Sales brisk at Leach botanical bazaar

Find out how hundreds of folks came, and walked away with scores of unique plant treasures. And, learn about their upcoming Children’s Nature Fair on May 20 …

-1 At the entrance of at Floyd Light Middle School in outer East Portland, Mill Park neighbor Timothy Crawley holds Veyda, and talks with Leach Botanical Garden Executive Director David Porter, and Friends of Leach Garden volunteer Mike Hochstein – as the organization’s annual Spring Plant Sale is underway.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Although it’s been held in various locations since the event started in the early 1980s, the Leach Botanical Garden Spring Plant Sale has been eagerly awaited each year by gardeners.

Again this year, it was held in the cafetorium at Floyd Light Middle School in the Hazelwood neighborhood on April 8.

Savvy shopper Martha McGuirk, and granddaughter Riley Moore, purchase plants with the help of volunteer Joy Conley.

“It’s been a really good sale today,” remarked Leach Botanical Garden Volunteer Coordinator Annie Winn.

“People are finding all kinds of plants here today, including many unusual ones – unlike things they find in a typical garden center,” Winn told East Portland News. “We have lots of unusual and interesting plants – for shade; native plants; unusual things like Jack in the Pulpit, a very dramatic plant; some dwarf conifers; lots of wonderful ferns; and varieties of flowering plants.”

Carol Westergreen of Out in the Garden Nursery and Thomas Johnson from Sebreight Gardens talk with Leach’s Volunteer Coordinator Annie Winn.

It takes a lot of volunteers to put this sale on, Winn said. “Off the top of my head, I would say about 40 volunteers help out, including those who provide and serve food that we provide for vendors and volunteers. A back room crew works on the finances, and there are our cashiers; our ‘tag pullers’; and, all of the folks who help prepare, set up and clean up after the event.”

Zinda Colburn, Amber Colburn and Perry Colburn say they drove all the way from North Bonneville in the Columbia Gorge for the sale!

Leach Botanical Garden Head Gardner Scott Hoelscher shows two of their collections’ items for sale – a splendid example of a section Moutan of the plant genus Paeonia, commonly known as a “tree peony”; and this Japanese Umbrella Pine – so ancient, it’s considered a “living fossil”, and is the sole member of the family Sciadopityaceae and genus Sciadopitys.

Leach Botanical Garden Executive Director David Porter kept track of the number of shoppers. “By mid-day, about 500 people came into this year’s plant sale, a very good number of shoppers.

“Our earliest plant sales were held at the garden,” Porter pointed out. “And, when our new space is developed, we’re looking forward to bringing this event back ‘home’, to the garden.”

Children’s Nature Fair coming on May 20

The annual Leach Botanical Garden Children’s Fair offers fun learning activities for the entire family. East Portland News archive image

Returning on May 20 is the annual Leach Botanical Garden Children’s Fair, held this year from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

This year’s theme is “Traveling Seeds”. Children of all ages will love this free Fair. Learn about seeds of all kinds, including those that disperse by “traveling.” Which ones fly? Which ones catch a ride? What role do we play in helping them get where they need to go?

Kids will also have fun meeting the Audubon Society of Portland’s Education Birds, going on a scavenger hunt or nature walk, having their face painted, and experiencing crafts, music, and the world-famous slug races. Top it off with a 25-cent ice cream cone! Parking and entry is in the Upper Meadow of Leach Botanical Garden, in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood. CLICK HERE, or, call (503) 823-1673 for more information.

© 2017 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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