Prepping for the Hovander Plant Sale


What: 27th Annual WSU Extension Master Gardeners Plant Sale

When: 9 am Sat., May. 12

Where: Hovander Homestead Park, Ferndale

Info: http://www.whatcom.wsu.edu

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Lady of the House isn’t too keen on church-going, but she does have a sacred space she attends with pious fidelity—her garden. Within this botanical diocese of heavenly flower beds and divine shrubbery she takes trowel and pruning shears in hand and induces a preponderance of horticultural miracles.

From street frontage to the alley fence, every nook and cranny around our antediluvian domicile bears the signature of her efflorescent touch. 

Stately ferns and riotous perennials festoon our brick-lined front walkway with genial vigor. A lilac tree overarches the side gate, infusing the atmosphere with paroxysms of color and fragrance. 

A queen-sized bed of bearded irises basks so commandingly in front of our booming Indian plum hedge that it frequently causes passersby to stop and pay their regards.

Paradisiacal though our little slice of Eden is, the grounds here are no mere altarpiece. Along with possessing the proven ability to propagate showy spectacles, my lady lends her green thumbs into cultivating subsistence agriculture, too.

Integrating the methodological constructs of sustainable urban farming into a decorative landscape while simultaneously keeping a flock of backyard chickens at bay is the definitive priority we adhere to in the “farmstead” portion of our estate.

It is here—while building raised beds, cobbling together poultry-proof barriers and performing intensive bouts of shovel-and-pick-based recontouring work—that my skills and service as a longtime trail worker allow me to contribute most handily to the viability of our DIY operation.

Among the considerable list of seasonally dependent benchmarks I am obliged to meet in my capacity as self-proclaimed Yard Boss, prepping for the annual plant sale at Hovander Homestead Park rates as top priority.

Taking place on the second Saturday of May in Ferndale, this seminal fundraising event hosted by Master Gardeners of Whatcom County features specialty perennials, herbs, native plants and hand-grafted fruit trees—all for sale in quantity at reasonable prices.

Of course, fervid devotees to the nightshade family (a category of gardeners to which my lady indisputably belongs) would deem it unpardonably remiss if I neglected to mention our local chapter of Master Gardeners owns a well-deserved reputation for promulgating multitudinous varieties of locally grown tomato starts.

Many years of experience have taught me that upon our return from the Hovander Plant Sale, our vegetable beds can be expected to absorb the installation of as many two or three dozen tomato starts.

In order to thrive, these fruit-bearing vines need plenty of sunshine. And, even more problematic, they must immediately be secured from the marauding instincts of free-range chickens.

Which is why this year—thanks to all the salvage wood I’ve dutifully repurposed from our wind-toppled maple—the once semi-permeable borders of our vegetable beds have been fortified behind a contiguous network of gated log enclosures. I call it Fort Hovander. She calls it Fort Cluckity-Cluck.

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