Unique plants vended at annual Leach fundraising sale

If you missed the Leach Botanical Garden sale – take a look at what you missed. And, learn about the Children’s Nature Fair coming up on May 18 …

With purchases in hand, Carole Walker takes home plants she bought at the 2013 Leach Botanical Garden Plant Sale.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
From all across the greater Portland area, gardening enthusiasts converged on Floyd Light Middle School in the outer East Portland Hazelwood neighborhood on April 20, for the annual Leach Botanical Garden Plant Sale.

For more than two-and-a-half decades, volunteers supporting the Garden have put on this sale – their major fundraiser for the year.

Leach Botanical Garden Executive Director David Porter, and event chair Katie Goodwin, welcome gardeners to the annual fundraiser.

“I’m not sure exactly how long they’ve had the sale,” event chair Katie Goodwin told East Portland News. “I’ve been the Chair for the last 14 years!”

In addition to providing many special plants from the Leach greenhouse and grounds, 21 additional vendors were on hand to sell their own plants. “We’re excited to have six new vendors this year,” commented Goodwin.

Hidden behind this greenery are more than 100 shoppers, browsing the aisles for unique plants.

One of the happy vendors at this year’s sale is Truls Jensen, of Wild Ginger Farm in Beavercreek.

Vendor Truls Jensen of Wild Ginger Farm in Beavercreek said, between greeting customers, “I like working with all the nice people at the Garden.  And, it’s great fun spending time with all the plant lovers in the area who come to visit this special event.”

“This sale is important, because it helps fund the ongoing expenses of the garden, be they maintenance or some funding of staff,” Goodwin explained. “Portland Parks and Recreation owns the land – the physical property – but we, the volunteers of ‘Leach Garden Friends’, do not receive any operational funds from the Bureau.”

Madison Santos and Suzanne Muir shop for plants.

Leach Garden Friends volunteers Bette Streitmatter and Ruth Lund serve as cashiers, checking out happy buyers.

Behind only facility rentals for weddings, corporate events, and other groups, the plant sale is the Garden’s second largest fundraiser every year, Goodwin remarked.

“The sale depends on a lot of volunteer work; about 70 volunteers have participated in setting up, and working in the event today.”

They were on track to clear about $7,000 from the plant sale this year, she said.

Leach Botanical Garden Executive Director David Porter added, “My guess is that we’re going to exceed that. It looks as if more than 600 people visited our sale – many of them buying and walking away with treasured plants.”

Leach Botanical Garden Head Gardener Scott Hoelscher, talks with Leach Garden Friends Vice President Linda Morrow of Council Crest.

There’s more: ‘Nature Explodes!’ on May 18
The “Children’s Nature Fair” again returns to Leach Botanical Gardens on May 18, from 10 a.m. until   2 p.m.

The theme for this year’s edition is “Nature Explodes!” said Leach Garden Friends President Gay Greger. “With volcanoes as the theme, this year’s event promises to be a blast!

“Taking center stage will the Mad Science ‘Fire & Ice’ show, filled with dazzling demonstrations using fire, bubbling potions, and carbon dioxide gas frozen to 109°F below zero,” Greger added.

“We’ll have other fun geology and volcano adventures too, along with the annual Slug Races, Ladybug walks, worm explorations, Audubon’s Education Birds, and a wide variety of nature-based craft projects.”

It’s FREE, but donations are welcome. Fun for all ages; this is a family event, not a kid drop-off program. It takes place starting in the Upper Garden Meadow.  For more information, contact (503) 823-1671 or education@leachgarden.org. Leach Botanical Garden is located at 6704 SE 122nd Avenue, a couple of long, twisty blocks south of SE Foster Road.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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