What’s New This Year?

To make room for more plants this year, we’ve rearranged the Grandstand completely. Overall, we’ve added 560 new ­varieties this year—25% more than last year.

The floor plan is different

We’ll have detailed maps available, but in the meantime, check out the map from the catalog.

  • The big sections—Perennials, Annuals, and Vegetables—have all switched around.
  • Hanging baskets are now in three separate spots: near the entrance, behind the new Vegetables location, and outside by the Fruit. Look for the new cold-tolerant nasturtium baskets outside with the hanging strawberry baskets.
  • The Bulbs and Bareroot shelves (part of the Perennials section) are now OUTSIDE near the hanging ­basket rack, under the concrete ramp.
  • The Climbers section is also ­outside, to the right of the center door.
  • Roses are now part of the Shrubs and Trees section (next to the ­rhododendrons). You’ll see more roses than last year because we were able to get varieties that were not treated with neonic pesticides. Thanks to public pressure, more and more large growers have stopped using neonics.

New Miniature Plant section

If you’re interested in miniature plants or fairy gardens, you can now find most of the tiny specimens in our new Miniature Plants section. Note: Though it’s part of the Annuals section, many of the plants are perennials. We’ve noted hardiness on each of them.

New plants

You’ll notice lots of new hosta, lilies, iris, mums, daylilies, peonies, coleus, magnolias, and ­clematis. Plus four new kinds of kale, 12 new tomatoes, half a dozen potatoes  and hot peppers, four new kinds of hops, heirloom apples, and the white pineberry strawberry.

Changes in our seed partners

We’ll have a wide range of heirloom and conventional seeds from Baker Creek and North Star Seed (see the full list, page 5). Solera Seeds, a local seed company, will also be selling organically grown seed; for their list, see Seed Savers Exchange will not return to the sale this year.

Compost and recycling

While you’re at the sale, please use our new combined recycling, compost, and land fill stations. Recycling includes all metal, ­plastic, glass, and clean paper. Organics means any food or soiled paper. Please think twice before ­putting things into the usual State Fair trash boxes!

March 16, 2015 | Posted in | Add a comment

Volunteers Make It Happen

There are still lots of jobs that need doing.  Join us!

Volunteers are the heart and soul of the Friends School Plant Sale. To say the sale has grown beyond anyone’s wildest dreams is an understatement. And it would not have been possible without volunteers.

Some 1,100 volunteers spend countless hours before, during, and after the sale building tables, unloading plants, putting plants into shoppers’ cars, and much more. In exchange they get a ticket that lets them shop early. Thursday is their big day, before the sale opens to the public on Friday. The volunteers keep doing their jobs, indispensable all the way through to Monday cleanup.

A core group starts it

The organizing committee oversees everything. They work on the sale all year, sourcing plants and assembling the monster catalog. They manage their fellow volunteers, making sure each time slot is filled and the people who sign up also show up.

Nancy Scherer is on the organizing committee. “Many jobs have a coordinator, such as the tidyers, the greeters, the watering cart people, the truck-unloading people, the section advisors, curbside pickup—so those volunteers get oriented by their coordinators,” Nancy says.

There is no overall volunteer coordinator. (They wish they had one.) Would-be helpers can sign up online for ­particular tasks and hours. 

This year the two 7th and 8th graders on the organizing committee will advise the special squad of students who look for customers with plant questions. They carry notebooks and wear day-glow green­ vests that say “ASK ME.” All the students prepare for the sale as it approaches by brushing up on their botanical Latin. This makes them more efficient at moving plants from truck to table and helping customers find what they’re looking for. Other students greet customers coming in the door or load plants into cars.

Lots of volunteers make it happen

Cammie McConnell has worked as a volunteer ever since the sale moved from “some parent’s front yard,” as she puts it, to the Minnesota State Fair grandstand. Even in that dimly remembered yard (“…or was it the school’s yard?”) there were always lines of people waiting to buy “great plants you don’t see anywhere else, at reasonable prices.”

