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What Can You Find at an Extension Service Plant Sale?

May 2, 2009


I was no match for the buying frenzy at our local Extension Service Plant Sale.  I showed up 10 minutes after the start time and people were leaving with wagons full of plants already.  By the time I had a chance to peruse through the native, shade, sun, edible, grasses, and herb selections, all that was left were scraggly, unrecognizable sprouts.  Since I’m growing most of my edibles from seed, I didn’t buy any veggies or berries this year.  So I ventured over to the garden art section instead.  See more fun stuff and creative ideas on my Flickr Set.

Cool stuff I bought or collected at the Extension Plant Sale:

ryan_beard21. Three Leaf Stakes from metal artist Ryan Beard.

Ryan was [and still is] a super cool guy to talk with on a chilly Saturday morning.  He specializes in custom, functional metal art for the home and garden.  I plan to string up a trellis between my metal leaf stakes for the Hyacinth Bean seeds I received from one of my Twitter pals @JessHibb.

Ryan makes these really cool river rock stools, not pictured here, framed with metal rods.  I’m thinking of adding a couple around my patio fireplace to complete my urban campfire scene. He also makes a rusty-chic table that’s perfect for holding a favorite chilled beverage after a long day slaving in the garden.  Check out more of Ryan’s work on his website One Sun Metal Works.

2. Book: Grow Your Own Food Made Easy

Buy Now at aHa! Modern Living


Nutritious Organic Produce from Your Own Garden:  A Step-by-Step Guide. C. Forrest McDowell and Tricia Clark-McDowell are the same author’s of the world’s most popular composting guide: Home Composting Made Easy. [See my review The Easiest Compost Guide Ever]

What will you get out this 67-page paperback book?  A low-cost guide to creating a safe, healthy, nutritional backyard, or frontyard, garden.  There is a great look-at-a-glance table of Nutritional Information [eg. serving size, calories, vitamins, protein, calcium, etc], Best Time to Harvest and Storage & Eating Tips for every veggie in the book. There’s also a planting plan for a High Nutrition Sampler Garden and the 13 Most Nutritious Vegetables.

3.  One Plant Nanny

Buy now at


I hadn’t ever seen one of these in person, and actually thought they were kind of ridiculous and gimmicky.  But seeing it here with a Helleborus, I started to think I should buy about 50 of them.  I will be going on vacation soon for two weeks and was wondering how to keep all my containers well watered and happy. Eureka!  The Plant Nanny to the rescue.

Advantages of a Plant Nanny:
Water less often
Use water more efficiently
Know when to water
Grow roots deeper
Stress less while on vacation!

4.  Book: Water-efficient Plants for the Willamette Valley

View online guide or order free copy at


At the same booth as the Plant Nanny, I received this free plant guide courtesy of EWEB, our local Water & Electric Board.  The guide offers 7 basics steps to achieve water efficiency for you landscape: Planning and Design, Compost and Cultivate, Create Functional Turf Area, The Right Plant in the Right Place, Water Wisely, The Use of Mulch, and lastly, Keep Up the Maintence. Check our your local water management company to see if they have a similar guide to offer your community.

Our area has a “Mediterranean-type climate, which is characterized by cold, wet winters and dry, warm summers.”  A garden lovers dream!  The book also offers water-wise plant choices in 7 different categories.

My TOP 10 favorite water-wise plants [ & my pairings]

  • Vine Mape Acer circinatum maybe a small, multi-stemmed tree [paired with Iris, Spirea gold mound, heavenly bamboo]
  • Japanese Red Pine Pinus densiflora upright pine tree with an open habit of growth. Great for coastal regions
  • Japanese Barberry Berberis thunbergii small leaves give this plant a fine texture
  • Flowering Currant Ribes sanguineum spring flowers, upright shrub [trying to figure out where can squeeze in]
  • Common Yarrow Achillea millefolium summer flowers, fine-textured foliage [paired with catmint, Jupiter’s Beard, Mexican Feather Grass, among others in parking strip]
  • Purple Cone Flower Echinacea purpurea many flowers in late summer and fall [paired with whatever edibles – don’t care if many think overused]
  • Gaura Gaura lindheimeri long bloom period during summer [used to be paired with rosemary – ruined by contractor]
  • Jerusalem Sage Phlomis fruticosa woolly gray-green leaves 6-8 inches long [paired with Mexican Feather Grasses, Purple Sages, Black-eyed Susans – want to add an artichoke!]
  • Oregano Origanum vulgare low, spreading, small-leaved herb [paried with other herbs and edibles]
  • Star Jasmine Trachelospermum jasminoides fragrant flowers, glossy, dark green leaves [paired my my DIY modern trellis]

5.  One Scrappy Bug by metal artist Ian Beyer

ian_beyerIan was another fun guy I ran into at the plant sale.  I love his talent for turning scrap metal into quirky [a term I prefer over whimsical – we’re not talking fairies here] metal bugs that have such expression and personality.  I didn’t buy the one pictured with Ian, see my winged buggy friend here.  I wish bug statues could scare bugs away like scarecrows scare birds away.  See more of his metal bugs and garden sculptures on my Flickr Set.

I regretfully lost his business card [I think the washer devoured it] so I can’t post a link to his website for more information.  I can’t even find him by searching Google!  So Ian, if you are reading this, post a comment or find my contact information on our About Us page.

19 Comments leave one →
  1. May 2, 2009 6:24 pm

    Your extension service plant sales are a lot more interesting than ours. 🙂 Those metal leaf stakes look really cool!

  2. May 3, 2009 1:23 pm

    Sorry, I’m the Ian Beyer that’s clogging up your search results, since I tend to run at the mouth online (I found this post through a Google alert)… But I’d love to see more about my namesake who makes quirky art. So, if you’re out there, Other Ian, we’d love to hear from you. I’m @cyberentomology on twitter.

    Where are you located? I’m a bit of a plant fan myself, and there’s also another Ian Beyer who is the curator of plants at one of the Royal Botanic Gardens in the UK.

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