One of the harbingers of spring each year has been the annual Tillamook County Master Gardener Association’s Plant Sale. During the Covid 19 lockdown in 2020, the sale went on hiatus, returning in 2021 but as an online sale only. Last year it was a hybrid sale with part online and part in person. For 2023, the sale returns to an in-person only event.
So, mark your calendars for this coming Saturday, May 6, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Held in the 4H/FFA Horse Arena at the Tillamook County Fairgrounds, the master gardeners will be rounding up all sorts of plants for you to peruse and perhaps buy.
A traditional favorite is the wide selection of tomato plants, and this year there will be 700 of them. These will be varieties that are known to do well in our coastal climate so if you love a ripe tomato fresh from the garden as much as I do, here is your chance to buy those starts.
There will be all sorts of vegetable and herb starts and house plants as well. Grown by local master gardeners, these plants will be acclimated to coastal conditions, too.
More perennials, small trees and shrubs will be on offer at the sale than in previous years. And I can’t forget to mention the Garden Garage Sale that will happen in conjunction with the Plant Sale. Master gardeners and friends clean out their potting sheds, tool sheds, greenhouses and garages for some lightly used tools, pots and so much more.
As usual, there will also be a nice group of merchants that will be selling their wares, including 12 new sellers. The master gardeners are very excited to welcome Lone Wolf Forge with Gary and Jody Lewis. Gary will be setting up his forge outside and creates wonderful garden “accoutrements” like plant stakes, hanging basket hooks and lots more. It’s fun just to watch Gary as he works the forge and fashions his iron work on the spot.
Dave Rockey, better known as The Sharpenator, will sharpen tools and scissors while you shop, so pack them and label them carefully and bring them with you. Hope Stanton of Aldervale Native Plants will be bringing some of her natives to sell. Angela Young’s Far Away Mushrooms, Andrea Wolfe’s My Essentials Collection and Nana B’s Succulents from Becky Fisher will all be there to welcome you. Jeanne Komlofske will be bringing L J’s Goodies and Lynn Beck will be bringing her Northwood Crafts. Can’t forget Master Gardener Phyllis Holmes and her Bag Ladies. The vendor area will also feture some local authors, including Deborah Lincoln’s new book and yours truly with my new book “Four Seasons in the Pacific Northwest Coastal Garden.” So, be sure and stop by to say hello.
If you have a garden wagon or even a child’s little red wagon, it might be a good idea to stick that in the back of your car. There is a lot of space to cover inside the arena and having a wagon to tote your plants around will make it easier for you. The master gardeners will also offer a holding area for you to store your plants while you shop.
Might I also recommend making a shopping list? Since we don’t really know exactly what plants will be on offer at this point (other than tomatoes!), it would have to be a general list. Something like “2 tomato plants, 1 zucchini start, 5 lettuce starts, 3 shade perennials, 2 sun perennials, 7 native groundcovers.” That kind of a general list will allow you to find desirable plants to slot into your garden.
And remember, the Tillamook County Master Gardeners will be there to answer questions from their Help Desk as well as help you shop for just the perfect plant, should you need some advice. Proceeds from this sale benefit Tillamook County Master Gardener Association programs and scholarship fund, so you know your purchases are funding a good cause.
And if you haven’t gotten your fill of plant sales and plants, the Nehalem Bay Garden Club is holding their annual plant sale on May 13 (10 to 3) and 14 (10 to noon) at 43080 North Forth Road, Nehalem (at the intersection of North Fork Road and Hwy 53). They will have Mother’s Day gifts, hanging baskets, planters, plants, and a nice raffle to raise funds. They do prefer checks or cash and their proceeds from the sale benefit local organizations who share the mission of the club.
So, no excuse for not finding just the right plants in May. Now let’s hope the weather stays warm so we can plant them.