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Sale plants local roots

Jennifer Thomas listens to her daughter, 7-year-old Lia Cook, ask for one of the plants sold at Openwood Garden Club’s Plant Sale Saturday.(Jon Giffin The Vicksburg Post)

[4/25/04]For several weeks, members of Openwood Plantation Garden Club dug and repotted plants from their yards in preparation for their annual plant sale.

The sale was held from 8 a.m. until noon Saturday in the yard of charter club member Jan Whatley at 209 Pecan Blvd.

Plant sale chairman Jane McNally said when she arrived to set up the yard with plants at 6:45 a.m., people were already waiting to purchase plants and trees. The club had already made $50 by 8 a.m., McNally said.

The garden club, which was started in 1968, began organizing the plant sale a year after its birth. The money made from plant sales has been used to fund various charities and neighborhood projects. Members would buy plants and trees at wholesale prices, but they decided three years ago that they would begin selling only home-grown plants of which club members are knowledgeable.

Ron Anderson came to the Openwood Plantation Garden Club plant sale last year. He said he decided to make a habit of coming every year because of the variety of plants they sell and the knowledge the women can offer about the plants.

“They’ve done a wonderful thing,” he said. “The sale is good for the entire community.”

The sale had more than 60 types of plants and trees that members divided or rooted from their yards, Hurley said. Most plants have care instructions that members place on the plant after they have identified whether the plant takes sun or shade, Hurley said. On top of yard plants and trees, many club members have greenhouses where they grow tomato and pepper plants from seeds. McNally said trees have been the most popular over the years.

“Different things go well different years,” club member Betty Thornley said, “Everybody is different and their love of flowers is different.”

Sandra Bilbo came to the sale for the first time this year after hearing about it from a friend. Bilbo said she is always interested in something different and she thought she could find some unique flowers at the sale. She went away with a magnolia tree and a bald cypress, which she said she hopes to use to camouflage her storage room.

“The advantage of something like this is you get to see a variety of things and go home with something you really like,” she said.

The sale offers a raffle every year for a different prize. This year’s raffle was for a garden cart. Members also brought used garden equipment to sell.

The neighborhood garden club consists of about 30 members who meet once a month for a program on a garden related topic, Hurley said. The plant sale is their biggest money-making project throughout the year. In recent years, the club has used the money from the sale to landscape the boulevard in the neighborhood.

The boulevard was filled with Bradford pear trees that the club removed about a year ago, Hurley said. They are currently re-landscaping it.

“We have already put in crepe myrtle and we are ready to do Phase II, which is additional decorative grasses and flowering shrubs,” Hurley said.

Mcnally said any leftover plants from the sale will be planted and used in next year’s plant sale. On Wednesday, the women took leftover plants from last year and cleaned them up for the sale.

“The plants doubled in price because they doubled in size,” she said.