Ask Elaine: Plant Sale

Dear Elaine,

I am looking forward to May at Laurelwood Arboretum – rhododendron, azaleas and lilacs are in bloom and shopping at the annual Plant Sale. Do you have any information on what plants might be available at the Plant Sale this year?


Dear Beverly,

Yes, May is one of our best months at Laurelwood, especially since it was a former rhododendron and azalea breeding and production nursery. Our annual Plant Sale is our most public and popular fundraiser. The Plant Sale Committee, co-chaired by Linda Wescott and Jeanne Pisatowski, has been hard at work planning this sale since last year! Plants that have outgrown or spread out from their allotted space have been potted. Many are representative of Laurelwood — Digitalis (foxglove), Hellebore (Lenten rose), mayapple, Clerodendrum, and Eranthis (winter aconite).

Over the winter, we grew plants from seeds and cuttings in the Education Greenhouse. It was very crowded in there this year since our propagation greenhouse was taken away. Our winter greenhouse crew worked Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the winter. Thanks to Kathie Hetherington, Jean Reynolds, Georgette Moesch, Carol Palmer-Yomtov, Joan Scott-Miller, Carol Huber, Jeanne Pisatowski, Linda Wescott, Jane Van Eeuwen, Bill Mains, Nancy Alexander, Linda Ransom, David Kooistra, and Joe Di Giacomo.

This year, we tried something new. We propagated some of our own rhododendrons and those of Alex and Nancy Fadynich, who were friends of John and Dorothy Knippenberg and have some classic and older varieties of rhododendrons from Laurelwood on their property. We also purchased some long-lost rhododendron varieties. Joe Di Giacomo, Rhododendron Study Team chair, found invoices that connected “Laurelwood Gardens” to R.F. DeMarco Nursery in Hammonton, NJ, where the Knippenbergs purchased rhododendron and azalea plugs and cutting to grow on at Laurelwood. Joe and Linda Wescott made the four hour round-trip to DeMarco’s and loaded their car with nearly two dozen plants. We are pleased to announce that we will have a limited supply of rhododendrons, azaleas and andromeda (Pieris), including ‘Mother’s Day’ evergreen azalea, ‘Roseum Elegans’ rhododendron , ‘Red Mill’ and ‘Dorothy Wycoff’ andromeda,’Blaauw’s Pink’ evergreen azalea, ‘Delaware Valley White’ evergreen azalea, ‘Hino-Crimson’ evergreen azalea, ‘Nova Zembla’ rhododendron, and Catawbiense Grandiflorum’ rhododendron.

Greenhouse volunteers have also prepared several special arrangements that will make ideal Mother’s Day gifts. In addition, the Plant Sale Committee has arranged to have many colorful annuals, herbs, hanging baskets and perennials, including host and nectar plants to attract butterflies and other pollinators to your garden.

You will not want to miss this plant sale – the Saturday before Mother’s Day (how timely!), May 11. There is something for everyone at reasonable prices for the benefit of Laurelwood Arboretum. Thanks for considering us for your botanical needs. Happy Mother’s Day!

Elaine Fogerty, Executive Director

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