A family practice physician in real life, Cammie works on the sale before it opens: Tuesday, one of the setup days. It wasn’t long before she’d convinced her husband, Tim Hanson, a master carpenter, to join in the fun. “I like to work with Tim, and his skill set is building things.”

Their daughter shares her skills, too. “Mariel is working toward a degree in horticulture at Century College.” The family works together, plays together and, on volunteer day, Cammie and Mariel shop together, filling both of the carts Tim built, just for this purpose, with plants.

Tim puts together the sale’s display tables, which have been designed to be easily assembled, taken apart, and stored. That includes the strings that run along the center of the tables. One of Cammie’s tasks is to attach the plant signs to the strings, making sure that the right plants show up under the right labels. “Mariel really helps me out with this.”

Mother and daughter enjoy sharing and expanding their knowledge of plants. Tim isn’t really a plant guy. He likes turning people on to power tools.

“Many of them are intimidated at first.” Just about anyone can handle a two-by-four, he insists. “It’s like anything else. Not too much pressure, not too little.”

They do it for the plants, mostly

Of course the ultimate reward (unless you’re Tim Hanson) is having first crack at the plants. Volunteers get to shop the evening before the sale opens to the public. They work at least one four-hour shift for that privilege.

Cammie is the first to admit that’s what lured her to the sale many year ago. She and Tim live on four acres on the St. Croix River. “About an acre of it is gardens,” she says. “I grow tons of vegetables.” She grows flowers too, and has a fine collection of hardy cacti, an interest sparked by the sale.

“I used to grow all my own seedlings,” she says, “but since the sale I’ve kind of stopped that. There are so many different heirloom tomatoes to choose from here. There’s so much everything and especially plants you don’t see at the local greenhouse or even in the catalogs. I don’t know how they find them.”

I know how they find them. The organizing committee assembles and fine-tunes the yearly inventory. They look for interesting plants online. They follow tips from growers and customers. They listen to volunteers. They track down obscure breeders in out-of-the-way places and scour the new plant lists of over 20 local growers.

Once a plant is ordered and listed in the ­catalog—which, by the way, someone has to write, design, and send to the printer—the ­vigilance doesn’t stop. If there’s a crop failure, someone has to find another supplier or a ­different species to fill the hole.

Many of the more popular varieties are restocked on Saturday morning. Someone has to do that, too—a crew of volunteers who work on what’s called the “all hands on deck” shift starting at 7:00 a.m.

Unless they have other reasons

Friends School alum James Farnsworth, who is now a high school junior, knows the routine by heart. James isn’t a plant geek or a carpenter. He’s into computers and social media. That means he’s a whiz at things like Twitter, walkie-talkies, and line management. Preventing lines is an organizing committee obsession. That’s where James shines.

Weather is another obsession. You don’t want to keep people out in the cold, or the sweltering heat, or a thunderstorm if you can avoid it. All of which has happened. No injuries or hard feelings have ensued, thanks to people like James.

At the end of the day, after all, this isn’t the Super Bowl. It’s just a fundraiser for a Quaker school and its scholarship fund. Maybe that’s why I like it so much. What hard-core gardener wouldn’t enjoy spending the first week of May with peace-­loving people bingeing on plants?

So on behalf of the organizers, this is my shout-out to Cammie and Tim and James and the thousand other volunteers without whom there wouldn’t be a Friends School Plant Sale. That includes the box collectors and the bulb baggers, the stick labelers and the seed sellers, the large sign hangers, the greeter people, and the miraculously cheerful mathematicians who tally up the totals at the checkout tables. They use adding machines to total the plant lists that customers hand over; the machine spits out a total. Some people, volunteers mostly, worry that the sale will be shortchanged because a few plants went unaccounted for.

“I always tack on another 20 percent when I write my check,” says Tim. “It’s just another way of saying thanks.

Wait, Tim, who’s thanking whom again?

