Mother’s Day weekend is typically the kick off to the spring planting season in your garden. A four day pop-up plant sale started Thursday outside the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.
You’ll be able to find everything from hanging baskets to garden perennials at the first-time Spring Garden Festival. Planning Committee Volunteer Courtney Tompkins says, “They’re rare and you get ’em while you can.”
These aren’t your average flowers. And, this isn’t a typical sale. Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden Horticulture Manager Kelly Norris says, “It’s a four day pop-up retail setting that has a lot of education woven in.”
You’ll find 6,000 plants for sale, including twelve varieties of organic heirloom tomatoes selling for a few dollars a plant to rare orchids. Norris says, “This is a yellow lady slipper orchid and we’ve only got about ten of these.”
The rare orchid is priced at $80. Norris says, “This is really kind of an investment plant. This is one of those plants, if you’ve got it in your garden, this is something you’re not going to see in your neighbor’s garden.”
High fashion flowers are also for sale, including a Hort Couture Glamouflage Grape petunia and fun plants like one called a flap jack. Norris says, “You can grow it as a container plant on your patio. It’s a really great easy plant for somebody who maybe doesn’t have a lot of gardening experience who’s really nervous about killing something.”
About 20% of the plants you’ll find at the plant sale were actually grown at the garden. All you have to do is look for a “grown at the garden” sticker on the plant. Norris says, “We have an obligation to disseminate and kind of help get the word out that some of these really great unusual plants that people might not get to buy or find elsewhere.”
The plant sale is part education featuring expert speakers and part fundraiser for the garden. Norris says, “Really the expectation that we are able to make it a fundraiser is on us, but we really want to help people become better gardeners. We want to really connect the dots between people, plants and passion and really have an impact on what gardens look like in this part of the world.”
The spring garden festival is set up in the parking lot of the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden. It’s free to shop. Members got to preview the sale Thursday. You can shop Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s open Sunday from the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Most of the speakers during the festival are free, but you will need a ticket for the early bird lecture and book signing by Joseph Tychonievich on Saturday morning. It starts at 8:30 a.m. and tickets $5.
You can find more information at dmbotanicalgarden.com/SpringFestival.