News

Sunday Sale: 1/3 Off

Many shoppers look forward to great deals on plants on the last day of the Plant Sale. Plants will be one-third off on Sunday, May 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Wristband distribution starts at 9 a.m. If you arrive early, be sure to check out the Garden Fair!

We are totally out of strawberry flats and boxes, so please bring your own!

Here’s what you'll find on Sunday:

 
Fruit — We still have good representation of what we had originally. Honeyberries, bush cherries, limited number of apples, strawberries (including some of the white wineberries and hanging baskets of strawberries).
 
Shrubs, Trees, Roses — There’s good selection but no lilacs or magnolias. A few roses. Many evergreens including some of the unusual ones.
 
Herbs — Much better selection than in recent discount sales. Basil, lavender (including the hardy Cynthia Johnson!), even mosquito plant.
 
Perennials are 15 to 20% the number of plants we had at the beginning of the sale. Good representation across the list, including many hosta, mums. Almost no bareroot daylilies or lilies, however.
 
Annuals are a bit slimmer, probably 10-15% of the number of plants we had to start, with spottier selection. No zinnias, for instance. Some hanging baskets especially begonias and fuchsias and some nasturtiums.
 
Vegetables are 20-25% of the original number of plants with wide selection in almost all types. Lettuce, kale, peppers, potatoes, and many tomatoes.
 
Natives and particularly Grasses are both pretty low. There are still some great natives available, like rue anemone, Michigan lily, rosinweed….
 
Climbers and Unusual plants both have a good sampling of the original list. Hops! Some clematis, too.
May 9, 2015 | Posted in | Add a comment

Crop Failures, Late Additions, and No Saturday Delivery

UPDATED May 6 -- We apologize for the crop failures that occur, but want you to know that fewer than 5 percent of the plants listed in the catalog were crop failures last year. 

Crop failures occur for several reasons:

  • Seeds fail to germinate or they germinate too late for our early sale
  • Cuttings used to grow plants don't arrive at our grower or they don't arrive in time
  • Plants don't over-winter well (usually applies to shrubs and trees)
  • Shipping problems

We will update the crop failure list here and on each individual plant listing as soon as we hear of any that occur through May 6. We can't guarantee that crop failures that occur once we've started setting up for the sale, between May 7  and May 10, will be announced on the website, but we'll do our best to update those as well.

At the sale, each crop failure is marked with a CROP FAILURE sticker on its sign.

Annuals

A005 Banana, Abyssinian - Ensete ventricosum, Maurelii NOTE: We found a replacement for the original plant. See the Abyssinian Banana plant listing for updated information.
A049 Stonecrop, Miniature - Sedum hakonense, Chocolate Ball
A057 African Milk Bush - Synadenium grantii NOTE: We have this plant in a larger size, still coming
A100 Artichoke - Cynara baetica, Moroccan
A130 Begonia, Rex - Begonia, Judy Cook
A144 Bellflower - Michauxia campanuloides, Michaux's
A153 Blue Woodruff - Asperula orientalis
A177 Caribbean Copper Plant - Euphorbia cotinifolia, Burgundy Wine
A236 Copperleaf - Acalypha wilkesiana, Peach Whirl
A293 Foxglove, Wild - Ceratotheca triloba
A399 Kiss-Me-Over-The-Garden-Gate, Polygonum orientale
A434 Mallow, Annual - Malope, Queen Red
A603 Sun Daisy - Osteospermum, Fire Burst
A607 Sweet Potato Vine - Ipomoea batatus, Blackie
    *SUBSTITUTION Bullfrog - similar to Blackie but the dark leaves have some green markings

Climbers

C076 Trumpet Creeper - Campsis radicans, Orange

Grasses

G013 Sedge, Brown - Carex testacea, Prairie Fire
G040 Moor Grass, Purple - Molinia caerulea, Variegata
G046 Sedge, Bebb's - Carex bebbii, Wild Bebb's Sedge
G047 Sedge, Broadleaf - Carex siderosticha, Banana Boat

Native Wild Flowers

N115 Larkspur, Tall - Delphinium exaltatum
N197 Yellow Star Grass - Hypoxis hirsuta, Wild Yellow Star Grass

