Although the end of the school year is just around the corner, it’s not too late to start thinking about a summer garden or even to grow a plant in your dorm room.
The 15-year-old Gardeners of Cheney club held their annual spring plant sale event last Saturday, May 17, selling a variety of shrubs and flowers such as Primroses. Charles Kenfield, a member of the club for eight years, says a good place to start shopping for that perfect plant is at the supermarket.
“One of the good things about plants that the supermarkets have done is that they’ve brought a lot of interesting plants into popularity,” he said.
Kenfield began collecting unusual plants from markets a couple years ago. One time he bought an unknown plant that had just one leaf. It turns out it was a six-foot-tall banana tree. Cheney is designated as part of hardiness zone six out of 11 according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That means it’s right in the middle between the coldest of climates and the tropical climates. Any plant in zone six and higher will survive here.
When thinking about gardening, you might want to think about the native plants that grow in the area. Eastern Washington is home to dozens of native vegetation including the purple sage, prairie star, camas and nootka rose, all of which bloom this month.
Marge Swenson, member of Gardeners of Cheney and owner of Swenson’s Gardens and Nursery, says one of her favorite flowers are geraniums because of the enormous variety, but she also loves camas and the gaillardia. “These are hardy, drought-tolerant, brightly-colored perennials that bloom almost all summer long,” she said, something that many flowers don’t do. The Gardeners of Cheney is an organization for vegetation lovers to discuss plants. “What we do is we have meetings once a month that are a combination of business, education and just plain fun and good food,” said Kenfield.
The sale event raises money for the club and the scholarship it awards to students of horticulture in high school and college. Of course, the amount awarded in funds depends on the success of their sales events in spring and fall.
The club averages $800 for spring sales and $500 for fall sales, says club treasurer Ralph Laws, but those numbers fluctuate year to year due to weather. For more information on the Gardeners of Cheney, visit www.geocities.com/gardenersofcheney or call Marge Swenson at Swenson’s Gardens and Nursery at (509) 838-3966 for questions on plants and gardens.