Sunday, May 6, 2012

Herb and Scented Plant Sale 2012

The Oak Park Conservatory (courtesy of their website)
Yesterday was the Herb and Scented Plant Sale held at the Oak Park Conservatory.  It is the major fundraiser for the Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory.  Friends and I have been going to this event for about 20 of the event's 23 years.  We have only missed a couple.  This year I brought along two new friends,  Emily and Kassie.  Emily started herbs in her garden last year or the year before and I have been sharing some of my knowledge with her.  I love the fact that she grows much of her garden from seed which I have not been doing recently so it is great to swap stories about how certain things work from seed.

I have to say the event was as organized as it always is. The smooth flow of people, the plants organized alphabetically by botanical name, the pricing clear and volunteers galore to help you shop and give advice. 

Kassie & Emily with a Purple Sage plant.
The person they had answering questions about shade plants was especially out going and personable.  We had a wonderful time sniffing plants, choosing and imagining different places to plant them.

There was even help to get your car loaded provided by a local Boy Scout Troop.  This is Collin, the young man who watched over my plants and help me load them into the car.

My disappointment really came with the herbs, or should I say lack of herbs.  They had all the stand bys, dill, cilantro, thyme, basil, oregano, etc. but unless you count Lemon verbena, there were no exotic herbs to speak of.  I came home with a record of ONLY two trays of plants. 

I purchased a replacement lemon grass and bought another Lemon verbena, because you can never have too many. I did get another Mojito Mint (I did not being in  he one from last summer that was on the patio) and picked up a French thyme to replace the common thyme that died in the winter.  Then I got my old stand by of Basil Genovese and calendula and a Prince Rupert lemon rose scented geranium, but then I spent my money on a tomato plant, some peppers and a cucumber because there were no more herbs of interest.

I was unable to get even the most basic one step above ordinary herbs which I looked forward to purchasing at this event because of the quality and hardiness in past years.  There was no lemon or purple basil, no scented thyme of any kind, only three basic varieties.  They offered Bergarten and Purple sage, but none of the golden varieties.  They did not even have Rosemary ARP which is the best one for Illinois gardens, nor did they have the prostrate rosemary I was hoping to get to try to make another rosemary Christmas tree with like I did a few years ago.  They only had three types of scented geraniums and those I could get just about anywhere.  I think the flowering plants were definitely popular, but maybe it is time for me to look for another show to find the tender perennial herbs I need to replace those that sometimes do not make it through my Illinois winter, like scented thyme and tri-color sage, because this show offered only what I could get at the Lowes or Walmart.  Now I know that I am supporting a good cause and that is important to me, but so was getting plants I could not find any where else and for me that was missing this year.

As we were leaving my friends asked why I did not buy more flowers.  I realized that for them the show was perfect and successful, but for me as someone who has been coming to this show for over 20 years, the sale was a disappointment.  It was good to know that others would not think so because I believe in the preservation causes of the Conservatory and its Friends group, but I realize that perhaps staff changes that occurred in 2010 and 2011 have relegated the Herb and Scented Plant show to a less important place which resulted in a less than interesting selection of herbs.

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...