By Anna Lothson
Plant enthusiasts mark your calendars — the annual Oak Park Conservatory plant sale is back this weekend.
The 24th annual event kicks off with the members-only sale from 2 to 7 p.m., Friday. The public sale runs the following day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Customers can select from a wide assortment of flowers, vegetables, vines, ground covers, annuals and perennials. Almost all the plants were grown in the conservatory greenhouses.
"Whether you garden in full sun or deep shade, in your own back yard, in window boxes or a community garden you are sure to find the perfect plants," a news release about the event reads.
Plants are grouped into three main categories: edible, ornamental and shade. The sale features a veritable feast of tomatoes, squash, peppers and much more. A selection of culinary herbs will help you create an international buffet of taste sensations. The ornamental selections reflect a rainbow of possibilities including glorious coral bells, beautiful lantana and graceful bleeding hearts.
Plants come in gallons, 6- and 4-inch pots, plus 4 packs. Also available are baskets filled with lettuce or overflowing with blooming plants. Customers can view the full catalog online at: fopcon.org. Those who are not conservatory members and want to shop on Friday may join that day or on the website. Memberships include shopping for one with an individual membership ($25), for two with a family membership ($45) or premier membership ($100).
Also coming up at the conservatory is the Spring Perennial & Seeding Exchange on Saturday, May 11. This event allows gardeners to share their favorite perennials at the Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory sponsored annual plant exchange. Participants can drop off materials from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the conservatory and plants are picked up from noon to 12:30 p.m.
Another popular event is the Garden Walk, held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, June 30. This year marks the 20th annual Garden Walk, which includes a self-guided tour that begins at the Oak Park Conservatory. This year's Garden Walk will feature eight Oak Park and River Forest gardens. Tickets go on sale on June 1.
Tickets purchased the day of the walk are available only at the Oak Park Conservatory where all tickets are exchanged for a Garden Guide. The Garden Walk is a joint educational fundraiser for the Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory and the Garden Club of Oak Park/River Forest.