People like Tim are why I spend my free time helping a school that I ­didn’t know existed until I attended my first sale 10 years ago. When I first volunteered, I was astonished when a guy in a plaid shirt —who knows, maybe it was Tim—jumped out of the mile-high cab of the rig I was supposed to drive to Hastings by way of Elk River in rush hour, and handed me the keys.

“Ever run a lift gate?” he asked.

I had never heard of a lift gate. What if he figured out I’d never driven a truck this gigantic before, either? Best to keep quiet and get the behemoth out of the driveway in one piece (yes, I had to back it out, with only my dog to keep an eye on the twin-mattress-sized rear-view mirror on the passenger side).

If that isn’t trust, I figured, trust doesn’t exist.

It all happens for a good cause

You already know that Friends School Plant Sale is the finest one in the world. The organizers and I just want to remind you that it’s run by volunteers and volunteers only, some of whom will begin working on the 2016 sale the day after this year’s sale ends.

James puts in 60 hours a year on the sale, many of those hours just before opening day. When the door opens and the crowds of people who’ve been waiting rush in…well, imagine Churchill Downs on Derby Day when the gun goes off and the horses burst through the starting gate. It’s kind of like that.

“Through volunteering at the sale, I’ve learned that I love to work at big events, ­especially in a coordinating role,” he told me.

But there’s more to it than that. “Even though my family never was in need of scholarship funds so I could attend FSM, I chose to get involved with the plant sale because I knew that those funds were directly benefitting some of my best friends.”

That’s the spirit, James. And to all of you shoppers, thanks for coming. We hope you enjoy the sale as much as we do!

—Bonnie Blodgett

Bonnie Blodgett writes The Blundering Gardener ­column for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. She is the author of several books on gardening.

March 18, 2015 | Posted in | Add a comment

Gardening in Miniature

Miniature gardens (or fairy gardens, if you are a believer) are delightful and entertaining for all ages. If you have a yen to have a garden and are hampered by space or time, or simply like little things, consider a miniature garden.

These gardens can be contained in just about anything that tickles your fancy. Maybe it’s a favorite antique dish you can set on a table, a clay pot, or a birdbath. It might be a special place in an outdoor garden.

Tiny accessories of all sorts are available everywhere, but it’s the teeny plants that will enthrall you. They’ll inspire you to create something that’s uniquely yours. Perhaps you must have that cute little Miniature Mat Daisy with multitudes of white flowers, or that Tiny Rubies Pink with brilliant tiny double pink flowers.

You may want “trees” in your garden. They could be very small conifers or you might shape a coleus, rosemary plant, or miniature jade plant into a suitable form. Succulents like Stonecrop or Hen and Chicks make great accents and many ground covers fill in your landscape. There are no limitations. Just have fun and enjoy!

—Judy McManus

If you're interested in seeing a sampling of the plants that will be in the Miniature Garden Collections (new this year), check out the list here.

Oh, and don't  miss the free workshop on miniature gardening, Saturday at 10:00 a.m.

March 17, 2015 | Posted in | Add a comment

About Friends School of Minnesota

Friends School of Minnesota (FSM) is an independent K–8 Quaker school in the heart of St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood. In the tradition of more than 80 Friends Schools across the United States, FSM meets children’s intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs in an environment that nurtures their social consciousness. Now in its 27th year, FSM is a vibrant school, known for its progressive curriculum, commitment to community, acclaimed conflict resolution program, and joyful approach to educating children.

FSM is dedicated to its mission: to prepare children to embrace life, learning, and community with hope, skill, understanding, and creativity. We are committed to the Quaker values of peace, justice, simplicity and integrity.

FSM’s 168 students learn from a rich, hands-on curriculum in multi-age classrooms of 16 to 21. We believe children learn best as active participants, collaborators, and problem-solvers within a community. We think learning should be in-depth, thematic, and interdisciplinary, while teaching the appreciation of multiple perspectives and fostering social skills. Our focus on place-based education engages students within the local community and prepares them to be compassionate global citizens. We emphasize environmental education and service learning starting in kindergarten. We have specialists in music, visual arts, physical education, and Spanish.

