The Harrison County Master Gardeners saw a successful day Saturday as hundreds of shoppers not only turned out for the annual plant sale at the organization’s new home, but also emptied the entire inventory.
“We had a wonderful response from the community, and we appreciate their response so much,” said Carol Hartt, president of the organization. “It was amazing.”
Master Gardener Lynn Smith said before the gates opened at 8 a.m., 144 people were already standing in line and eager to shop at the group’s new home, located at 2115 Warren Drive.
“They were parked all the way down to the ballpark and all the way up to the airport,” she gushed.
Not only were the members excited to see the crowd, they were also thrilled to have all items sell out.
“Our brand new greenhouse, which is new to the Master Gardeners this year, we just got the greenhouse finished two weeks ago, moved all of our vegetables in and we sold every vegetable we had except for six, small Cushaw plants,” Smith beamed.
“Out of thousands of vegetables, we had six left. It was great,” she said. “It helps us so much.”
The plant sale boasted an array of items including herbs, succulents, annuals, perennials, roses, Begonia baskets, petunia baskets, Geraniums and more.
“You name it, we had it,” said Hartt.
The vegetables are all nurtured by seasoned Master Gardeners.
“A lot of our vegetables are purchased either at seed or very, very small and then a lot of our older master gardeners … they baby them and tend to them, and fertilize them; and when we get to the sale, they are just gorgeous — beautiful,” said Smith.
Funds raised from the annual plant sale benefit the organization’s scholarship program and education initiatives.
“We give scholarships and like to help the community in education,” said Smith. “It helps us so much to be able to raise that kind of money and become more productive. We are so pleased and so grateful to the community.”
Hartt echoed her sentiments. Hartt said the reasonably priced items help raise the funds needed to afford a $500 scholarship that the Harrison County Master Gardeners give annually to a Marshall High School senior in the Future Farmers of America (FFA) program.
In addition to a college scholarship, other community outreach activities the Harrison County Master Gardeners do include a “Learn & Grow; Eat & Go” curriculum for the Junior Master Gardeners program.
“We went into five classes at Sam Houston this year, and then we’ve been into some classes at Elysian Fields and we teach children where their food comes from,” said Hartt. “We teach the kids about the sun, the soil… we teach them how a plant grows. And the teachers, they’re teaching a program that’s provided by the state, Texas A&M Agrilife (Extension program).”
The organization also provides educational assistance to community entities, when needed.
“We serve the community in trying to help them with any of their downtown needs and giving advice on plants, advising them on what would work good,” shared Smith. “We don’t actually provide the labor for them, but we’re happy to provide any kind of educational experience that we can provide for them.”
The Master Gardeners were glad to return to a live event for the plant sale after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had an online small plant sale last year, but for two years we’ve been kind of limited by COVID,” said Hartt.
Smith said while they hope to find a better solution to the parking next year, as part of their learning curve, the event was a success overall.
“We have a few things to work on because it’s a brand new location for us, but we were thrilled with the outcome and the community was so supportive of us; and we’re so grateful for that,” said Smith.
“The weather was absolutely perfect,” she added. “Just everything worked out great.”
And now that they have the new 100-feet greenhouse, Hartt said they’ll have plenty of more events to look forward to in the future.
“It was the greenhouse that came from the Marshall High School, actually. We purchased their greenhouse and the county let us put it here. But we just got it up and running,” she said. “And now that we have a functioning greenhouse, be on the lookout. We may have more additional sales throughout the year because we’ll have a place to store them. We will be having more (smaller) sales in the future.”