by Sean Fox
annual Arboretum Auxiliary Plant Sale is fast approaching, and our
volunteers and staff have been busy tending to plants in preparation for
the big day. Hundreds of choices will be available to take home,
whether it be stately trees, native shrubs, ornamental perennials,
edible fruits or something to help green-up the inside of your home.
Amongst the trees available this year, slippery elm (Ulmus
rubra), blue ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata), tulip-tree (Liriodendron
tulipifera) and shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) are a few of the native
standouts. Beautiful specimens for the garden include katsura
(Cercidiphyllum japonicum) ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), Manchurian cherry
(Prunus maackii) and Ibokan Japanese white pine (Pinus parviflora
‘Ibokan’). Canada’s largest native fruit, pawpaw (Asimina triloba), is
an ever-popular choice, and other edible delights include American
hazel, gooseberries, lingonberries, tayberries, jostaberries, goji
berries and Wolf River apple - an heirloom cultivar known for its
disease tolerance and exceptionally large fruit.
Smaller choices include a number of favourite shrubs such as
bladdernut (Staphylea trifolia), sweetfern (Comptonia perigrina)
bayberry (Morella pensylvanica) Ozark witch-hazel (Hamamelis vernalis)
and dwarf hackberry (Celtis tenuifolia)
This is just a small sampling of over 100 taxa of woody plants
that will be available for sale, including 70 native to Ontario.
On the herbaceous side, there is a huge selection of classic
garden favourites such as coneflowers, hosta, sedum, delphinium and
iris, in addition to beautiful natives such as cardinal flower (Lobelia
cardinalis) bottle gentian (Gentiana andrewsii) and Canada lily (Lilium
canadense). Showy and prolific ornamentals include chocolate snakeroot
(Eupatorium rugusom ‘Chocolate’), Oregon checkerbloom (Sidalcea oregona
‘Brilliant’) and spotted bee-balm (Monarda punctata). And, as
populations of monarch butterflies continue to struggle, planting some
of their required larval food sources – the milkweeds – adds a helping
hand. Species available at this year’s sale include butterfly milkweed
(Asclepias tuberosa) swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), common
milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) and whorled milkweed (Asclepias
In addition to the cold-hardy choices already mentioned, we`ll
also be offering a selection of plants that are better suited for
growing indoors over the winter months. These include propeller plant
(Crassula falcata), Sulawesi waxflower (Hoya brevialata), kangaroo fern
(Microsorum diversifolium) and crocodile fern (Microsorum musifolium).
Look for these and many other indoor plants on the day of the sale.
This year’s sale falls on Saturday, September 12th at The
Arboretum’s RJ Hilton Centre, 384 College Avenue East. The event runs
from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., but be sure to arrive early for best
selection, as some plants sell out quickly. A full listing of available
plants is available by clicking below. Keep an eye on our website
for further details: www.uoguelph.ca/arboretum
Hope to see you there!