Our community actively works to increase diversity, remove barriers, and be welcoming and accessible. In our admissions process, we seek a wide range of academic abilities and diverse learning styles. We seek diversity, including racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, family structure, and belief system. FSM families have a broad range of religious and non-religious backgrounds, including 10 percent Quaker. Twelve percent of our students come from LGBT families and 35 percent of students are children of color, mostly from multiracial families. We provide need-based tuition aid for 37 percent of our students—up to 90 percent of tuition per student—to increase access to FSM. Our conflict resolution program is integrated into the daily culture of the school, actively teaching and modeling nonviolent, respectful techniques to solve the natural conflicts found in every diverse community.

Our great location across the street from a mini-arboretum city park and our inviting indoor spaces serve our students well, but we continue to improve our facilities. This past summer, we added a fully equipped art room, dedicated Spanish room, small group spaces and middle school student lounge to our existing facilities, which include nine classrooms, a full-size gymnasium, music room, library, and multi-purpose room. Our school grounds incorporate outdoor classroom spaces and a natural play yard as well as a traditional playground and open field.

Lots of folks first hear about Friends School of Minnesota because of our plant sale fundraiser. Many prospective families come take a look at the school that’s behind the big event. Some say meeting our helpful middle school student volunteers made them curious about our school program. If you would like to learn more about the school, please contact us at, call 651-917-0636, or see our website at We’d love to show you around!


March 17, 2015 | Posted in | Add a comment

Goodbye to Bear

With sadness and gratitude, Friends School Plant Sale says goodbye to Ron “Bear” Cronick, a familiar face to many volunteers. Bear died December 1, 2014 following a long illness.

For the past 10 years he greeted us with his smile and welcoming words as we arrived for our volunteer shifts. He also kindly ­redirected shoppers who’d come to the wrong door. For almost 10 years before that, he helped out while the sale was at the Friends School building.

We thank him for his many years of ­dedicated service. We’ll miss his presence at our sales.

--The Plant Sale Committee

March 17, 2015 | Posted in | Add a comment

Some Vegetables Are Better from Seed

Instead of selling cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash as plants, we invite seed-growing partners to sell them as seeds instead.

We do this for several reasons:

  • Early May is just too early for these tender and very fragile plants to be outside
  • Plants like melons, cucumbers, and squash are actually vines, which get tangled together and are easily damaged before they can be sold.
  • It’s cheaper for you and just as reliable to plant them as seeds directly into the ground. The seeds come with instructions. It’s easy!
  • You’ll have access to a lot more varieties, including plants we’ve never sold at all, like beans, peas, ­carrots, and corn, which don’t transplant well.
  • You can share and swap extra seeds with your friends.
  • You might want to keep some seeds to plant a late ­summer crop (especially great for lettuce, carrots, beans, and peas).

We do sell some cold-sensitive plants, especially tomatoes and peppers, since they need more of a head start in our short growing season. But keep them indoors or in a cold frame for a few weeks after the sale.

March 17, 2015 | Posted in | Add a comment

Meet Our New Head of School

Friends School of Minnesota ­welcomes Dr. Latrisha Chattin, our next Head of School! Latrisha joins Friends School in July for our 28th year. Her ­commitment to Quaker values and progressive education are a great fit.

She takes over from Lili Herbert, whose exceptional leadership guided and improved Friends School during her nine years as Head of School. Lili leaves the school in excellent health and with the brightest of futures as she moves on to pursue a research and writing project and earn a Masters of Divinity at Earlham School of Religion.

March 17, 2015 | Posted in | Add a comment

Organic Vegetables at the Sale

All of the plants in the Herb and Vegetable sections of the sale are grown without chemical pesticides or herbicides, and from greenhouses operated with sustainable practices.

We also carry a more limited line of edibles that are certified organic, and at ­customer request have summarized them here.