Perennials

P012 Astilbe - Astilbe chinensis Taquetti
P024 Avens - Geum, Alabama Slammer
P233 Foamflower - Tiarella wherryi, Wherry's
P249 Ginger, European - Asarum europaeum, A. europaeum
P270 Heron's Bill - Erodium manescavii, E. manescavii
P378 Jacob's Ladder - Polemonium caeruleum, Blue Pearl
P394 Ligularia - Ligularia japonica, Japanese
P464 Mist Flower - Eupatorium coelestinum
P504 Peony - Paeonia lactiflora, Clown - rose-pink single, crinkly, yellow center, 34"
    *SUBSTITUTION: Charles Burgess - Vibrant red with a ruffled crimson center dashed with gold in mid-spring. 30"h
P505 Peony - Paeonia lactiflora, Cora Stubbs - raspberry-pink with ivory outer petals 30-36"
    *SUBSTITUTION: Pink Giggles: Pink with anemone-like centers. Slightly fragrant Japanese-type with a double row of guard petals. Mid-spring bloom time. 30".
P506 Peony - Paeonia lactiflora, Early Scout
P508 Peony - Paeonia lactiflora, Margaret Clark - double cherry-blossom pink, 34"
    *SUBSTITUTION: Super Gal: Fragrant, semi-double, dark rosy-pink blooms in mid to late spring. Strong stems. 24"h
P509 Peony - Paeonia lactiflora, Pillow Cases - early, speckled pink, cream, dark pink single 36"
    *SUBSTITUTION: Kansas: Huge carmine red double flowers. Blooms mid- to late spring. 18-24"h by 24-36"w
P515 Periwinkle - Vinca minor atropurpurea, Purple
P540 Primrose - Primula japonica, Japanese
P544 Prophet Flower - Arnebia pulcra
P555 Sea Holly - Eringium alpinum, Alpine
p569 Spurge - Pachysandra procumbens, Allegheny
P596 Stonecrop, Upright - Sedum, Xenox
P609 Toad Lily - Tricyrtis macropoda, Chinese
P615 Waxbells, Yellow - Kirengeshoma palmata, K. palmata

Shrubs and Trees

S020 Bayberry - Myrica pensylvanica
S043 Cypress, False - Chamaecyparis pisifera, Vintage Gold
S074 Hydrangea Panicled - Hydrangea paniculata, Limelight
S076 Hydrangea Panicled - Hydrangea paniculata, Bobo
S146 Rose, Climbing - Rosa, William Baffin
S155 Rose, Modern Shrub - Rosa, The Fairy 
S157 Rose, Modern Shrub - Rosa, Livin' Easy
S171 Rose, Modern Shrub - Rosa, Red Cascade
S172 Rose, Modern Shrub - Rosa, Red Cascade
S173 Rose, Modern Shrub - Rosa, Sea Foam
S183 Snowball, Fragrant - Viburnum carlesii, Diana
S203 Winterberry - Ilex verticillata, Berry Heavy

**The roses in smaller pots were a major winter loss at one grower this year.

Unusual

U007 Clematis, Japanese - Clematis stans
U010 Comfrey, Variegated - Symphytum officinale, Goldsmith
U013 Fumeroot - Corydalis flexuosa, Blue Panda
U017 Green Dragon - Arisaema draconitum

Late Additions

F094B Strawberry
Fragaria 'Seascape'
Very productive ever-bearing plants. Heat tolerant; introduced by the University of California in 1992. Large berries with outstanding flavor. 3.5" pot, $3.00 ORGANIC
 
F035B Bush Cherry
Prunus eminens 'Carmine Jewel'
Extremely ornamental in spring when covered in beautiful flowers followed by purplish-red fruit. The cherries are delicious fresh or make sensational jams or pie. A Canadian introduction with the North Star cherry as one of its parents. Fruit larger than a nickel ripens early, from mid-July to mid-August. Self-fruitful and vigorous, with few suckers. Full sun, 6-8'h 1 quart pot, $9.00

Note: This is a smaller size of the same plant (F035A), which will be in a 3 gallon pot for $22.00

P562B Snowdrops 
Galanthus nivalis $5.00 3.5" pot Earliest of spring blooms. Small white flowers hang down from the stalks like drops. Good for dry partial shade, as under a deciduous tree (they grow before the trees leaf out). This spring-blooming bulb will die back shortly after planting, but don't fret, it will come back next spring while the snow is still on the ground. Plants will be going dormant at sale time or soon after. 8-12"h

