Bloedel Reserve opens its gates for annual sale of rare and unique plants

Bainbridge Island will get a little greener this weekend as rare and unique plants come to the Bloedel Reserve, and hopefully to the homes and gardens of islanders.

Andy Navage

Bainbridge Island will get a little greener this weekend as rare and unique plants come to the Bloedel Reserve, and hopefully to the homes and gardens of islanders.

On April 14-15, the Bloedel Reserve will host its second annual premier plant sale showcasing 12 private nurseries, in addition to selections from the reserve’s own horticulture department.

The yards in front of the visitor center, a historic French country-style home, will be filled with vendors offering unique selections of plants.

Bloedel Reserve members get an exclusive first peak at the sale Friday, April 13.

“They get first dibs!” said Andy Navage, horticulture director for the reserve.

“If you’re tired of the same plants you see at most garden centers, come and find something new,” he said. “It’s the gardeners ultimate garden store.”

Navage noted that there are many gardening and plant stores in the state, but no large specialty stores on the west side of the Puget Sound. In addition, he said that the sale at the reserve will bring together unique nurseries that are generally never in the same place at once.

“All of them are specialty nurseries that specialize in some cool and unusual plants,” Navage said.

Last year was the first plant sale hosted by the island’s public garden. It attracted approximately 1,300 customers.

Navage expects more this year.

Admission to the Bloedel Reserve will be free on both days of the sale. A portion of the proceeds will go to support the horticulture program at the reserve.

In addition to the sale, a series of lectures are scheduled to tickle the green thumbs of gardeners.

Kelly Dodson of the Far Reaches Farm will discuss shade plants and Riz Reyes from the University of Washington’s Botanic Garden will lecture on the “travels of a young gardener.”

A rare plant auction is also planned for 12:30 p.m. Sunday.

One example is a variety of a double trillium flowering plant that is sterile and can only propagate through division.

“It’s an incredibly rare plant,” Navage said. “It was collected in the Willamette Valley. All there is in existence is here.”

A list of the nurseries can be found on the reserve’s website at www.bloedelreserve.org/event-calendar/special-events.

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