RUSSELLVILLE — Those wanting to add a little something different to this year’s garden — flower or vegetable — may find just the right thing at the 16th annual Pope County Master Gardeners Plant Sale.
This year’s sale, which is open to the public free of charge, will be held from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday in the educational building at the Pope County Fairgrounds, 500 S. Knoxville Ave. in Russellville. The sale will feature a variety of plants from the members’ gardens, some of which may be classified as “heirloom” or “pass-along” plants and may not be available at commercial nurseries.
“This year, we have worked out an agreement with Russellville High School to use part of its greenhouse to store some of our plants until the time of the sale,” said Meg Fox, plant sale chairwoman. “By doing this, our gardeners were able to take cuttings last fall, pot them and let them grow in the greenhouse.
“In return, we will help the horticulture students with some of their projects,” she said.
Fox said the majority of the plants will sell for $2 to $3.
“Trees and shrubs will go for more, maybe $10 to $15,” she said. “We will have a little bit of everything — vines, shrubs, trees, herbs, vegetables, annuals, perennials.”
Janet Carson of Little Rock, a horticulture specialist with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service and state coordinator for the Arkansas Master Gardener program, will be the guest speaker at the sale. She will give two short programs at 9:15 and 10:45 a.m. and will answer questions.
“She will talk about some of the latest pests and diseases found in gardens,” Fox said. “She also will talk about how to build a good soil.”
Steve Calkins of Conway will be on hand with his Japanese maple trees. Calkins said he grows the trees as a hobby and will have about 20 varieties of maples for sale at the show, most of them the 3-gallon size.
Proceeds from the plant sale will benefit the many programs of the Master Gardeners.
“We help maintain native-plant displays at the Dardanelle State Park Visitors Center, as well as a butterfly garden …,” said Nonnie Driver, vice president in charge of public relations. “We work at the Garden of Hope in downtown Russellville as a project to mentor youth, and we provide scholarships to students at Arkansas Tech University.”
Frank Russenberger, president of the Pope County Master Gardeners, said the group gives two $500 scholarships.
“If we are able to increase our cash flow,” he said, “hopefully that amount would increase.”
Russenberger said he expects this year’s plant sale “to be bigger than ever.
“This is the first year we have been able to use a greenhouse, so we should have more plants to sell. We should have a better selection than in previous years.”
For more information on the Master Gardeners program, call the Pope County Cooperative Extension Service at (479)-968-7098.