Early morning coffee, friendly conversations & a VanDusen plant sale!


After reading over on Heavy Petal about the VanDusen Annual Plant sale, I rearranged my weekend plans and made time for this legendary plant sale. It was my first year, but it will not be my last. Every bit about this sale was as good as they say. There’s no hype here, just plants, excited gardeners and the occasional child being carted around in a wheelbarrow.

I got there early. It works surprisingly well for me to get up and out of the house at the crack of dawn. If I wait much past that I’m joined by my bouncing children. It is much harder to get around for the day with one hanging off each leg. So when I heard that people start lining up for this thing around 7am, I thought, what the hell and set my alarm. Screw you future Laura! Ha! Who needs sleep! There are plants to drool over!

So there I was sitting in the parking lot at 715am. My little garden cart and a couple boxes in tow. With a hot cup of coffee in hand, I was number 2 in line. So wasting our time in good gardening conversation we watched the volunteers start trickling in. The scouts who had been camping out in the Gardens the night before (what fun!) were packing up and heading out. Shortly after a lovely woman who has been volunteering at the sale for a dozen or so years came by with plant catalogues. She congratulated us on our crazy morning spirit and offered the two of us a chance to have a sneak peek at the sale.

Um, okay!
We were in. There is something so tranquil about the sight of all of those plants neatly lined up on the tables. The quiet before the storm I guess.
We poked around the tables. Saw some things we’d later make a bee line for. Their selection was huge! All varieties of perennials, Clematis’ and vines. The Potluck area was enormous. Here you could find anything and everything. From the most common of plant to something neat and rare. The reason for the name potluck is that they can’t always guarantee the specific colour of the plant, a mixed bag so to speak. Their price reflects that. I found some trillium and a few other gems that I’ll be showing off in a future post.
They also had a large Rhodo sections. I spotted a variety I wanted right away. They had every colour of the rainbow.
Near the back of the sale area they had a large tent surrounded by tables for the Herbs and Vegetables. Here were the Heirloom Tomato’s. It was difficult to look and not touch, but we were good. While we walked we were making mental calculations. What to hit first, and where to go next. Over 40,000 plants were lined up for sale, but we new the most interesting would go fast.The mushrooms I’m told are a new addition to the sale. Interesting. Definitely a conversation starter, but this wouldn’t be following me home.
Finished the tour we returned to our carts at the front of the line up. More and more people had joined in the line. People prepared with wheelbarrows, garden carts, children’s wagons or any variety of makeshift plant carriers. These people were prepared!And they kept coming. Suddenly our early morning arrival didn’t seem so silly. The line up was out past Oak street.By the time the clock hit 10am and the sale opened it was pouring rain. That didn’t stop me from jogging in with my cart tagging along like the lunatic that I am (I may be a dork, but that was some serious fun!) I quickly got my Rhodo’s and Clematis. I made my way to the Veggis and got some Heirloom Tomatoes, and a few herbs.By then the monsoon was passing and the umbrella all seemed to collapse at once. I didn’t bring an umbrella. I didn’t want it taking up valuable plant space on the cart. I was smart. Wet, but smart.
After finding the few remaining things I was looking for , and a few things that found me, my cart was full. It was time to join the line up to pay. I knew by looking and my cart that I was in for it. I tried to weed out a few thing (Really! I tried sooooo hard!) But I was enveloped in the seductive allure of a good plant sale. The ‘if I put this down, I’m so going to regret it! What a great deal this is! Such a fantastic colour! I never see anything like this at my nursery….’ ect, ect, ect.

So you see my dilemma. I don’t think I was the only one with this problem.
The checkout line was long, but moved fairly quickly. This was a well run operation. The volunteers were amazing, and they were so well organized.
I had a great time at the plant sale. Now to get digging. There’s a lot to plant!


Edited to fix the outrageous spelling errors! This is what happens when you blog late and were up early 😉


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11 comments on “Early morning coffee, friendly conversations & a VanDusen plant sale!

  1. Heather on said:

    Looks like you had a great day, I'm so enviouse. I haven't been to Vandusen since they had their Vandusen Garden Show of years past. Besides the excitement of all the plants and the sale, I love to be cought up in the energy of all the fellow gardeners searching for great finds.

  2. Sheryl Hamilton on said:

    What a fantastic day the VanDusen plant sale was. Took my two young kids and a friend of theirs… brought my husband along for the day as well and even he had a good time. Even if you aren't a gardener (yet), you MUST go. Such fun – and so beautiful! Soul food for the eyes.

  3. Aerelonian on said:

    I really wish I could have gone! That's the place with the Laburnum and maze right? I'm excited. There are so many places to see! Yeah!!!I have a bad habit of picking up everything I want. Then I prune it to about 20% and those are my purchases. It's difficult but has to be done. My plan is to win the lottery and start my own botanical garden. Then no more purchase sacrifices. 🙂

  4. Laura on said:

    @Heather your right. There's a real energy at an event like that. It's so much fun to be a part of it!@Sheryl Hamilton "Soul food for the eyes" Exactly! Even the rain added to the sensory input. The sights the smells the glow everything gets after a rain! It was beautiful! Thanks for visiting!@Aerelonian I think that's the only way to do it. Grab everything that you want in an ideal world and then scale it back to a slightly more reasonable (ha!) level. Then as long as you can fit it all in the car, your good 😉

  5. I do well with line-ups or crowds, but it might have been worth it considering all the nice plants. The biggest problem is that I know nothing about plants, and probably would have bought things that aren't suited for my yard.But, there's always next year…that will give me some time to figure out what I'm doing… 7am huh? 🙂

  6. Anonymous on said:

    Thanks for writing your adventure at the Vandusen Plant Sale and your comments. I was in charge of ordering in all of the 955 rhodos and azaleas and was glad you hit our section first. What a wonderful day it was.

  7. Laura on said:

    @Mike that's the great part about this sale. All the workers and volunteers had so much knowledge. There was always someone on hand to help you find a plant or tell you about the pretty thing you found. I guess that's the benefit of so many Master Gardeners volunteering in one spot!@Anonymous the Rhodo section was amazing! I had trouble not taking it all home with me. I have never seen so many colours and variations in one place! Well done!

  8. danger garden on said:

    Wow…what fun. Looking at that line you must have been feeling pretty smart to get there early. I enjoyed tagging along!

  9. Laura on said:

    @Danger Garden thanks! I had so much fun being there! I felt pretty silly when we were the only ones at 7ish, but soooo smart by the time the doors opened at 10am!

  10. Pingback: Get you cart ready! The VanDusen Garden’s plant sale is back! | The Dandelion Wrangler

  11. Pingback: VanDusen Gardens Annual Plant Sale: Plantaholics R Us! | The Dandelion Wrangler

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