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Diary Article 12.

The Spring Plant Sales Day.

It wasn’t the best of days for the plant sale as there were heavy April showers although it was the middle of May! Fortunately there had been a dry spell beforehand so the big field didn’t get too muddy too quickly with all the cars on it and there were a lot of cars. It was quite amazing just how many people turned up considering the weather, but apparently the event did get a fair bit of publicity from the local press and radio stations which was much appreciated.
The centre was well geared up for the day with over 20 volunteers helping out. Admittedly, I was only taking bags of compost across the field and up to peoples cars and another volunteer spent all his time cutting cardboard boxes in half and then sealing them up with tape to make 2 boxes out of one so that they would go further for packing plants in for more people! But it was all helping the event to go a little more smoothly.

In a way the late Spring helped the days sales as the cold weather had deterred most people from putting in a lot of their bedding plants earlier, consequently they were more keen to buy on the open day as they hadn’t already planted up their gardens. On the other hand some of the plants were a bit smaller and more compact than usual because the cold weather had slowed down their growth and stopped them from getting leggy. One thing that had grown a little too well were all the Angelica seedlings that I had donated to the centre some months back. They had been potted up individually and looked really good plants, but there was not a lot of interest and only a few were sold. Everything else seemed to be flying out and most of the time there was a shortage of trollies. The staff had tied plastic crates onto wheelbarrows to make more trollies available, but there still weren’t really enough and people were almost fighting over them when they were left empty at the till! Just for the day, the charity had hired a mobile credit card machine to make it easier for people to pay, but it had come at an extortionate charge from the bank with no dispensation made although it was for a charity! Having said that the card machine was used quite a lot, especially for many of the bigger purchases, so it did pay for itself in spite of the cost.
The till had been set up in the main barn that had been cleared of the cows and everything else! Freshly painted white walls made it look quite smart for the day. It was definitely not how it usually looked!

The proper car park was reserved for disabled people and on one side of it Sir Fred’s mini fairground organ and puppet show was set up. It looked very impressive when the operator got it going, but when I saw him setting it up he was making some MINOR and DELICATE adjustments with a big screwdriver and a BIG hammer!
As people came from the main car park in the field they came to a table and much needed gazebo sheltering it from the rain where a Raffle had been set up. Then in another one of the barns, further down there was a tom bola along with a little pot plant stall selling things like Aspidistra and Cacti. The Café did better than last year, probably because people wanted hot cups of coffee and hot snacks to warm them up before they went home. Having said that, the day was a real success as the planted baskets and general plant sales were way up on last year in spite of the weather.

There were quite a few plants left, but hopefully those people who were put off from going on the big “Plant Sales Day,” because of the weather, may pay a visit over the next week or two and buy some of the lovely plants that they have remaining.

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