Dig it: BHML plant sale a high yield

Tue, 06/08/2021 - 10:15am

    Hundreds upon hundreds of flowers, shrubs, vegetables and herbs were donated by 24 local gardeners to support the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library through the biannual plant sale held June 5. It was also the final day of the online auction. Between both events, $6,725 was raised to support Library programming.

    Thirty-five to 40 gardening aficionados were in line bright and early for first dibs on the hundreds of plants offered for sale at Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library. The sale 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. brought in $3,100 – bear in mind that the highest priced items were shrubs at $8!

    Master gardeners, plant sale organizers, and donors Bonnie Ginger, Sue Mello, Anna Apollonio, and Liz Lussier were amazed by this year’s donations. 

    Lussier, who moved to Boothbay Harbor from Florida, heard about the event and decided to throw her gardening gloves in with the three master gardeners. “I wanted to learn about northern gardening – and I have learned so much from them. I have found that Maine people love to garden, everyone’s a gardener here – including me.”

    The abundance of donations to this year’s plant sale certainly supports Lussier’s “everyone’s a gardener” theory.

    “We’ve never had this many plants,” said Ginger, “and we’ve never had to use the lawn beyond the sidewalk. We were in awe yesterday (Friday) once we had them all out here.”

    After conferring, the master gardener quartet agreed some of the most popular items are day lilies – particularly the lemon yellow beauties; bee balm, hosta, tomatoes … And, speaking of tomatoes, this year the Pink Berkeley Tie Dye variety, caused a bit of a sensation, particularly after Mello brought some photos of the beauties  up on her phone - and every one of them found a new home.

    All four women stayed very busy answering questions and keeping tabs on the inventory. Gardening newbies could also bring  home one or two of the gardening books at the sale, as well as pots and plant hangers.

    The herbs area, always deliciously aromatic, included parsley, marjoram, bergamot, thyme, curly mint, sage; segwaying into the shade plants – hosta, lily-of-the-valley … followed by the shade and some sun varieties, to full sun (vegetables were here). And, the flowers - iris, lilies, cosmos, phlox, and there were a few lilacs among the shrubs. Berries and pumpkins were among the fruits waiting for new digs. The layout itself helps gardeners of all levels to know what to plant where; of course the signs - “full sun,” “shade,” etc. go a long way with that info too.

    Bidding on items donated for the 10-day online auction ended at 8 p.m.  Breen reported 226 bids were placed raising another $3,625! The outstanding donations are on the BHML Facebook page. Auction winners can pick up their items during library hours.

    The proceeds from this plant sale and auction support multiple library offerings. BHML is participating in the Grow a Row project with the Lincoln County Gleaners, working to increase access to free local produce in community; the Passport to Reading is about to kick off for the summer, and … thanks to a grant from the Maine Community Foundation, BHML is working on a pop-up library trailer.

    Said Breen, “We’ll have it up at the food trucks location to start and then take it on the road!”