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2003-01-28 17:09:43

Horticultural Society of the Bahamas Plant Sale

Annual event at The Retreat

"Be one of the first in line for the opening of the Annual Horticultural Society of the Bahamas (HSB) Plant Sale, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sat., Feb1, at the Bahamas National Trust "Retreat Gardens", Village Rd. opposite Queenıs College," urges Mrs. Cindy Wilde, again chairman of the popular plant sale.

"Helping beautify the nation is one of our goals as a Society, now in its 20th year" says HSB President Eric Butler. The society plans an anniversary show April 26-27 at Queenıs College Auditorium. "The annual HSB plant sale is an outgrowth of our earliest shows. People kept asking if they could buy the prize winning plants. No one wanted to sell a prize winner, but we decided to add a plant sale to the show. The annual HSB Plant Sale developed from those first show sales, because at show time, most of us are too busy or too tired to cope with a lot of plants for sale. Nearly 20 years later, many of the plants at our Annual Plant Sale are descendants of those early prize winners.Many of them may go on to become prize winners in their own right," says Mrs. Sara Parker, a founding memberwho has donnated HSB publicity and advertising as a public service since the beginning 20 years ago.

Eric Butler adds that the plant sale check out system is faster now. "You just tear off your ticket and pay as you leave, with no long lists to check off," he explains. Former HSB President Cynthia Gibbs reminds, " Get there early because the best plants go fast. Some people bring trucks of plants to sell and take home a truck load of other memberıs plants. Itıs great fun. People even fly in from the Family Islands for this sale."

"Unusual plants, and lots of good advice, are offered every year at the HSB sale: Orchids, air plants on driftwood, rare fruit trees and shrubs, rare palms, roses and flowering trees, herbs and bedding plants.. This yearıs sale, set for Sat. Feb. 1, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., is again at OThe Retreat,ı home of The Bahamas National Trust. A special feature again will be rare palm seedlings with sales benefiting the Trust. There is no admission charge," says Chairman Cindy Wilde. Special features include water plants from Marina Greaves, Flamingo Nursery orchids, and special Bahamian foods by Mrs. Errol "Duke" Strachan.

"NO plants will be sold before 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1," according to Mrs. Wilde. She urges HSB members to bring plants as early as possible. Since 1999, plant hunters have started lining up shortly after 8 am outside the BNT Gates.

Plants range in price from less than a dollar to more than $100, depending on size and rarity. HSB members grow the plants and label them for sale, with 15 percent of the price going to the HSB treasury.

"The Annual Plant Sale is one of our most popular events, and one of our best fund raisers," says former Pres. David Higgs.

Flamingo Nursery will again offer an extensive orchid selection, with bare root cuttings from $2 up to established plants of $40 to $50 or more. Enthusiasts can expect large Phalaenopsis or "moth" orchids and cattleyas, the traditional "corsage orchid," plus a few unusual species for those who want to expand their collections, according to proprietors Coolidge and Nanette Cartwright, HSB members.

"HSB includes more than 100 members, including all the garden clubs, top horticulturalists and growers from many of the Family Islands, so this will be another plant sale to remember," says Errol ODukeı Strachan, award winning director of the National Youth Orchestra. He supplies substantial numbers of plants to the sale each year.

Of special interest each year at any HSB sale are dozens of dramatic bromeliads, from tiny Tillandsias or "air plants" to gigantic hybrids with a five-foot leaf spread. HSB members have had unusual access through the history of the club to the gardens and experiments of bromeliad expert and author Dr. Ulrich Beanch, who for many years donated or sold his extra plants to the Society for the plant sale. HSB members now often donate their own extras as inexpensive bare root plants for the Societyıs sales. Founded in 1984, the HSB features a field trip each year and produces a massive "Show of Horticultural Excellence" every other year. Meetings are held monthly, usually in the gardens of members.

By P.S.News/Features 

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