N124B Merrybells 
Uvularia grandiflora $6.00 4" pot Clump-forming perennial. Bright yellow nodding blooms with twisted petals. Easy and desirable for cultivation. Ramsey County source. 12-24"h

U062B Speckled Poke
Phytolacca americana Silberstein

The dramatic ivory to cream-colored speckling of the green foliage, often so heavy that some leaves appear to be all cream with green flecks, contrasts wonderfully with the rich magenta-purple stems, white flower spikes in summer, and clusters of almost black berries in fall. If any plain green foliage appears, just cut it off. Grows slowly. Sun, part sun. 48-72"h

(We've been trying to get this plant for years, and the seed finally germinated.)

Phytollaca americana Silberstein, green and yellow speckled leaves

Saturday crop failures

We've also heard from growers about some plants that are partial crop failures, which means there are not enough plants to allow for a Saturday delivery -- so there may be none of these on Saturday, even though the catalog lists them as having a Saturday truck symbol. (If any are left from the first day of the sale, there may be some available on Saturday.)

A171 Canna - Canna edulis, Achira
A206 Coleus, Sun - Solenostemon scutellaroides, Solar Flare    
A314 Geranium, Fancy Leaf - Pelargonium, Red Heart  
A324 Geranium, Old-Fashioned - Pelargonium, Appleblossom Pink    
A327 Geranium, Old-Fashioned - Pelargonium, Red Star    
A328 Geranium, Old-Fashioned - Pelargonium, Snow Star  
A322 Geranium, Ivy - Pelargonium, White Mesh   

G001 Basket Grass - Oplismenus hirtellus variegatus, Basket Grass   

H120 Cuban Oregano - Plectranthus amboinicas variegatus, Variegated    
H060 Geranium, Scented - Pelargonium, Lady Plymouth   

N044 Blue-Eyed Grass - Sisyrinchium angustifolium, Stout Blue-Eyed Grass    
N063 Columbine - Aquilegia canadensis, Little Lanterns    
N111 Joe Pye Weed - Eupatorium maculatum, Gateway   

P014 Astilbe - Astilbe japonica, Deutschland    
P015 Astilbe - Astilbe x arendsii, Fanal Red    
P036 Balloon Flower - Platycodon grandiflorus, Double Blue    
P115 Columbine - Aquilegia skinneri, Tequila Sunrise    
P139 Coral Bells - Heuchera, Regina   
P140 Coral Bells - Heuchera, Milky Way    
P142 Coral Bells - Heuchera, Red Expo   
P143 Coral Bells - Heuchera, Snow Angel (almost a complete crop failure, unlikely to be any on Saturday)
P167 Daisy, Blue - Kalimeris incisa, Blue Daisy    
P231 Fleece Flower - Persicaria filiformis, Painter's Palette  
P285 Hollyhock - Alcea, Fig Leaf, Las Vegas    
P278 Hollyhock - Alcea, Peaches & Dreams    
P456 Mallow, Hollyhock - Malva alcea, Fastigiata   
P517 Phlox, Creeping - Phlox stolonifera, Sherwood Purple   

S003 Arborvitae - Thuja occidentalis, Teddy  
S014  Azalea - Rhododendron hybrids, Mandarin Lights
S082 Juniper - Juniperus x pfitzeriana, Daub's Frosted (1 quart pot size; other size okay)
S094    Lilac - Syringa meyeri, Dwarf Korean, Palibin    
S193    Sumac - Rhus aromatica, Gro-Low  

April 18, 2015 | Posted in | Add a comment

What’s New This Year?

To make room for more plants this year, we’ve rearranged the Grandstand completely. Overall, we’ve added 560 new ­varieties this year—25% more than last year.

The floor plan is different

We’ll have detailed maps available, but in the meantime, check out the map from the catalog.

  • The big sections—Perennials, Annuals, and Vegetables—have all switched around.
  • Hanging baskets are now in three separate spots: near the entrance, behind the new Vegetables location, and outside by the Fruit. Look for the new cold-tolerant nasturtium baskets outside with the hanging strawberry baskets.
  • The Bulbs and Bareroot shelves (part of the Perennials section) are now OUTSIDE near the hanging ­basket rack, under the concrete ramp.
  • The Climbers section is also ­outside, to the right of the center door.
  • Roses are now part of the Shrubs and Trees section (next to the ­rhododendrons). You’ll see more roses than last year because we were able to get varieties that were not treated with neonic pesticides. Thanks to public pressure, more and more large growers have stopped using neonics.