"New" indicates the variety is new at the sale as certified ­organic. We may have carried a noncertified ­variety at the sale in the past (or even this year).


H004 Sweet Genovese
H030 Amethyst Improved
H031 Eleonora NEW
H032 Mrs. Burns Lemon
H033 Thai, Sweet NEW

Other herbs

H086 Lavender, Ellagance Purple
H110 Mint, Peppermint NEW
H118 Oregano , Greek


V066 Dinosaur NEW
V067 Winterbor


V088a Mixed (one each of Green Forest romaine, Tropicana green leaf, New Red Fire red leaf, Red Cross red butter.)
V088b Nancy NEW
V089 New Red Fire


V143 Aurora (hot)
V144 Bulgarian Carrot (hot)
V137 Jalapeño  (hot)
V163 Sweet Banana (sweet)


V175 Purple Viking  NEW
V176 Rose Finn Apple Fingerling NEW
V177 Adirondack Red NEW
V178 Carola NEW
V179 Dark Red Norland NEW
V180 Kennebec NEW
V181 Magic Molly NEW

Heirloom tomatoes

V255 Black Cherry NEW
V256 Brandywine
V257 Cherry Roma
V258 Dester’s Amish
V259 Moskvich
V260 Purple Bumblebee Cherry NEW
V261 Brandywine, 4 pack
V262 Christmas Grape
V263 Czech Bush
V264 Mixed Heirloom Tomatoes (Brandywine, Striped German, Aunt Ruby’s German Green, and Cherokee Purple)
V265 Seed Saver’s Italian

Other tomatoes

V281a Sungella  NEW
V281b Sweet 100

Other vegetables

V012 Broccoli, Premium Crop
V026 Cabbage, Green—Stonehead
V057 Eggplant, Little Fingers

March 16, 2015 | Posted in | Add a comment

Miniature Garden Collections, New in 2015

These plants are sold individually, $5.00 per pot.

For your terrarium, fairy garden, table-top dish garden, miniature plant collection, or ground cover for bonsai: plants that are small in scale, naturally short or can be kept short, or that resemble small trees or shrubs. Some are winter-hardy and some are not; each plant has information on its tag.

The exact plants chosen for these new special collections will change from year to year, but these lists are a good representation of the plants you can expect to find.

