Benefit Plant Sales are at BRCC, Bullington - TribPapers

Benefit Plant Sales are at BRCC, Bullington

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Hendersonville – There are major benefit garden sales this month at Blue Ridge Community College on Saturday, April 22 and at Bullington Gardens on April 27-29.

BRCC is raising money for its Horticulture Department by selling what its students have grown.

There is a range of native and ornamental plants on sale on April 22. BRCC is selling more than 40 varieties of bedding plants that are perennials or annuals. They include dahlias, impatiens, begonias, marigolds, petunias, and zinnias.

The more than 50 varieties of vegetable start-up plants and melon plants include eggplant, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, carrot, kale, and sweet banana and other peppers. There are six squash varieties including Early Butternut, Spineless Beauty, and Sunburst Hybrid. The ten tomato varieties include Cherokee Purple, Pink Girl, Better Boy, Big Beef, and Sweet Million. The nine pepper varieties include Big Bertha PS Hybrid, Sweet Banana, and Thai Hot.

There are 14 herb varieties on sale. They include oregano, basil, dill, chives, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, and thyme. All BRCC herbs and vegetable “starts” are grown organically by students.

Jade and sedum are among the more than 30 cultivars of succulents on hand. Ground covers include Blue Star Creeper and Purple Heart. Hanging baskets will also be on sale.

BRCC plant purchases are only made with cash or check, not a credit card. Vendors will sell food and beverages on-site.

The sale is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in BRCC’s Bullington Greenhouse on the main Henderson County Campus in East Flat Rock. The greenhouse is off of East Campus Drive, near the Spearman and Molly Parkhill buildings and the HCPS Career Academy. This is near the eastern entrance off of South Allen Road, near I-26 and Upward Road.

Noted horticulturist Bob Bullington got two separate facilities named after him — BRCC’s Bullington Greenhouse, and Bullington Gardens, on what was his 12-acre home property in the Clear Creek Community north of Hendersonville.

Bullington Gardens

Bullington Gardens, a non-profit public botanical garden and a hands-on educational center, also raises money from plant sales. All sale proceeds go toward Bullington’s mission to “inspire children and adults in horticulture, natural sciences, and integrated disciplines.” Bullington Gardens works closely with Henderson County Public Schools, including to “enhance life skills” for those with “physical or mental challenges through horticultural therapy.”

Bullington’s specialty gardens include a fairy garden trail, a dahlia garden; and therapy, butterfly, shade, and native woodland gardens.

Bullington’s biggest seasonal plant sale is the spring sale held each April. This time, it is on Thursday-Saturday, April 27-29, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Credit cards are accepted. A Friend of Bullington donor gets 10 percent discounts on plant sales for a year, for a $40 membership.

Bullington horticultural volunteers grow trees, shrubs, and flowering, vegetable and herbal plants in the on-site greenhouse. Several master gardeners are on hand during the sale to guide shoppers such as what is best for shaded areas and which species need partial or full sun. There are both perennials that come back each year and one-year annuals. An emphasis is on native species, which are best for pollinating bees.

New Offerings

Bullington is known for offering varieties not easily found in stores, and has some new ones this time. Master gardener Linda Patterson said about species that “some are tried and true, while others bring new disease resistance with superior flavor” such as the juicy red Brandywise tomato plant. She said that it “pairs the rich heirloom flavor of Brandywine with Cornell’s cutting-edge resistance to Late Blight, Early Blight and Septoria Leaf Spot” diseases.

Also new to the sale are a willow shrub (Salix integra “Hakuro-nishiki”), and Candy Corn ® Spirea and Black Lace ® Sambucas Nigras plants. This dwarf willow shrub has weeping branches. It is dappled, meaning it is marked with spots and patches. It is deciduous, shedding leaves annually. It displays “striking pink stems and buds, surrounded by foliage mottled with white, green and pink highlights,” Patterson noted. The stems’ color persists in winter. It can be kept relatively small with regular pruning.

Candy Corn ® Spirea has a vivid contrast of dark purple flowers on pineapple yellow leaves, blooming in late spring to early summer. Its new leaves initially are bright candy apple red or orange. They turn yellowish when maturing.

Candy Corn ® craves full sun, but can tolerate light shade. It grows up to two feet tall and 30 inches wide. It is hailed as nearly pest- and disease-free. It attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Deer tend to ignore it rather than snack on it. 

The durable Black Lace ® has intense purple-black foliage that is finely cut like lace, as in a Japanese maple tree. Flowers are pink, contrast with dark leaves, and bloom in early summer. Blackberries can emerge if a compatible pollinator shrub is nearby.

Several favorite perennials at Bullington Gardens have improved cultivars. New this year are “Pink-a-Blue” pulmonaria, Ballerina Pink” salvia, and Ultraviolet phlox.

Bullington, as usual, sells distinctive species with a proven track record of surviving in the local mountain climate. The Katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) “Claim Jumper” smells like cotton candy in the fall. It has golden, heart-shaped foliage and can grow to 30 feet high and 15 feet wide.

Unique herbs and vegetable starts include Poamoho Dark Eggplant and Chocolate Pear Tomato.

Bullington Gardens is at 95 Upper Red Oak Trail, its own road. It is off Zeb Corn Road, which turns north off of Howard Gap Road near U.S. 64 East.