Plant a little, grow a lot

By From page B2 | May 01, 2013

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MASTER GARDENER Sue McDavid is one of the plant propagators for the Master Gardener Spring Plant Sale on Saturday, May 4 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial building parking lot, 130 Placerville Drive, Placerville. She carries a potted Geranium from her greenhouse in Placerville. Democrat photo by Pat Dollins

What: Master Gardener Spring Plant Sale

Who: UCCE Master Gardeners

Where: Veterans Memorial building parking lot, 130 Placerville Drive, Placerville.

When: Saturday, May 4 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cost: No admission, cash and checks are accepted for purchases

Information: UCCE Master Gardener office at 530-621-5512 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tuesday through Friday

Tired of those tasteless tomatoes at the supermarket? Hankering after some fresh herbs for your pasta dishes or flowers to make your backyard pop with color?

Then it’s time to get planting and there’s no better place to buy your tomato plants, herbs, flowers and other starter plants than at the upcoming Master Gardener Spring Plant Sale on Saturday, May 4.

More than 6,500 plants will be for sale, according to Master Gardener Merry Campbell, who is the coordinator of the event. That includes at least 60 varieties of tomatoes — most of them heirlooms, along with 50 varieties of herbs, native plants, lots of perennial and annual flowers, trees, shrubs, succulents, ground covers, grasses and more.

Campbell stressed the importance of getting there early for the best selection as last year’s sale attracted 2,500 people.

Master Gardeners holds two plant sales a year but spring is when most people are planting a vegetable garden or landscaping their yards.


Many choices

Examples of the diversity of plants that will be available include: autumn sage, hostas, heavenly bamboo, lavender, zinnias, smoke trees, flowering dogwood, hollyhocks, yarrow, flowering quince, Japanese maples, hydrangeas, strawberries, raspberries, grapes, feather reed grass, Santa Barbara daisies, scented geraniums, as well as shade, bird and butterfly plants.

A complete list of all the varieties for sale can be viewed at  Then click on the link Inventory of plants for the sale.

Almost all of the plants have been hand grown by local Master Gardeners without the use of synthetic hormones or fertilizers. Master Gardeners is part of the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE).


Prolific propagator

One of the plant propagators is Sue McDavid of Placerville who has been a Master Gardener since 1997.  She has propagated 2,000 plants on a half-acre plot below her home.

She said she has been working on the plants for a year, making sure they had a well-developed root system by the time of the sale. McDavid is not alone. She said there are three primary propagators like herself plus another 15 to 20 Master Gardeners involved in growing plants for sale.

Aside from buying veggies and plants, gardeners can also bring their hand tools to the sale and have them sharpened for a small fee.

Inexpensive Master Gardener books and planting guides are available for sale as well as an updated handout on deer resistant plants.

Educationals on different subjects will be available throughout the day. Specialists will be on hand to talk about integrated pest management, weed control, dealing with invasive species, composting, beekeeping, shade gardening, native plants and plants that attract butterflies.

Master Gardener plant sales have been held since 2009 with all the proceeds going towards establishing a demonstration garden for the public to use as a hands-on-learning-environment as well as a place to enjoy.

Located on two acres of land donated by Folsom Lake College, El Dorado Center, 6699 Campus Drive in Placerville, the site will eventually include 15 different gardens with almost all the labor being donated. Gardens planned include ones devoted to roses, vegetables/herbs, native plants, a children’s garden, a butterfly garden, bog garden, orchard/tree area, and Mediterranean garden, to name just a few.

Considerable work has already taken place on the site including the laying of water and irrigation lines with labor and equipment donated by Bass Lake Golf Course and Mike Burke of Burke Construction. A Japanese tea house, courtesy of the Cameron Park Rotary Club, has been erected and a potting and storage shed has been completed. Two bridges as well as a boardwalk over a bog area have been built. And a greenhouse donated by Sierra Greenhouse has been erected with the assistance of Mike Burke who put in the foundation.

Besides thanking all the Master Gardeners involved with the plant sale, Campbell wanted to acknowledge the generosity of the Veterans Memorial Hall management for allowing the plant sale to be held on the property twice a year.

The sale takes place on Saturday, May 4 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial building parking lot, 130 Placerville Drive in Placerville.

Cash and checks are accepted but not credit cards.

For additional information call the UCCE Master Gardener office at 530-621-5512 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or [email protected] Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.

Dawn Hodson

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