2014 … 31st Edition – The more the “Marion”
This year’s PlantFest! (like the Teaser that precedes it) will be all about Marion Drummond replete with a special section at the plant sale proper featuring plants grown from cuttings collected from her garden and a purple PlantFest! t-shirt.
Marion is remembered for many things, among them: her hard head, her soft heart, and her green thumb. One of her signature talents was gathering people and using her wiles to persuade them to take on tasks they never knew they could or wanted to do. That tenacious enthusiasm, while daunting to some, was more often than not welcomed wholeheartedly by people and groups whose cause she saw fit to champion. Hilltop was fortunate to be counted among them. She will be sorely missed, but not easily forgotten.
Marion was, shall we say, forcefully adept at finding the perfect match for her peeps and their prospective plants. The annual fall plant sale celebrates that mantra by bringing people and plants together in the unique natural space that is Emory Smith’s Hilltop. It is dedicated to supporting our ongoing efforts to develop the site and the educational programs and projects of the Arboretum. There is no event in our impressive program roster that better shouts what Hilltop, and Marion, are all about.
Our horticultural promenade will be led by the delightfully eclectic cadre of volunteers, affectionately known as “Hodge Podge”, who oversee Hilltop’s on-site nursery. Their combined understanding and appreciation of Hilltop, all plants in general … and native plants in particular … is laced with a generous dollop of funk, a pinch of pluck, and a flair for the unique. All this and more is folded with finesse into the impressive diversity of plant materials featured at the sale.
Brace yourself for a botanical “all you can tweet” plant feast … trees, shrubs, perennials, vines, ferns, fruits, gingers, camellias, incredible edibles, ornamental grasses, and more that run the gamut from native and traditional to eclectic and electric newcomers.
This year, the already singular Hodge Podge Collection will feature select plants grown from cuttings gathered from Marion’s garden to augment the prized pass-alongs, and the choice plants donated by Friends and fans. To spice up the mix, additional plants are imported from a diversity of nurseries located in Alabama, Texas, and Florida, as well as Louisiana. Well over 5,000 plants will be assembled representing 600 different species … some making their debut at Hilltop this year.
With smiles to go before they’re done, “Marion-ettes”; landscape architects, contractors and designers; arborists; horticultural specialists; growers; plantsmen and women; Master Gardeners … all will be on hand to help you sidestep anything that might clog your gardens arteries. Display vignettes that make “scents”, bedazzle with color, or speak to those who want to go native or attract butterflies will help you get growing and suggest just the right dosage for your space.
To put even more “fun” in the “Fest!”, the Hilltop Gift Shop will be joined by specialty plant and craft vendors to meet all the needs of gardeners and their gardens … books, garden tools, ironwork, woodcraft and just about anything you might need for the birds.
To help staunch the pinch on your pocketbook, we offer both a tax and a membership incentive. For the two days of the sale we avail ourselves of and pass along to you the special fundraiser exemption from city and state tax offered qualifying non-profits. This will apply to plant purchases only. Current Friends of Hilltop members get an additional 10% discount on Hilltop plants purchased during the two days of the sale.
One week prior to the sale, check the website for a list of the plants being offered at the 2014 PlantFest!