Annual Leach Garden plant sale signals springtime

Look at the tremendous turnout of folks looking for unique Pacific Northwest greenery, at the Leach Botanical Garden’s Plant Sale. And, learn more about the free family event they’re holding on May 14 …

With more than 3,000 plants on display, buyers are sure to find the perfect additions to their garden at the Leach Garden Spring Plant Sale.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
A sure sign that nicer weather is just around the corner – be it just a couple of weeks, or still months, away – is the Leach Botanical Garden Annual Springtime Plant Sale.

As is their custom, the Friends of Leach Garden loaded truckfuls of  plants from the famous outer East Portland natural botanical wonderland into Floyd Light Middle School on April 14. On their heels were sixteen vendors – filling the school’s gymnasium with more than 3,000 plants.

Friend of Leach Garden volunteer Lana Younglove spends a moment with the plant sale’s perennial Chair, Katie Goodwin.

“This event raises funds for the ongoing operation of the garden,” explained the sale’s organizer again this year, Katie Goodwin.

Even though Leach Botanical Garden is owned by Portland Parks & Recreation, Goodwin reminded us that – while the City provides in-kind material and services support – the garden doesn’t get City money for staffing.

“So, Friends of Leach Garden raises money to cover the operating expenses,” Goodwin continued. “We also have a huge volunteer corps – over a hundred people who volunteer in some way for the needs of the garden.”

Volunteer cashiers at three tables rang up a steady stream of sales; other volunteers helped carry purchases out to buyers’ vehicles.

Jeff Pearson, from three Brothers Nursery, gives advice to shopper Colleen Lockovitch.

One might think it would be difficult to get volunteers to move so many plants in, make sales, and afterward clean it all up.

“Not so,” Goodwin commented. “I’m in the curious position of having more volunteers than we can use, sometimes. It’s because they enjoy doing it so much; they get to talk gardening with our visitors, and it also helps build relationships among one another in our organization.”

Many of the plants at the sale, like these, are propagated from clippings from plants in the Leach Botanical Garden.

Family Nature Fair returns on May 14
Goodwin reminded us that she’s also the Chair of the Leach Botanical Garden Family Nature Fair, to be held this year on May 14.

“We’ll have all of the favorite activities that families with kids love,” Goodwin smiled. “Along with our volunteers will be volunteers from the Johnson Creek Watershed Council, Portland Arts Academy, and others, who help out with activities.”

In addition to the live band, there’ll again be the banana slug races, a display of arts and crafts, informative booths – and ice cream.

“The fair runs from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.,” Goodwin added, “so come and enjoy all the fun things you come to know and love about our wonderful fair.”

Note: This event is held in the Leach Botanical Garden “Upper Annex”. From SE Foster Road, go south on SE 122nd Avenue – one block to SE Foster Place. Then turn east on the small gravel road. It’s before the long hill with the bridge at the bottom.

For more information, see their official website:  CLICK HERE.

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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