Master Gardener Foundation sale lets moms pick own plants

Weekend event draws hundreds, many of them on Mother's Day

By Dave Kern, Columbian assistant metro editor

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photoMaster Gardner Foundation of Clark County volunteer Nancy Morgan checks people out at the Mother's Day Plant Sale at Heritage Farm on Sunday.

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photoA "Betty Risdon" variety of clematis was offered by the Silver Star Vinery of Dole Valley.

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Did you know?

The all-volunteer Master Gardener Foundation raises money for youth and educational programs, including 4-H, helps with efforts to feed the poor, supplies plants and money to the garden at Fort Vancouver, and supports the Master Gardener program, which offers advice to gardeners.

The foundation has 142 members and there are more than 300 Master Gardener volunteers in Clark County.

On the Web:

Master Gardener Foundation of Clark County

WSU Clark County Extension

Felida's Nhu Rakoz said she was loving her Mother's Day as she crammed plants into a red wagon at the Heritage Farm in Hazel Dell.

"I went crazy," she said of her purchases at the Master Gardener Foundation of Clark County sale.

So what is that beautiful potted plant in the wagon?

"It's only a dollar-fifty, that's all I know," she said, laughing, about what appeared to be a begonia.

Rakoz, 38, was getting help selecting plants from her son, Edward, 4, while husband Phil, 44, was dutifully watching 7-month-old Samuel in the stroller.

"This is my first time, and I always thought they (plants) were expensive," Nhu said, adding, "because I'm a plant killer."

The Rakoz family was among hundreds who took in the weekend sale at the former poor farm on 78th Street. Plants were selling for $1 and up. You could get a tree for $5. Eight vendors offered yard art, clematis, day lilies and other items.

The Master Gardener Foundation has eight greenhouses on the 79-acre farm and tends to plants year-round. The foundation rents space from Clark County, which owns the farm.

Organizers said the sale was a huge success, but did not have profit totals Sunday night.

"We've sold over 4,000 houseplants," said Nancy Funk of Vancouver. She is on the Master Gardener Foundation board and is in charge of the sale and manager of the greenhouses.

She said 4,000 annuals were sold, plus 150 hanging baskets, 4,000 4-inch pots of warm-season vegetables and more.

Tomatoes? Yep, they sold 4,867 4-inch pots and 154 in gallon pots. Oh yes, there were 52 varieties.

"Yesterday was crazy," Funk said. "We had several hundred people lined up to come in at 9 o'clock."

Happy moms

"This is the second load," Teresa Keating, 47, of Vancouver said, nodding to her wagon. "I've got tomatoes and peppers and melons. I already got my peonies and some annuals."

Keating said she was having a wonderful Mother's Day. "I've already had breakfast with my kids, Erik and Erin."

Chaney Compher, 31, was searching for a plant that would be perfect along a creek at her Camas home. It might be a canna grande, she said. She was there with her husband, Victor, and sons, Wyatt, 6, and Cale, 3.

"This is our first time (at the sale)," Compher said. "We had a good service at church. It's a good day."

Eve Hanlin, 16, a Battle Ground Master Gardener, was helping Elizabeth Phillips of Vancouver pick tomato plants.

Phillips called Hanlin "plant lady," and that was OK with Eve.

"It's fantastic," Hanlin said of being a Master Gardener. "It's one of the best things I've been able to take part in."

"This is what I love to do," said Hanlin, who is home-schooled. "Whatever I do is going to be garden-related."

Back to the happy shoppers: Giddy about her good fortune, Nhu Rakoz looked at the 14 plants in her wagon and said, "One for my mom and one for Phil's mom and the rest for me."