assortment of used tools, flower pots, gardening books, and handcrafted items for sale.
All proceeds from the Plant Sale benefit Merryspring, a member-supported, non-profit nature park and education center that is located at the end of Conway Road just off Route 1 by the Hannaford Shopping Plaza in Camden.