Growing anticipation for Rhododendron Day sale

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Working bee . . . Friends of the Dunedin Botanic Garden volunteers Paul Van Kampen (at rear) and Jo Waters work potting dozens of plants ahead of this weekend's plant sale. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

The upper garden at Dunedin Botanic Garden will be a hive of activity tomorrow, as keen gardeners gather for the annual Rhododendron Day plant sale.

Presented each year by the Friends of the Dunedin Botanic Garden, the plant sale is the culmination of months of effort for volunteers with the garden propagation group.

Propagation group co-ordinator Louise Kilby said the volunteers grew plants from seeds and cuttings taken by curators from plants within the botanic garden itself, and also some donated from their own gardens.

The hundreds of resulting plants – herbs, vegetables, succulents, perennials, woodland and alpine plants, exotics, and native trees, shrubs and grasses –are offered during the Rhododendron Day plant sale.

These are accompanied by a variety of other stalls, including specialist plant sellers, as well as coffee and refreshments.

Ms Kilby said the plant sale had been going for more than 20 years, and was very popular with the public.

“People know they are going to get some very special plants at this event,” she said.

The propagation group, most of whom are members of the Friends of the Dunedin Botanic Garden group have been supporting the botanic garden for the past 10 years.

“The Friends couldn’t do anything without the help of the botanic garden staff, and we support them in return,” Ms Kilby said.

In particular, the propagation group provided manpower for time-consuming and necessary tasks, such as re-potting plants, she said.

The Friends of the Dunedin Botanic Garden Rhododendron Day plant sale will be held from 9am to 1pm this Sunday, October 20, in the upper garden car park. Please bring your own bags and boxes.

A guided tour of the Rhododendron Dell will be led by curator Doug Thomson at 10am on Sunday. Meet at the dell entrance sign.