New Miniature Plant section

If you’re interested in miniature plants or fairy gardens, you can now find most of the tiny specimens in our new Miniature Plants section. Note: Though it’s part of the Annuals section, many of the plants are perennials. We’ve noted hardiness on each of them.

New plants

You’ll notice lots of new hosta, lilies, iris, mums, daylilies, peonies, coleus, magnolias, and ­clematis. Plus four new kinds of kale, 12 new tomatoes, half a dozen potatoes  and hot peppers, four new kinds of hops, heirloom apples, and the white pineberry strawberry.

Changes in our seed partners

We’ll have a wide range of heirloom and conventional seeds from Baker Creek and North Star Seed (see the full list, page 5). Solera Seeds, a local seed company, will also be selling organically grown seed; for their list, see www.soleraseeds.com. Seed Savers Exchange will not return to the sale this year.

Compost and recycling

While you’re at the sale, please use our new combined recycling, compost, and land fill stations. Recycling includes all metal, ­plastic, glass, and clean paper. Organics means any food or soiled paper. Please think twice before ­putting things into the usual State Fair trash boxes!

March 16, 2015 | Posted in | Add a comment

Volunteers Make It Happen

There are still lots of jobs that need doing.  Join us!

Volunteers are the heart and soul of the Friends School Plant Sale. To say the sale has grown beyond anyone’s wildest dreams is an understatement. And it would not have been possible without volunteers.

Some 1,100 volunteers spend countless hours before, during, and after the sale building tables, unloading plants, putting plants into shoppers’ cars, and much more. In exchange they get a ticket that lets them shop early. Thursday is their big day, before the sale opens to the public on Friday. The volunteers keep doing their jobs, indispensable all the way through to Monday cleanup.

A core group starts it

The organizing committee oversees everything. They work on the sale all year, sourcing plants and assembling the monster catalog. They manage their fellow volunteers, making sure each time slot is filled and the people who sign up also show up.

Nancy Scherer is on the organizing committee. “Many jobs have a coordinator, such as the tidyers, the greeters, the watering cart people, the truck-unloading people, the section advisors, curbside pickup—so those volunteers get oriented by their coordinators,” Nancy says.

There is no overall volunteer coordinator. (They wish they had one.) Would-be helpers can sign up online for ­particular tasks and hours. 

This year the two 7th and 8th graders on the organizing committee will advise the special squad of students who look for customers with plant questions. They carry notebooks and wear day-glow green­ vests that say “ASK ME.” All the students prepare for the sale as it approaches by brushing up on their botanical Latin. This makes them more efficient at moving plants from truck to table and helping customers find what they’re looking for. Other students greet customers coming in the door or load plants into cars.

Lots of volunteers make it happen

Cammie McConnell has worked as a volunteer ever since the sale moved from “some parent’s front yard,” as she puts it, to the Minnesota State Fair grandstand. Even in that dimly remembered yard (“…or was it the school’s yard?”) there were always lines of people waiting to buy “great plants you don’t see anywhere else, at reasonable prices.”

A family practice physician in real life, Cammie works on the sale before it opens: Tuesday, one of the setup days. It wasn’t long before she’d convinced her husband, Tim Hanson, a master carpenter, to join in the fun. “I like to work with Tim, and his skill set is building things.”

Their daughter shares her skills, too. “Mariel is working toward a degree in horticulture at Century College.” The family works together, plays together and, on volunteer day, Cammie and Mariel shop together, filling both of the carts Tim built, just for this purpose, with plants.

Tim puts together the sale’s display tables, which have been designed to be easily assembled, taken apart, and stored. That includes the strings that run along the center of the tables. One of Cammie’s tasks is to attach the plant signs to the strings, making sure that the right plants show up under the right labels. “Mariel really helps me out with this.”

Mother and daughter enjoy sharing and expanding their knowledge of plants. Tim isn’t really a plant guy. He likes turning people on to power tools.

