by Connie Oswald Stofko
A shrub that has different looks from spring through summer is just one of the exciting plants that is being offered through the Great Plant Sale of the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens.
Hurry and order– The deadline to pre-order is Friday, April 7, and some of the popular plants get sold out. See the entire pre-order list and place orders online.
No orders will be shipped; you will pick up your plants at the Great Plant Sale at the Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo.
The first day of the sale is for volunteers and members only and will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 18. The public can attend from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, May 19 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 20.
On the day of the sale, you’ll be able to buy a variety of plants including Japanese maples, lilacs, flowering shrubs, vegetable six-packs, herbs and some new hanging baskets in decorative containers. You don’t have to pre-order those items.
If you want the best selection, become a member so you can attend on the first day.
Kristin Pochopin, director of horticulture, notes that the prices at the sale, both the day of the sale and pre-order, are good. You can pre-order Proven Winner shrubs for only $15. The specimen might be a little smaller than you would buy elsewhere, but that can be an advantage because it’s a more manageable size and you won’t have to dig as big a hole, she said.
Pre-order prices for perennials are $10 each, and for annuals, $3-$5 each.
A shrub that you can pre-order is one that Pochopin has chosen for the Proven Winners Signature Garden along the front walkway at the Botanical Gardens. It’s Spirea japonica Double Play ‘Candy Corn’.
“The colors sound exciting,” she said.
In early spring, the new growth emerges bright candy apple red. As it matures, it turns pineapple yellow, and the new growth continues to emerge bright orange all season. In late spring or early summer, you get dark purple flowers.
‘Candy Corn’ likes full sun but can take part sun. It’s small, getting only 18 to 24 inches high.
Another shrub that she is using for the Proven Winners Signature Garden and you can buy through the Great Plant Sale is Diervilla ‘Kodiak Black’. Its nice, dark foliage should contrast well with the lighter-colored foliage of ‘Candy Corn’.
It attracts butterflies, hummingbirds and bees and is deer resistant.
‘Kodiak Black’ is an easy-to-grow shrub that is drought tolerant and will grow in sun or shade. It gets three to four feet high and wide.
“I love grasses,” Pochopin said, and one that she likes a lot is Panicum virgatum Prarie Winds ‘Cheyenne Sky’.
“It’s a nice way to get some late color in your garden,” she said. ‘Cheyenne Sky’ starts out with a blue-green leaf, which turns deep wine red in summer. The flower plumes are burgundy red in late summer.
Some grasses are “flowy,” she said, but this one is more sturdy and erect, so if you need more structure and shape in your garden, this is a good choice.
It’s compact, getting only two to three feet high. Although it’s a perennial, you can use it in containers, too.
‘Cheyenne Sky’ likes full sun.