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Plant Fool's Day - April 1, 2023

3/21/2023 10:17 am


Plant Fool's Day - A Shop & Sip Extravaganza


Join us for a loosey goosey Shop and Sip excursion starting bright and early at the UGA Trial Garden sale on Plant Fool’s Day.  Sure, it’s mostly annuals. We’ve ‘splained it before right in our "Home" and “About Us” page: Perennials alone do not a garden make.  


Set your GPS to arrive at the Trial Gardens at opening at 10 am.*  Early birds get the porterweed, red or purple, which despite its name isn't a weed. You’ll wish it was. The copper-toned Acalypha ‘Pride of BJ’ has to be in my hands before we leave, because it is the centerpiece of my slot garden every year.  We all know what happens when momma ain’t happy. 


Study the plant list.** Strategize. Prioritize. Coleus fans might duke it out by the loading dock where stashed "claimed plants" sometimes get pilfered by scoundrels. Expect to pout a little if the thing you wanted most was gone by the time your grabby hands get there or if it never was.  Greenhouse failures are a thing. But there’s alway another bright shiny object around the corner to solace you. An Eyeball plant might be eyeballing you.  


After you cram your plants in your car --still panting but calming down, because the checkout line is a punctuation point to your mad dash-- we’ll chill a little. We'll walk the Trial gardens. Maybe we’ll pass around a nosh. Engaging in the “Supermarket Sweep” of plant sales demands a reward, something to energize our bodies for this 5k day of plant shopping. 


We’ll proceed calmly from here, we promise. Meander over to the nearby UGA Hort Club sale***, which supports — you guessed it—hort students. Their mommas hoped they’d be doctors, lawyers or investment bankers, but noooooo. They fell in love with the dirt just like us. We love them back by buying plants, supporting their choices even if their parents don’t. 


This sale is a two week event, so no need to fly around in a panic. Stop to critique others’ choices, or share your knowledge even though no one asked because someone looks puzzled or is about to make a mistake that will alienate them from horticulturists for life. Be a mensch.  Try to understand why anyone would get excited over 57 varieties of tomatoes that the hornworms, squirrels and blight will ruin. Who says you have to spend a lot to enjoy a plant sale? Theatre is everywhere. 


We’ll roll out of here to the not too distant Farm 441,**** formerly Thomas Orchards. One of the few Athens area nurseries left now, this stop about 13 minutes away from the Hort Club Sale offers more in creature comforts than most nurseries. A  charming gift shop with funky clothes, cool jewelry, and less ubiquitous garden tchotchkes. A hearty supply of local products. One of the nicest loos to be found in a nursery. Plants are well curated in this smaller nursery. There's a tasteful selection of sedums, herbs and everything up in size with an emphasis on the bling that goes with ‘em: containers, trellises, objets de art, you know, the stuff that sets the scene and helps define the moments in the garden. Order some tasty barbecue for take out as we leave. Buy your discount ticket for April 15's Piedmont Gardeners' Athens Tour of Gardens here too.  Then pack the car for a 10 minute country drive. We’ve saved the mother lode for last. 


We’ll end our journey at the temple of many old timers’ gardens, Piccadilly Farm Nursery & Gardens. Thirty plus years and I now spell it right half the time. Thirty years in which I’ve bought the vast majority of shrubs and trees for two homes from here. Sure they lure you in with the sexy hellebores, striped Rohdeas and cast iron plants, but the real action just starts there. 


So let’s first take a few minutes to slobber down our picnic lunch in Piccadilly's pavilion, whether you brought a pb&j from home, hit at a drive through on the way, or the good ‘cue you were smart enough to buy at Farm 441 along with the beverage of your choice too. You’re gonna need the fuel to re-arrange your cars, my friends. 


Walk the gardens first to see what can be. Then get to shopping. Because obviously every intelligent gardener buys the small stuff first and then has to fit in shrubs and trees around them. Conifers, Viburnums, maples and so much freaking more is here. You know, the solid objects you should have bought before the shiny ones! That backbone of the garden thing. And at incredibly fair prices that explain why we sometimes go on long drives for plants.  Oh yeah, Georgia Perennial members get a 10% off discount here too with their digital member cards. 


Elated, exhausted, wallets empty, we’ll go our separate ways home. To the east is I-85 and west is US 78. Some lunatic going the latter way — probably in my car eating Cheetos — will notice we’re going right by Grower’s Outlet. “Dude, how can you not stop?” I’ll tell her that I’m quite certain I’m not a dude and mash the gas pedal. Because I know that Buck Jones and Randy’s aren’t far off the path either. And Rome wasn’t built in a day. 


Besides, we’ll rinse and repeat two weeks later to visit the Piedmont Gardeners' Athens Tour of Gardens on April 15. And you know, the State Botanical Garden will still be having its sale then.  And all those places are still sort of on the way, coming or going. And as long as we can sink our hands in the earth to create feasts for our eyes, special places of calm or joy that nourish our souls, places that shelter and provide for the seen and unseen creatures who make it all work, we shall continue to do it. One more dang plant sale at a  time!



Send me an email saying "Count Me In" if you are coming: Email Liane.  Maybe we'll make you a name tag to embarrass you as a plant cultist.  Or maybe, because it's "Plant Fool's Day" in our neck of the woods, everyone's tag will simply be "Audrey" this day.  No one wants to be Seymour, after all!  






THE DETAILS (Also known as the *****'s)

* The UGA Trial Garden is located at 1030 West Green Street, Athens, GA, United States, Georgia.  

** Trial Garden Parking:  Free and convenient parking available in Lots S05, S10, and Deck S11.  

If picking plants up in your vehicle after payment, please enter from Lot S10 and they will help to load your plants.


**Preview the UGA Trial Garden Plant List.  


*** The UGA Hort Club Sale is at:  111 Riverbend Road, Athens, GA.  Preview the:  Hort Club Plant List


**** Farm 441 is at 6091 Macon Hwy, Bishop, GA 30621 (Macon Highway is Rte 441 -- They are on the Right hand side coming from Athens).


***** Piccadilly Farm Nursery and Garden is at:  1971 Whippoorwill Rd., Bishop, GA 30621.