Roots and Shoots: Anticipating the Spring Plant Sale

These have been trying times, to say the least, and many of us have renewed our interest – and found solace – in our gardens.

Cercis canadensis,
Cercis canadensis, "The Rising Sun"

The Landis 2020 Fall Plant Sale, held under Department of Health guidelines, brought out many gardeners, both novice and experienced. We expect them both at the 2021 Spring Sale, held on May 15th and 16th. On May 14th, Friday evening’s “Pick of the Pots” returns. For Arboretum members only, the event will feature one-of-a-kind and rare plants, as well as the entire inventory, before the sale opens to the public. Unfortunately, due to COVID restrictions we will not be able to offer our usual complementary food and beverages, but bottled water will be available.Not a member? Sign up at the gate!

At the last sale, one plant stood out as the most requested item: Cercis canadensis ‘The Rising Sun".

This redbud tree has a colorful leaf display throughout the growing season. The leaves, deep burgundy when they first emerge, then change to a peach-orange. The color then morphs into a peachy-yellow, finally fading to a yellow-green. All of the color stages are displayed at the same time, as new leaves emerge at tip of the branch as older leaves change near the trunk. Due to shortages in the nurseries, we were able to procure only one tree, but we hope to have more available this year. To help make that possible, we encourage plant sponsorships.

The Plant Sponsorship Program allows patrons to make a donation to procure unique trees and shrubs from family-owned growers. ‘The Rising Sun’ redbud was purchased through this program.

Please consider donating to help increase the availability of incredible plant specimens by contacting our office by mail: PO Box 186, Esperance, NY, 12066, email: or phone at 518-875-6935.

To increase our unique plant offerings, we are starting a new Customer Request Program. To participate, contact our office with a suggestion for a specific plant, or category of plants. Knowing preferences allows our buyers to make better decisions at the nurseries. For example, we are already looking for more redbud cultivars based on the response to ‘The Rising Sun’’. Also on our list are new cultivars of lilacs and hydrangeas, ones that have longer bloom times or are more cold tolerant. Similarly, we will expand our “Small Shrubs for Small Spaces” category, offering plants that are 1 to 3 feet tall and wide upon maturity. And our volunteer greenhouse staff and specialty consigners are planning to grow a wide assortment of vegetables, herbs, and perennials.

This year we are expanding our relationship with the students and staff at SUNY Cobleskill, who have been contributing small shrubs and trees for years. This spring they will grow annuals like vinca, penta, lobelia, and nicotiana in flats. Other offerings include bigger plants: 4” pots of annuals like petunia and gomphrena, or 6” pots of gerbera daisy and ranunculus. Also look for 2.5 gallon pots of trellised morning glories. Some hanging baskets will feature combinations of petunia, calibrachoa, lobelia, bacopa, verbena, and trailing plants such as dichondra and lysimachia. Others will feature just one type of plant such as Boston Fern, chenille plant, or black-eyed Susan vine. Look for miniature houseplant succulents in 1” – 2” clay pots -- very charming.


Furthermore, we expect a greater selection of pollinator-friendly plants -- annuals such as lantana, heliotrope, salvia, and cuphea. Cuphea sports a red-orange, long, tubular flower that is especially attractive to hummingbirds. The perennial selection will include many natives, some of which you may not recognize. Many of our volunteer gardeners make it a rule to try one new-to-them item every year so their plant knowledge continues to grow as their plants do.

Shortly before the sale, we will send an email updating our plant assortment, including rare and unusual plants. Please remember that the one-of-a-kinds will sell out quickly, so consider becoming a member to take advantage of our Friday Pick-of-the-Pots evening. At this year’s sale, as usual, you can count on our experts with advice on plant types and growing tips to assist you in becoming a more savvy gardener in no time!

Spring 2021

Volume 39 , Number 1

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