“Many of them are intimidated at first.” Just about anyone can handle a two-by-four, he insists. “It’s like anything else. Not too much pressure, not too little.”

They do it for the plants, mostly

Of course the ultimate reward (unless you’re Tim Hanson) is having first crack at the plants. Volunteers get to shop the evening before the sale opens to the public. They work at least one four-hour shift for that privilege.

Cammie is the first to admit that’s what lured her to the sale many year ago. She and Tim live on four acres on the St. Croix River. “About an acre of it is gardens,” she says. “I grow tons of vegetables.” She grows flowers too, and has a fine collection of hardy cacti, an interest sparked by the sale.

“I used to grow all my own seedlings,” she says, “but since the sale I’ve kind of stopped that. There are so many different heirloom tomatoes to choose from here. There’s so much everything and especially plants you don’t see at the local greenhouse or even in the catalogs. I don’t know how they find them.”

I know how they find them. The organizing committee assembles and fine-tunes the yearly inventory. They look for interesting plants online. They follow tips from growers and customers. They listen to volunteers. They track down obscure breeders in out-of-the-way places and scour the new plant lists of over 20 local growers.

Once a plant is ordered and listed in the ­catalog—which, by the way, someone has to write, design, and send to the printer—the ­vigilance doesn’t stop. If there’s a crop failure, someone has to find another supplier or a ­different species to fill the hole.

Many of the more popular varieties are restocked on Saturday morning. Someone has to do that, too—a crew of volunteers who work on what’s called the “all hands on deck” shift starting at 7:00 a.m.

Unless they have other reasons

Friends School alum James Farnsworth, who is now a high school junior, knows the routine by heart. James isn’t a plant geek or a carpenter. He’s into computers and social media. That means he’s a whiz at things like Twitter, walkie-talkies, and line management. Preventing lines is an organizing committee obsession. That’s where James shines.

Weather is another obsession. You don’t want to keep people out in the cold, or the sweltering heat, or a thunderstorm if you can avoid it. All of which has happened. No injuries or hard feelings have ensued, thanks to people like James.

At the end of the day, after all, this isn’t the Super Bowl. It’s just a fundraiser for a Quaker school and its scholarship fund. Maybe that’s why I like it so much. What hard-core gardener wouldn’t enjoy spending the first week of May with peace-­loving people bingeing on plants?

So on behalf of the organizers, this is my shout-out to Cammie and Tim and James and the thousand other volunteers without whom there wouldn’t be a Friends School Plant Sale. That includes the box collectors and the bulb baggers, the stick labelers and the seed sellers, the large sign hangers, the greeter people, and the miraculously cheerful mathematicians who tally up the totals at the checkout tables. They use adding machines to total the plant lists that customers hand over; the machine spits out a total. Some people, volunteers mostly, worry that the sale will be shortchanged because a few plants went unaccounted for.

“I always tack on another 20 percent when I write my check,” says Tim. “It’s just another way of saying thanks.

Wait, Tim, who’s thanking whom again?

People like Tim are why I spend my free time helping a school that I ­didn’t know existed until I attended my first sale 10 years ago. When I first volunteered, I was astonished when a guy in a plaid shirt —who knows, maybe it was Tim—jumped out of the mile-high cab of the rig I was supposed to drive to Hastings by way of Elk River in rush hour, and handed me the keys.

“Ever run a lift gate?” he asked.

I had never heard of a lift gate. What if he figured out I’d never driven a truck this gigantic before, either? Best to keep quiet and get the behemoth out of the driveway in one piece (yes, I had to back it out, with only my dog to keep an eye on the twin-mattress-sized rear-view mirror on the passenger side).

If that isn’t trust, I figured, trust doesn’t exist.

It all happens for a good cause

You already know that Friends School Plant Sale is the finest one in the world. The organizers and I just want to remind you that it’s run by volunteers and volunteers only, some of whom will begin working on the 2016 sale the day after this year’s sale ends.

James puts in 60 hours a year on the sale, many of those hours just before opening day. When the door opens and the crowds of people who’ve been waiting rush in…well, imagine Churchill Downs on Derby Day when the gun goes off and the horses burst through the starting gate. It’s kind of like that.

“Through volunteering at the sale, I’ve learned that I love to work at big events, ­especially in a coordinating role,” he told me.

