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Crowds flock to Master Gardener plant sale

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[May 21, 2014]  LINCOLN - Saturday morning in spite of some gray skies and chilly temperatures, local residents stood in line outside waiting for an opportunity to snatch up plants grown by the Logan County Master Gardeners.

The annual plant sale at the Logan County Fairgrounds was a bit late this year, due to a harsh winter and cold spring, which slowed down the early growing season. However, this had little effect on the local market because until just recently it hasn’t been warm enough to put to plants in the ground anyway.

When the doors opened at 9 a.m., the 4-H barn being used quickly filled with shoppers grabbing up their favorite plants. The first person to arrive at the check-out did so within just a couple of minutes, as it appeared she knew exactly what she was coming for and where to find it.

This year there were hundreds if not thousands of plants ranging from ornamentals, such as Hostas and Day Lilies; to herb plants, and vegetable plants, such as tomatoes.

A large stack of boxes set aside for shoppers by the Master Gardeners quickly dwindled as shoppers snatched up plants in quantities.

This year, there were volunteers from the local 4-H organizations on hand to assist customers with carrying their purchases out to their vehicles. There were also carts and wagons available for the really big items.

Within the first 30 minutes the plant inventory fell by at least 50 percent as happy shoppers made their way through the check-out.

Amy Hyde with the Logan County Extension was on hand watching the event and said it was going to be yet another good year for the Master Gardener sale.

She explained that the advantages to buying from the gardeners include the fact that the cost of the plants is significantly lower than at a retail establishment.

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She said the role of the Master Gardeners is to teach and encourage gardening. She said some have asked her to explain how a plant sale does this, and the explanation is pretty easy. At the sale, customers have the opportunity to try something new at a fairly inexpensive cost. They also have the opportunity to talk to the gardener who actually grew the plant, and learn from him or her what it is going to take to make the plant prosper in their own lawn.

She added, “If you buy something here and it doesn’t work out for you, you didn’t break the bank at a retail store in order to find that out.”

The money raised from the sale goes to the Master Gardener organization. Hyde said it is used primarily to fund a day trip the gardeners take each year to a garden related business or company.

The money is also used to fund the planting of annual flowers around the Logan County Fairgrounds. Hyde explained the beds at the fairgrounds are annual flowers that can be changed each year. Most of the gardeners grow perennials, so they purchase the flower plants for the fairgrounds.


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