The Grey County Master Gardeners (GCMG) ever-popular annual garden sale will be held for the first time ever in Meaford, rather than in Owen Sound. The sale will be held at Meaford’s Rotary Harbour Pavilion on Saturday, September 9, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., according to GCMG publicity chair Carole Warren.
“This event is a big deal for us for a number of reasons,” Carole said. “For more than 20 years, the sale has been held in the parking lot of the Heritage Place Mall in Owen Sound. It is always very successful, something local gardeners look forward to attending at a time when garden centres are often low on inventory. But the parking lot location left us subject to the whims of weather and delivery trucks. And although changing a long-standing tradition is always risky, we think and hope it’s worth it.
“The Rotary Harbour Pavilion in Meaford is a much better venue with the stunning location right on the water, lots of space to organize plants and people, easy parking, and an actual roof to shield us from the sun and rain. Moreover, many of our members live in the area, so they’re quite happy to have one less drive to Owen Sound.
“Over the past year or so, we’ve found ourselves focusing more and more on the role private and public gardens can play in the protection and preservation of the environment. Individually, and as a group, it’s been inspiring to learn how the simple act of adding more native and pollinator plants can support our struggling native bugs, beetles, bees, birds, and butterflies. What’s more, we don’t have to sacrifice design and beauty in the process.
“Our recent activities – presentations, seminars and advice clinics – have reflected that change in direction. So it just makes sense that this year’s plant sale will focus on a wide range of native and pollinator plants, along with some harder-to-find perennials and shrubs. We’ve dipped into our own gardens, babied others from seed, to offer new and seasoned gardeners a diverse mix of literally hundreds of healthy plants at reasonable prices.”
Some of the native plants gardeners can expect to find at the sale include pearly everlasting, echinacea, wild blue indigo, sensitive fern, and native grasses.
Growing native and pollinator plants, like any change in gardening techniques, requires a commitment. Native plants tend to start off small, but Carole is confident that small native plants do better than larger plants and are quick to establish. Moreover, the fall is an ideal time to be planting. “Fall is a great time to plant,” she said. “We still have time – September, October, and into November. The ground doesn’t freeze till into December and the plants won’t have the summer heat to contend with when getting their feet.”
Grey County Master Gardeners comprise trained volunteers who are able to share a wealth of science-based horticultural information with the gardening public, many of whom are certified Master Gardeners who have completed university level horticultural courses.
“Also new this year,” Carole said, “is an advice clinic where you can ask a master gardener questions about all-things-plants; a Kid’s Corner with lots of fun activities for future gardeners; and helpful how-to demonstrations throughout the morning.”
“Proceeds from our annual plant sale support community projects and educational outreach. We have been supporting Neighbourwoods North in Owen Sound with their project at the Grey Bruce Regional Health Care Centre. The Neighbourwoods group is gradually naturalizing the hospital grounds. We contributed both financially towards this great project and by providing assistance with planning, plant choices, and maintenance.
“In the past few years, we have produced a free winter zoom series called ‘The Eco-Responsible Gardener’ with two, sometimes three, seminars presented by well-known garden experts.
“We also use the money to replace/add to the equipment we need to give presentations and advice clinics.”