Meadow Collection A031

$5.00—each 4” pot

Baby Tears, English, Pilea depressa. Delicate leaved, creeping. 3–4”h part sun, not hardy
Blue Daisy, Felicia amelloides San Gabriel. Showy blue flower. Mounding. 8”h full sun, not hardy
Blue Daisy, Variegated, Felicia ­amelloides Variegata. Blue flower. Variegated foliage. Mounding. 8”h full sun, not hardy
Blue Star Creeper, Isotoma fluviatilis. Light blue flowers in spring. Creeping. 1–3”h full sun, not hardy
Brass Buttons, Leptinella squalida Platt’s Black. Bronzy-black feathery foliage. Creeping. 1–3”h full sun,  hardy
Cape Mallow, Anisodontea. Pink blooms early summer. Upright. 18”h full sun, not hardy
Cinquefoil, Dwarf, Potentilla ­neumanniana Nana. Yellow flowers in spring. Mat-forming. 1–3”h full sun, not hardy
Daisy, Miniature Mat, Bellium minutum. Long blooming white flowers. Creeping. 2”h full sun, not hardy
Fig, Creeping, Ficus pumila. Delicate foliage. Vining. 1–2”h sun, part sun, or shade; not hardy
Gold Dust, Mecardonia Magic Carpet Yellow. Bright yellow flowers all season. Creeping. 1–2”h full sun, not hardy
Hebe, Boxwood, Hebe buxifolia. White flowers in spring. Looks like boxwood. 30”h full sun, not hardy
Hebe, Fernleaf, Hebe. Pink flowers fade to white in summer. 12–24”h full sun, not hardy
Hebe, Quicksilver, Hebe pimeloides Quicksilver. Lilac flowers in summer. Blue-gray leaves. 18”h full sun, not hardy
Heron’s Bill, Erodium x variabile Bishop’s Form. Long-blooming starry pink flowers. Creeping. 2–4”h full sun, hardy
Mexican Heather, Cuphea Mellow Yellow. Long blooming. Glossy green foliage. Trailing. 5–6”h full sun, not hardy
Petunia, Miniature, Petunia Microtunia. Long blooming flowers. Minute dense foliage. 6”h full sun, not hardy
Phlox, Creeping, Phlox subulata. Assorted varieties. 4–6”h full sun, hardy
Pinks, Dianthus gratianopolitanus Tiny Rubies. Double pink flowers in spring. Clumping. 4”h sun, hardy
Sandwort, Arenaria montana. White flowers in spring. Creeping. 4–8”h sun, hardy
Spirea, Magic Carpet, Spiraea japonica. Deep pink flowers in spring. Compact mounding. 18–24”h sun, hardy
Spirea, Ogon, Spiraea thunbergii Ogon. Early white bloom. Upright lemon yellow foliage. 36–60”h  sun, not hardy
Thyme, Creeping, Thymus serpyllum Elfin. Purple flowers. Compact groundcover. 1–3” sun, hardy
Thyme, Creeping Red, Thymus ­coccineus Major. Crimson flowers early. Aromatic foliage. 1–3”h sun, hardy
Thyme, Woolly, Thymus pseudolanuginosus. Fuzzy grey green spreading foliage. 1–3”h sun, hardy
Wire Vine, Creeping, Muehlenbeckia Little Leaf. Tiny glossy leaves on wiry stems. 3–6”h sun, part sun, or shade; not hardy
Wire Vine, Creeping, Muehlenbeckia complexa. Bigger leaves than Little Leaf wire vine. 3–6”h sun, part sun; not hardy
Wire Vine, Variegated, Muehlenbeckia complexa Variegated. Mottled tricolor leaves. Vining. 3–6”h sun, not hardy

Rock Collection A032

Well-drained soil; minimal watering. NEW - SATURDAY RESTOCKING
$5.00—each 4” pot

Aeonium, Aeonium Irish Bouquet. Spoon-shaped foliage succulent. 6”h sun, not hardy
Calico Kitten, Crassula marginata rubra ­variegata. Trailing succulent. Tricolor oval leaves. 2”h sun, not hardy
Candytuft, Iberis sempervirens Little Gem. Spectacular white flowers. Compact. 5–8”h sun, hardy
Echeveria assorted. Rosette succulents. Assorted colors, shapes and textures. 6”h sun, not hardy
Hen and Chicks, Sempervivum. Rosette succulent. Assorted varieties. Clumping. 6”h sun,  hardy
Ice Plant, Delosperma congestum Jewel of Desert Peridot. Spreading succulent. Vivid yellow flowers. 2”h sun, hardy
Lithodora, Lithodora diffusa White Star. White blossom outlined in blue. Mounded. 6–9”h sun, not hardy
Portulacaria, Portulacaria Red Stem. Miniature jade plant with red stems. Upright. 8–12” sun, not hardy
Spanish Thrift, Armeria juniperifolia. Soft pink button flowers. Low tufted foliage. 2–4”h sun,  hardy
Speedwell, Veronica Tidal Pool. Dark blue flowers. Silver green foliage. Spreading. 2–3”h sun, hardy
Stonecrop, Sedum Cape Blanco. Silvery-blue foliage. Clusters of yellow flowers. Groundcover. 2–4”h sun, not hardy
Stonecrop, Sedum Fine Gold Leaf. Stunning lime green foliage. Groundcover. a.k.a. Tokyo Sun. 1–2”h sun, not hardy
Stonecrop, Sedum album Coral Carpet. Coral, green, and bronze seasonal foliage. Groundcover. 2”h sun, hardy
Stonecrop, Sedum hispanicum minus. Blue-gray foliage groundcover. Pink flowers. 2”h sun, not hardy
Stonecrop, Sedum humifusum. Creeping stems of rosettes. Yellow flowers. 1” sun, hardy
Stonecrop, Sedum requienii. Indestructible groundcover. Yellow-white flowers. 1”h sun, hardy
Stonecrop, Sedum rupestre. Small gray-green leaves. Yellow flowers. Creeping. 2”h sun, hardy

