Green as gold

Photo by LORETTA JACKSON Aislinn Ludwig, of Bedford, selects a pink begonia whose color motivated her purchase at the Bedford Garden Club’s annual plant sale, a fundraiser attended by scores of shoppers.

Members of the Bedford Garden Club may tend to take the descriptor, “home-grown,” to the farthest realms of gardenhood, for the perennials, herbs, ground covers and shrubs that are sold during the club’s annual plant sale are mostly grown at members’ homes.

The care provided at home to plants seen daily and checked with regularity for good health or bad bugs reportedly results in sale plants that are well established. They are weather hearty to the local climate and bigger than the wisps of green sold for big bucks at commercial garden centers.

Michael Sills, of Bedford, contends the home-grown selections are ideal to share. Volunteer “dig crews” retrieve the plants well in advance of sale time. The May 18 spring sale at Bedford’s Old Town Hall, 70 Bedford Center Road, drew scores of patrons ready to grab a shovel, fluff up their winter-crusted soil and plant some green.

“The Bedford Garden Club depends on this sale to generate resources for plants and flowers to beautify the Town Offices, the Burleigh Triangle and Bedford Village Common,” Sills said. “We have a greater number of plants to sell each year – around 400 this time.”

Other members chatted with incoming green seekers to determine what annuals would be perfect for a patron’s growing conditions. They discussed hours of sunshine, how much shade was present and if watering would be done by an irrigation system, random rainfall or grandma’s watering can.

Josephine May and Catherine Elwood, stationed at the new-members sign-up table, paused to advise 91-year old Kathryn Fleming about some pretty florals for the Merrimack home she shares with Ed, her husband of 70 years. Pink begonias and yellow pansies sufficed.

Meanwhile, Joan Miller and Lori Elwood kept the line of paying customers flowing and provided boxes and trays for those who went home with dozens of purchases. Nearby, Trish O’Laughlin replenished a table of shade-tolerant perennials as pots were sold. Claire Sills supervised a table laden with groundcover including winter-hardy grasses.

Bobbe Fairman, incoming co-president of the club along with Jayne Spaulding, sold dozens of raffle tickets for a lush hanging basket redolent with the scent of flowering pink geraniums banked by a cascade of bright white buds. Spaulding encouraged with succinct comment anyone who missed this year’s plant extravaganza.

“They’re all dug from members’ gardens, so they are hardened there,” Spaulding said. “They’re healthy, robust – and cheap.”

Information on the Bedford Garden Club, a group that will present a second annual fundraiser, its Annual Mum Sale, 3-6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 3, at the Bedford Farmers Market, alongside St. Elizabeth Seton Parish, 190 Meetinghouse Road, can be had online: bedfordgardenclubnh.org.