No Seedling Left Behind. Not a One.

5/11/2010 UPDATE: DIVIDE & CONQUER COUNTDOWN

Four days and counting before the 7th Annual Driveway Plant Sale (Saturday, May 15th, 9:00 AM). Things get a little crazy at this point, and I have to hold back from digging up the rest of the yard and adding it to the “inventory.” Several rituals have developed over the years, and one is to give the uprooted plants a week of settling before the sale day so that if something’s going to die, it dies on me and not its new owner. Looks like the final headcount is between 700-800 plants; so far only one flat has been identified as weeds (neighbor Claudia, using her gentle voice, saying, “I bet you thought that was basil”). Price stickers: check. Coffee: check. Mom lined up to act as cashier: check.

4/21/2010: AND SO IT BEGINS

For the seventh year in a row, I’m digging up the volunteers, dividing the out-of-control perennials, and potting them all up for my Divide & Conquer driveway sale. D-Day is May 15, three weeks away, and I’m up to 201 pots (my all-time high was 900). What’s different this year? Spillover from Triangulation Farm, the organic community garden plot we maintain over at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education. So there are more veggies and herbs this time around, but still, the bulk of my “inventory” is from many early years of overpurchasing — at Russell Gardens Wholesale Nursery, Produce Junction, and Primex — as well as from the glorious dumpster dives at the now-defunct Frank’s.

Hard to imagine that the wacky weather — multiple blizzards, strange blasts of summer, rain of the Noah’s Ark variety — would have positive results, but I swear there are more hellebore seedlings than ever, ferns out the wazoo, and beefy perennials looking robust and ready to thin out. An added incentive for all this pruning and reshaping is the moment of temporary insanity during which I said yes to Syd Carpenter’s request that I join her as one of the stops on the May 23rd Garden Conservancy Open Days Tour. What was I thinking?