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RRA Plant Sale – A Perennial for Everyone

May/June 2014

By Jackie Borchew

If plants make you happy, then Riverwoods was the place to be this past week as the annual plant sale committee filled Village Hall with perennials, trees and shrubs for this year’s sale.

On a very wet and chilly Thursday morning the first trucks arrived delivering perennial orders that residents had carefully selected based on their property type – sunny, shady, wet or dry soil, formal or natural woodland landscape among other considerations. Trucks were filled to the brim with native perennials of all types that the committee and their loyal volunteers eagerly met and unloaded in those early soggy hours.

Next came the loads of trees and shrubs, ordered to take full advantage of the village cost-share program. (A program where the village will split the cost with a resident when they purchase from a list of native trees and shrubs that will enhance the health and beauty of the woodland environment.)

And the tallies are in – The most popular variety of perennial ordered this year was Monarda, the ‘Petite Delight’ variety. This perennial grows tall and stands out in any garden with it’s variety of colors and ability to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The most ordered tree was the Redbud, and the most popular shrub goes to the Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ followed closely by Lindera benzoin (Spicebush). And let’s not forget the most popular wildflower this year, Allium cernuum (Nodding Onion).

Among these winners, were plenty of beautiful Helleborus orientalis (Lenton Rose), I admired the Stylophorum (Celadine Poppy) of which I have ordered in the past with much success. Even today it is spreading throughout the shady woodland behind my house. One more of my favorites, the Miscanthus purpurescens (Flame Grass) is a beautiful statement if you have the sun that it desires.

Well if this all sounds confusing, and you wonder just how does one begin to select which plants work best for your property, it is a trial and error process. As the plant sale ladies tell me . . . “ You just need to love plants and experiment.” I have been experimenting and I think I may be hooked.

Many of our residents are ‘hooked’ as I saw them return to the “extra” room filled with just that, extras for sale on the day of the community barbecue following the initial plant sale pick up day.

This annual barbecue and clean up day is a chance for neighbors to come together after a long hard winter and just smell the roses, or should I say perennials. The grill is fired up and residents mingle outside village hall just catching up. This year RRA offered an informative table as did the South Lake Mosquito Abatement District. Offering information on a topic near and not so dear to Riverwoods residents - the mosquito. Mayor Norris displayed the proposed renderings for a renovated Village Hall and was happy to point out some special features. There were a few Orphans of the Storm dogs to meet, none of which were adopted, but an outing is always appreciated.

When everyone had their fill of barbecue, they headed home to plant those perennials, trees and shrubs to enjoy until we do it all again next year.

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