Stream Collection A033

Moist soil; also good for terrariums. NEW - SATURDAY RESTOCKING
$5.00—each 4” pot

Baby Tears, Soleirolia soleirolii. Tiny, tiny round leaves. Creeping. 1”h part shade or shade; not hardy
Begonia, Fuchsia, Begonia fuchsioides. Pink, red flowers all summer. Bushy. 15–24”h part shade; not hardy
Bellflower, Goldleaf, Campanula garganica Dickson’s Gold. Bright blue flowers. Mounding. 4”h part shade or shade; not hardy
Blue Star Creeper, Pratia pedunculata County Park. Vivid blue flowers all summer. Creeping. 1–2”h sun, not hardy
Bugleweed, Ajuga Chocolate Chip. Vivid blue flower spikes. Creeping. 3–6”h part shade; hardy
Fuchsia, Golden, Fuchsia genii. Yellow foliage, red and purple blooms. Upright. 18”h part shade; not hardy
Fuchsia, Thyme-Leaved, Fuchsia thymifolia. Nodding pink-purple flowers. Upright. 18–24”h part shade; not hardy
Coleus, Solenostemon Aurora. part shade; not hardy
Mint, Corsican, Mentha requienii. Tiny leaves and mauve flowers. Creeping. 1”h sun, hardy
Moss, Irish, Sagina subulata. White flowers on emerald green. Creeping. 1”h part shade or shade; not hardy
Moss, Scotch, Sagina subulata. White flowers on golden foliage tufts. Creeping. 1”h part shade or shade; not hardy
Saxifrage, Pink, Mossy, Saxifraga Peter Pan. Pink flower rosettes. Mounding. 4–6”h part shade; not hardy
Sweet Flag, Dwarf Golden, Acorus minimus Aureus. Yellow, grass-like clump. 4”h sun, hardy
Sweet Woodruff, Galium odoratum. Fragrant white-flowered groundcover. 6”h part shade or shade; not hardy
Potato Vine, Variegated, Solanum jasminoides variegata. Fragrant 1” white flowers. Vining, with yellow-splashed foliage. 18–24”h sun, not hardy

Miniature Shrubs A034

The trees of the miniature garden. NEW
$9.00—each 4” deep pot

Arborvitae, Thuja DeGroot’s Spire. Narrow and upright with twisted foliage. 6’h sun, hardy
Arborvitae, Thuja Golden Tuffet. Orange leaves with unusual braided texture. 1’h sun, hardy
Arborvitae, Thuja Linesville. Evergreen ball with feathered foliage. 2–3’h sun, hardy
Barberry, Berberis Bagatelle. Brick red foliage is brighter red in fall. 18”h sun, hardy
Barberry, Golden Dwarf, Berberis aurea nana. Gold foliage matures to chartreuse. Red berries. 2’h sun, hardy
Boxwood, English, Buxus Blauer Heinz. Blue-green foliage with a white haze. Upright, dense. 1–2’h  sun or part shade; not hardy
Cherry, Flowering, Prunus incisa Little Twist. Zig-zag stems. White flowers with pink centers. 3–4’h sun, hardy
False Cypress, Chamaecyparis Vintage Gold. Colorfast yellow foliage. Pyramidal. 2–3’h sun, hardy
False Cypress, Mini Variegated, Chamaecyparis. Gray-green foliage dotted with cream-white. 2’h sun, hardy
Juniper, Dwarf Japanese Garden, Juniperus procumbens Nana. Blue-green groundcover evergreen. 1’h by 6’w sun, hardy
Juniper, Juniperus Blue Star. Mounding blue foliage needs no trimming. 2’h sun, hardy
Lilac, Syringa Prairie Petite. Pink flowers. Slow-growing. 3–4’h sun, hardy
Pine, Birdsnest, Picea Little Gem. Small, dense mound. 1’h sun, hardy
Pine, Dwarf Mugo, Pinus Dew Drop. Small-scale evergreen foliage. 1–2’h sun, hardy
Pine, Dwarf Mugo, Pinus Honeybun. Dense, evergreen mound. Slow-growing. 2’h sun, hardy
Spirea, Spirea thunbergii Mellow Yellow. White flowers on willowy branches. Chartreuse foliage. 3–4’h sun, hardy
Spruce, Alberta Dwarf, Picea Alberta Dwarf. Conical, slow-growing, compact. 5’h sun or part shade; hardy


