For the third successive year, ABC partnered with the Sunshine Community Garden (SCG) of Austin (http://www.main.org/sunshine/index.html) to grow herbs for its annual plant sale on Saturday, March 5, 2005. SCG purchased the pots, soil, and labels for the culinary and medicinal herbs ABC grew. ABC staff, interns, and volunteers planted seeds, transplanted seedlings into 4” pots, rooted cuttings of perennial herbs from ABC gardens, and kept all plants watered and fertilized from November until the sale.
The Saturday of the plant sale dawned cool and cloudy, but that didn’t keep away the faithful gardeners who come each year to buy organically grown heirloom tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, herbs, and various other garden plants. By 9:00 a.m., when the gates opened, hundreds of eager customers swarmed through the greenhouses and tents, gathering up their purchases. ABC representatives were kept busy answering questions and restocking plants, caught up in the excitement of the shoppers. Included in the plant choices were 50 varieties of tomatoes, 30 varieties of peppers, 15 varieties of eggplant, 10 varieties of basil, and close to 100 species of herbs. Some of the more popular plants that ABC sold were vanilla orchids (Vanilla planifolia Jacks., Orchidaceae), eight varieties of garlic (Allium sativum L., Liliaceae), African or Aztec marigold (Tagetes erecta L., Asteraceae), Mexican or sweet-scented marigold (Tagetes lucida Cav., Asteraceae), belamcanda, aka blackberry lily or leopard lily ( Belamcanda chinensis [L.] DC., Iridaceae), purple coneflower ( Echinacea purpurea [L.] Moench., Asteraceae), East Indian lemon grass (Cymbopogon flexuosus [Nees ex Steud.] J.F. Watson, Poaceae), and various species of Oregano and Salvia.
Kudos to ABC gardener Nathanael (Nate) Sponseller for his enthusiasm and constant care of the plants; to ABC volunteer, Jayne Waldron, for all her hard work transplanting and transporting plants; to longtime ABC employee George Solis for always being willing to contribute his time, strength, and truck to projects like this; and to University of Texas Pharmacy intern Meredith Podraza for so cheerfully helping out at the event and for moving every plant at least five times. Special thanks to the Cech family at Horizon Herbs (http://www.horizonherbs.com/) for their generous contribution of seeds every time ABC requests them, and without which ABC’s gardens and ABC’s participation in this sale would not be possible. Thanks also to Bob Anderson at Gourmet Garlic Gardens (http://www.gourmetgarlicgardens.com/) for his generous contribution of varietal garlics.