It’s hard to believe people get this crazy about a plant sale, but apparently this is true.
One day every spring, before dawn, the line starts forming outside of Vancouver’s VanDusen Botanical Garden. People camp out with lawn chairs, carrying blankets to keep them warm. Some bring picnic baskets to enjoy an alfresco breakfast, sipping orange juice and nibbling muffins. Many have their own wheelbarrows.
As the sun rises and the hours go by, the line swells.
Thousands will join the queue over the course of the morning, snaking in an enormous line outside the garden. Then, when 10 a.m. rolls around and the gates are officially thrown open, chaos breaks out. Imagine Walmart on Black Friday. Within 15 minutes, more than 1,000 people race inside, elbowing for position and jockeying to get to the head of the pack.
And for what?
Plants. Herbs and vegetables. Roses. Grasses. Vines. Trees. Shrubs. Perennials. Natives. More than 40,000 plants in total wait inside – part of the biggest, baddest plant sale in Metro Vancouver.
Sound like your idea of fun? The VanDusen Plant Sale returns this Sunday, April 29, starting at 10 a.m. sharp and running to 4 p.m. In total, 10,000 people are expected to attend, making this the Woodstock of all plant sales – an over-the-top blowout for hardcore green thumbs and hobby gardeners alike.
The theme this year is – get ready – small space gardens. Each section of the plant sale will highlight plants meant for containers and tight spaces. The idea is to showcase plants suitable for the growing number of Metro Vancouverites living in apartments, condos and townhouses.
Of course, there will also be thousands and thousands of non-container plants on sale. Everything is organized into neat categories and lovingly cared for by an army of some 400 volunteers. Proceeds from the plant sale go to the VanDusen Botanical Garden Association, a non-profit charity. Any remaining plants at the end of the day (and there aren’t that many) are donated to seniors’ residences and long-term care facilities.
Planning to go? Be sure to bring a wheelbarrow or something to cart home your purchases. Parking is at a premium, so walking or mass transit may be a good idea. Admission to VanDusen Botanical Garden is free on Plant Sale Day, so you might consider bringing friends and family to explore the world-class 22-hectare garden right in the heart of Vancouver.
Anyone been to Plant Sale Day before? How was it?