Photo by Nancy Scherer


March 16, 2015 | Posted in | Add a comment

Gardening with Clematis

Usually when talking about clematis, we visualize a spectacular summer-blooming, large-flowered vine. There are, however, the more demure species and other smaller-flowered varieties. These clematis are closer to their wild state, before clematis were bred to be larger-flowered with a wider range of color and shapes. The flowers tend to be small but make up for size with a delicate charm, appealing bell shapes, and a profusion of blooms, as well as what can be a long season of flowering. The vines are disease-resistant, fast-growing and vigorous; some have scented flowers. 
Perhaps because of their self-effacing nature, the small-flowered clematis fit very well in a natural-looking setting. In a small garden, where the gardener’s plant lust is restricted, consider the tempting amount of space that is available above the ground by going vertical. With a little help clematis can be grown in the English fashion, twining through shrubs and rambling up small trees, as well as in their more common use on constructed supports. 

Planting Tips

The small-flowered types are particularly suited for this. If grown through shrubs, the color, time of bloom, and ultimate heights of both clematis and shrub need to be considered. A too-vigorous vine will overpower weaker shrubs. Also, the host shrub (or tree) should be well-established before asking it to hold the weight of a vine.
The host shrub (or tree) should be well-established before tasking it with holding up the weight of a vine. Plant the clematis at least two feet away from the shrub and lead the stems into its host with bamboo canes.  As always with clematis, but especially when planting the vine near a shrub or tree that will compete for nutrients, be generous with the size of the hole and add soil amendments. Work in lots of compost and aged or dried manure and refill the hole with good soil.

Companion Plants

Roses are ideal companions for clematis vines. I have grown Roguchi (C042) through the climbing rose John Davis (S145) for many years now, shown in the photo. The inky blue flowers of Roguchi follow the first heavy bloom of the warm pink rose and continue through the sparser second flush of the rose’s flowers later in the summer. Conveniently, both rose and clematis are pruned in early spring, and they are also compatible in their preferance for rich fertilization. A taller climbing rose like William Baffin (S146) would make a handsome partner for a clematis of a harmonious color.
Other shrubs could be used. I’d like to grow a blue-flowered clematis into a gold or variegated gold-leafed dogwood shrub or tree, and try pairing one of the shorter clematis—like the bush clematis (C. integrifolia)—with a golden barberry. An evergreen, especially the columnar type, can be a pretty sight with clematis clambering on it. A dark green yew paired with a white-flowered clematis would stand out in any garden.

Extending the Bloom Time

By planting various types, we can have clematis blooming in our gardens from spring to fall: C. alpina (C017 and C021) and C. macropetala (C020) in spring, continuing with C. recta (C014) and the large-flowered hybrids in mid to late-summer, finishing in late summer to early fall with C. texensis and C. terniflora (C016). 
Friends School Plant Sale has broadened the variety of clematis we offer this year to include some intriguing species as well as the showy, large-flowered cultivars. We hope they inspire you to explore the many possible uses of this beautiful vine.
March 16, 2015 | Posted in | Add a comment
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