Members of the garden club, also known as DIG, have been growing and nurturing a plethora of healthy, leafy greens since last fall, and are ready to share their propagated products with East County as part of their annual plant sale on May 7.
“Basically, we have an entire nursery full of plants,” said DIG President Cathy Wolfe. “We typically have 3,000 to 5,000 plants every year and we sell most of them in just a few hours. Over the years, people have come to anticipate this event, and we have such a vast selection that people line up at the gates hours before we open. We’ve got something for everyone.”
Gates open at 8:30 a.m., but Wolfe said it isn’t surprising to see a line forming at the gates before dawn. The earlier you get to the sale, the better your chances are to walk away with the most rare and unique plants of this year’s crop. The DIG plant sale, now in its 23rd year, features annuals, perennials, shade plants, roses, and a host of other flowering plant species to choose from. And even if you don’t have room to plant new things, Wolfe reminds locals that Mother’s Day is coming up, and moms love flowers.
While the variety is impressive, the prices are what bring people back year after year. A 1-gallon annual sells for $1.50 while a 1-gallon perennial goes for $2.50. A 3-gallon plant is $3.50, and 5-gallon plants are $5.50. Specialty plants vary in prices, but customers are sure to get a deal.
“We’re not in this for the money,” said DIG Plant Manager Steve Hendrickson. “The mission of DIG is to educate and beautify the community. With these prices, people can come in and pick up a load of plants in the morning and then spend the afternoon planting. I know of a woman who comes to the sale every year early in the morning – she buys her plants, goes home to plant them and then she comes back for a second round. The sale is a great way to transform your garden or yard in just a few hours.”
Wolfe said DIG, which includes more than 100 local gardeners and “plant nerds,” looks forward to the sale every year because members get to share their gardens with the community. And since members grow and sell their own plants, growers know how to make each plant flourish in East County’s inconsistent soil. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a novice who has yet to develop a green thumb, DIG members are more than happy to answer questions and offer suggestions so you make the best purchase for your gardening goals.
Money raised during the event goes toward scholarships for high school students, plus books to be donated to the library. DIG is a nonprofit run completely by volunteers. The group meets monthly to discuss gardening, and guest speakers are often invited to impart their wisdom. The group also takes field trips to Bay Area gardens and garden-related events such as Filoli Gardens in Woodside and the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show.
New members are always welcome. Membership is $15 for individuals or $20 for a family. Veteran DIG members host workshops throughout the year to teach members basic propagation and cultivation techniques so members have plenty of plants to offer during sale.
“Active members just love to get their hands dirty,” said Wolfe. “There’s always a lot of excitement surrounding our plant sale because every year offers something different. Some members like to stick with the same plants, but others are adventurous and try new things. We’re such a supportive community, and we like to share each other’s successes and learn from setbacks. It makes us all better. And no matter what, we’re having fun.”
As DIG’s supply of carts and wagons for hauling plants is limited, Wolfe encourages plant sale customers to come with their own. She recommends coming early for the best selection, but if you want to just stroll the area and check out plants, she recommends visiting the sale around 10 a.m. once the initial “frenzy” has died down.
The DIG Plant Sale is held Saturday, May 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Shelly’s Garden, 2192 Chestnut St. in Brentwood. For more information, visit www.deltainformalgardeners.org.