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Annual plant sale benefits arboretum and gardeners

Published: Friday, May 2, 2014 11:23 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, May 2, 2014 11:27 a.m. CDT

Warm weather is just around the corner, and if you’re looking to brighten up your yard or a friends day, then the Newton Arboretum and Botanical Gardens will be a place you’ll want to stop by this weekend.

Project AWAKE is hosting its annual plant sale to benefit the Newton Arboretum and Botanical Gardens from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at the arboretum. This event is free admission.

Since the arboretum is not a tax-supported entity and is supported completely by contributions, fundraisers are important to keep the arboretum in good condition.

“The goal for the plant sale is more than just a fundraiser for the Newton Arboretum. We look at the Plant Sale as a way to encourage people to become gardeners, educate people on gardening basics and provide people with quality plants that they can plant in their own yards ensuring natural beauty throughout our community,” Newton Parks and Recreation Administrative Superintendent Nathan Unsworth said.

Many florists, greenhouses and suppliers have donated plants and flowers to Project AWAKE. There will be perennials and annuals, hortas, shade plants, day lilies, ground cover, ornamental grass, house plants and herbs.

“The thing I like about the plant sale is that we know the plants will grow in Newton because they’re coming out of established gardens,” long-time arboretum volunteer Carol Kramer said.

Seeds from the Seed Saver’s Exchange in Decorah are also for sale this year.

If you would like the opportunity to be one of the first to select plants, there will be a plant pre-sale from 5 to 7 p.m. The pre-sale cost $10 and includes refreshments, drawing for a prize, door prizes to the first 10 people and a 30-minute container gardening education session starting at 6:30 p.m.

“We hope people will come out and support the Newton Arboretum this weekend. If someone would like to support us, but did not inherit a green thumb — the plants make great gifts for family members, friends and neighbors, too,” Unsworth said.

“The most important part of the plant sale is that it supports the arboretum. It’s one of the jewels in Newton — it’s a wonderful place,” Kramer said.

Staff writer Kate Malott may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 422, or at kmalott@newtondailynews.com.