But there’s more to it than that. “Even though my family never was in need of scholarship funds so I could attend FSM, I chose to get involved with the plant sale because I knew that those funds were directly benefitting some of my best friends.”

That’s the spirit, James. And to all of you shoppers, thanks for coming. We hope you enjoy the sale as much as we do!

—Bonnie Blodgett

Bonnie Blodgett writes The Blundering Gardener ­column for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. She is the author of several books on gardening.

March 18, 2015 | Posted in | Add a comment

Gardening in Miniature

Miniature gardens (or fairy gardens, if you are a believer) are delightful and entertaining for all ages. If you have a yen to have a garden and are hampered by space or time, or simply like little things, consider a miniature garden.

These gardens can be contained in just about anything that tickles your fancy. Maybe it’s a favorite antique dish you can set on a table, a clay pot, or a birdbath. It might be a special place in an outdoor garden.

Tiny accessories of all sorts are available everywhere, but it’s the teeny plants that will enthrall you. They’ll inspire you to create something that’s uniquely yours. Perhaps you must have that cute little Miniature Mat Daisy with multitudes of white flowers, or that Tiny Rubies Pink with brilliant tiny double pink flowers.

You may want “trees” in your garden. They could be very small conifers or you might shape a coleus, rosemary plant, or miniature jade plant into a suitable form. Succulents like Stonecrop or Hen and Chicks make great accents and many ground covers fill in your landscape. There are no limitations. Just have fun and enjoy!

—Judy McManus

If you're interested in seeing a sampling of the plants that will be in the Miniature Garden Collections (new this year), check out the list here.

Oh, and don't  miss the free workshop on miniature gardening, Saturday at 10:00 a.m.

March 17, 2015 | Posted in | Add a comment

About Friends School of Minnesota

Friends School of Minnesota (FSM) is an independent K–8 Quaker school in the heart of St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood. In the tradition of more than 80 Friends Schools across the United States, FSM meets children’s intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs in an environment that nurtures their social consciousness. Now in its 27th year, FSM is a vibrant school, known for its progressive curriculum, commitment to community, acclaimed conflict resolution program, and joyful approach to educating children.

FSM is dedicated to its mission: to prepare children to embrace life, learning, and community with hope, skill, understanding, and creativity. We are committed to the Quaker values of peace, justice, simplicity and integrity.

FSM’s 168 students learn from a rich, hands-on curriculum in multi-age classrooms of 16 to 21. We believe children learn best as active participants, collaborators, and problem-solvers within a community. We think learning should be in-depth, thematic, and interdisciplinary, while teaching the appreciation of multiple perspectives and fostering social skills. Our focus on place-based education engages students within the local community and prepares them to be compassionate global citizens. We emphasize environmental education and service learning starting in kindergarten. We have specialists in music, visual arts, physical education, and Spanish.

Our community actively works to increase diversity, remove barriers, and be welcoming and accessible. In our admissions process, we seek a wide range of academic abilities and diverse learning styles. We seek diversity, including racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, family structure, and belief system. FSM families have a broad range of religious and non-religious backgrounds, including 10 percent Quaker. Twelve percent of our students come from LGBT families and 35 percent of students are children of color, mostly from multiracial families. We provide need-based tuition aid for 37 percent of our students—up to 90 percent of tuition per student—to increase access to FSM. Our conflict resolution program is integrated into the daily culture of the school, actively teaching and modeling nonviolent, respectful techniques to solve the natural conflicts found in every diverse community.

Our great location across the street from a mini-arboretum city park and our inviting indoor spaces serve our students well, but we continue to improve our facilities. This past summer, we added a fully equipped art room, dedicated Spanish room, small group spaces and middle school student lounge to our existing facilities, which include nine classrooms, a full-size gymnasium, music room, library, and multi-purpose room. Our school grounds incorporate outdoor classroom spaces and a natural play yard as well as a traditional playground and open field.

Lots of folks first hear about Friends School of Minnesota because of our plant sale fundraiser. Many prospective families come take a look at the school that’s behind the big event. Some say meeting our helpful middle school student volunteers made them curious about our school program. If you would like to learn more about the school, please contact us at admissions@fsmn.org, call 651-917-0636, or see our website at www.fsmn.org. We’d love to show you around!

