by Connie Oswald Stofko
For the first time, shrubs will be offered for pre-order in the Great Plant Sale of the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. In the past, some shrubs were available on the day of the sale, but this is the first time you can pre-order them.
As always, wonderful perennials, annuals and grasses will be available, too.
The deadline for pre-ordering is April 8.
You’ll pick up the items at the Great Plant Sale. The days of the sale are different this year, too. It will be held Thursday to Saturday, May 19 to 21 at the Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo.
In addition to the pre-ordered items, a large selection of plants will be available at the sale, including lilacs from a local grower and tropical plants and other plants grown by the Botanical Gardens staff.
Many of the items available through pre-order are from Proven Winners. The Botanical Gardens started a long-term relationship with Proven Winners in 2015 when the entrance beds at the Botanical Gardens were designated as one of six elite Proven Winners Signature Gardens in the country.
In addition, “some of the better shrubs introduced are from Proven Winners,” said Jeff Thompson, director of horticulture at the Botanical Gardens.
Volunteers at the Botanical Gardens helped the horticultural staff in choosing the plants
to be offered in the sale, so the selections are plants that local gardeners are interested in and that professionals think are worthwhile.
In addition to helping gardeners get great plants, the sale helps raise money for the Botanical Gardens.
“It’s part of the efforts to make this place bigger and better,” Thompson said.
Here are three of the shrubs you can pre-order in the sale:
Cephalanthus ‘Sugar Shack’
Also called buttonbush, Cephalanthus ‘Sugar Shack’ is designated as one of the sale’s Hot Picks. (There are limited quantities of the Hot Picks, so order soon.)
“It’s a nice plant that people aren’t used to using around here,” Thompson said.
‘Sugar Shack’ provides interest over multiple seasons. In early summer, it gets a white pom pom flower, which turns into decorative fruit in the fall. The foliage changes color, too.
The plant is fragrant and attracts pollinators, hummingbirds and butterflies.
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Fire Light’
Hydrangeas are offered in the sale every year, and this year the choice is Hydrangea paniculata ‘Fire Light’, another Hot Pick.
“It has a great flower color,” Thompson said. “It’s a rich, reddish pink that starts out as white.”
The flowers stay on the plant and the color lasts well into fall. It should bloom reliably in our climate.
Also called beauty berry, you can see an example in the Botanical Gardens’ Peace Garden. The variety that will offered in the sale is callicarpa ‘Profusion’.
“It’s a great plant to have,” Thompson said. “It really is beautiful. Tiny purple berries form around each stem. It looks like jewelry.”
This is an old fashioned plant that has been around a long time.
See all the plants available to pre-order in the Great Plant Sale here.