by Leslie Cox; Friday, April 29, 2016

Astrantia major 'Claret'It is Plant Sale season! So much like Garage Sales where the fun is in the search for that special treasure. And believe me, there are plant treasures to be found as we have a few in our garden.

However, you must be very careful about the plant you are bringing into your garden!

Sadly, there are some pretty noxious weeds “out there” and they can sometimes, unintentionally, wind up in the pot with the plant destined for the plant sale. It only takes a tiny piece of root, easily missed, to spread a noxious weed.

Just to be sure you are not introducing an extra plant to your garden, here are some steps to follow first before you “slip” your treasure into its new spot:

  1. Tip your plant over an empty bucket and tease as much of the soil out of the plant roots as possible.
  2. Transfer the soil to a garbage bag.
  3. Holding the plant over the bucket, gently wash the roots with a shower of water from the hose. Or fill the bucket with some water and swish the roots to remove all traces of soil.
  4. Make sure all soil is removed and there are no “loose” roots tangled up with the roots of your plant.
  5. Now…go ahead and plant your treasure!

One caveat to this tip: You only need to do this if you are not sure about the potting soil used.

Far better to be safe rather than sorry when we are talking about some of those noxious weeds, like horsetail and morning glory in our region…to name but two.

If you are buying a plant from someone’s garden sale, it never hurts to ask if they have used bagged potting soil or their own compost for potting up the sale plants. And hopefully, you can take a peek at some of their garden beds to see if there are any noxious weeds showing.

If you are attending a church or school plant sale, best to follow the steps mentioned. Believe me, I know. We have one area in our garden where I chase after ten horsetails every year. Cannot seem to completely eradicate them, as their roots go down too deep. And one has a rhododendron shrub on top of it. Removing them when they rear their spear-like heads keeps them under control so they do not spread, but it is a chore I dare not ever cross off my List. If I miss digging them out for one season, I could have double the number to deal with the following year.