 

March 17, 2015 | Posted in | Add a comment

Goodbye to Bear

With sadness and gratitude, Friends School Plant Sale says goodbye to Ron “Bear” Cronick, a familiar face to many volunteers. Bear died December 1, 2014 following a long illness.

For the past 10 years he greeted us with his smile and welcoming words as we arrived for our volunteer shifts. He also kindly ­redirected shoppers who’d come to the wrong door. For almost 10 years before that, he helped out while the sale was at the Friends School building.

We thank him for his many years of ­dedicated service. We’ll miss his presence at our sales.

--The Plant Sale Committee

March 17, 2015 | Posted in | Add a comment

Some Vegetables Are Better from Seed

Instead of selling cucumbers, pumpkins, and squash as plants, we invite seed-growing partners to sell them as seeds instead.

We do this for several reasons:

  • Early May is just too early for these tender and very fragile plants to be outside
  • Plants like melons, cucumbers, and squash are actually vines, which get tangled together and are easily damaged before they can be sold.
  • It’s cheaper for you and just as reliable to plant them as seeds directly into the ground. The seeds come with instructions. It’s easy!
  • You’ll have access to a lot more varieties, including plants we’ve never sold at all, like beans, peas, ­carrots, and corn, which don’t transplant well.
  • You can share and swap extra seeds with your friends.
  • You might want to keep some seeds to plant a late ­summer crop (especially great for lettuce, carrots, beans, and peas).

We do sell some cold-sensitive plants, especially tomatoes and peppers, since they need more of a head start in our short growing season. But keep them indoors or in a cold frame for a few weeks after the sale.

March 17, 2015 | Posted in | Add a comment

Meet Our New Head of School

Friends School of Minnesota ­welcomes Dr. Latrisha Chattin, our next Head of School! Latrisha joins Friends School in July for our 28th year. Her ­commitment to Quaker values and progressive education are a great fit.

She takes over from Lili Herbert, whose exceptional leadership guided and improved Friends School during her nine years as Head of School. Lili leaves the school in excellent health and with the brightest of futures as she moves on to pursue a research and writing project and earn a Masters of Divinity at Earlham School of Religion.

March 17, 2015 | Posted in | Add a comment

Organic Vegetables at the Sale

All of the plants in the Herb and Vegetable sections of the sale are grown without chemical pesticides or herbicides, and from greenhouses operated with sustainable practices.

We also carry a more limited line of edibles that are certified organic, and at ­customer request have summarized them here.

"New" indicates the variety is new at the sale as certified ­organic. We may have carried a noncertified ­variety at the sale in the past (or even this year).

Basil

H004 Sweet Genovese
H030 Amethyst Improved
H031 Eleonora NEW
H032 Mrs. Burns Lemon
H033 Thai, Sweet NEW

Other herbs

H086 Lavender, Ellagance Purple
H110 Mint, Peppermint NEW
H118 Oregano , Greek

Kale

V066 Dinosaur NEW
V067 Winterbor

Lettuce

V088a Mixed (one each of Green Forest romaine, Tropicana green leaf, New Red Fire red leaf, Red Cross red butter.)
V088b Nancy NEW
V089 New Red Fire

Peppers

V143 Aurora (hot)
V144 Bulgarian Carrot (hot)
V137 Jalapeño  (hot)
V163 Sweet Banana (sweet)

Potatoes

V175 Purple Viking  NEW
V176 Rose Finn Apple Fingerling NEW
V177 Adirondack Red NEW
V178 Carola NEW
V179 Dark Red Norland NEW
V180 Kennebec NEW
V181 Magic Molly NEW

Heirloom tomatoes

V255 Black Cherry NEW
V256 Brandywine
V257 Cherry Roma
V258 Dester’s Amish
V259 Moskvich
V260 Purple Bumblebee Cherry NEW
V261 Brandywine, 4 pack
V262 Christmas Grape
V263 Czech Bush
V264 Mixed Heirloom Tomatoes (Brandywine, Striped German, Aunt Ruby’s German Green, and Cherokee Purple)
V265 Seed Saver’s Italian

Other tomatoes

V281a Sungella  NEW
V281b Sweet 100

Other vegetables

V012 Broccoli, Premium Crop
V026 Cabbage, Green—Stonehead
V057 Eggplant, Little Fingers

March 16, 2015 | Posted in | Add a comment
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