Mindful of the return of spring, the North Carolina Extension Service is offering local gardeners a chance to exercise their green thumbs its annual 4-H Plant Sale which is under way.
“It’s a fundraiser that is important source of revenue to our yearly 4-H programs,” said 4-H Youth Development Agent Whitney Sprinkle.
She said items which are new to the sale this year include pear, apple and peach trees, muscadine grapes and container gardens. Other plants offered include strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, Asian pear trees, peach trees, apple trees, various ornamentals and herbs.
“It’s (container gardens) something different for us. You can purchase everything all put together and just maintain the garden,” Sprinkle said. “We looked at providing some different items to reach different people and frankly, plants are something we are good at doing. Other areas have had great success on sales of trees.”
All orders must be received by Feb. 27, by 3:30 p.m. Sprinkle indicated no orders will be taken after that date and time.
Sprinkle said planting information will be available on the day plants are picked up. Plants purchased from North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Surry Center, are sold “as is” and money is non-refundable. Sprinkle said plants must be picked up on March 13 from 8:15 a.m. until 5 p.m. The pick up location for purchases is at the extension center at 210 North Main Street in Dobson.
The plants will be distributed in the downstairs auditorium and signs will be posted throughout the building to guide participants. Persons may call 336-401-8025 for more information or on the Internet at surry.ces.ncsu.edu.
Information provided by Sprinkle indicated container gardens are another way to add a splash of color to a front entry, deck, or patio or to fill in some blank spaces in flower beds and borders. The containers come in three sizes and two shapes and will contain a variety of plants depending on the size chosen.
She explained each container garden typically include “Thriller” plants are used either in the back or middle of a container. They are usually a taller plant that adds height and drama to the container. “Filler” plants which perform well over a long period of time and complement each other, while highlighting the focal points in the garden, are also used. Next are the “spiller” plants which spill or cascade over the sides of the pot. Spillers can be flowering or foliage plants and can be used to add a pop of color or a texture that can be a counterpoint to both the filler and thriller plants.
Other container gardens offered include fragrant herb gardens which will consist of herbs that are highly noted for their fragrance and used for cut flowers, aromatherapy, or for making potpourri and scented candles. Examples of these plants include lavender, lemon balm and scented geraniums.
The third offering is a spaghetti herb garden which consists of herb plants used in Italian dishes. The planter can be kept on a window sill or back deck for easy access when cooking and the herbs featured are basil, oregano and thyme.
A medicinal herb garden, which was common in monasteries and churches during the Middle Ages, is reportedly making a comeback and may used to treat minor ailments. Sprinkle cautioned these herbs are never to be used in place of urgent medical care and include mint, sage and lavender.
Caroline, Cumberland black and Latham raspberries will be offered as well as Navajo and triple crown blackberries. Muscadine vines for purchase include Fry which is an early to mid season variety, Carlos which is vigorous and cold hardy producer and Southland which is a mid to late season grape.
Apple trees which are available are two-year plants which range from 3-5 feet in height. Variety offered are Arkansas Black, Fuju, Gala and Golden Delicious. Shinko Asian pear trees are also available. Peach trees offered are Bell of Georgia and Red Haven.
Sprinkle said master gardeners help organize the yearly sale and 4-H members are asked to volunteer to help set the sale, especially on the night before pick up day.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-719-1952.