Each year on Mother’s Day weekend in May, Friends School of St. Paul has the biggest fundraising plant sale in Minnesota, perhaps even in the Midwest! Over 1,900 varieties of plants are offered for sale on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I happily discover heirloom hard-to-find plant varieties to supplement the plants that I start on my own from heirloom seeds. The offerings are extremely reasonably priced. This year my sister, Rita, and I will be volunteering at the event.
The 2008 sale will be held May 9-11. The hours are:
- Friday, May 9, from 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
- Saturday, May 10, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Sunday, May 11, from 12 noon-4 pm. Sunday is half price.
The sale is held in the Minnesota State Fair’s Grandstand Building. Free parking is available anywhere on the Fairgrounds, but especially in the Midway, which is located just southwest of the Grandstand.
Offered is a full line of annuals, perennials, climbing plants, native wildflowers, and vegetables, as well as water plants, roses, and trees and shrubs. A catalog of 2008 offerings is available for reference, with PDF versions available in the catalog section of the site. I find it helpful to formulate a list of desired plants by browsing the catalog in advance, as well as familiarizing myself with the layout of the sale. There is a sale setup diagram in the catalog. It is a well-attended event so, even though there is some opportunity for browsing to glean some unexpected finds, plants fly off the shelves and you don't want to be disappointed with being greeted by a sold out sign.
Printed versions of the catalog are mailed around April 1 each year to anyone on their mailing list or can be found at many libraries, coffee shops and natural food co-ops in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. If you’d like to get on the mailing list for next year, email: firstname.lastname@example.org– include “add to plant sale list” in the reference line.
Entirely volunteer-run, you can become a volunteer (which gives the added incentive of being able to shop at the pre-sale Thursday event). Signups are open February 1 through the week of the sale.