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Mesa Verde Gardeners’ plant sale returns to Cortez Memorial Day weekend

Mesa Verde Gardeners prepare for the annual plant sale. It's Saturday, May 28, in the Front Row Seat parking lot, behind City Market at 610 E. Main St.
Annual rite of spring kick-starts residents’ growing season

Mesa Verde Gardeners will hold their 12th annual plant show Saturday morning in Cortez, selling vegetables and flowers to kick-start a garden and raising funds to boost local horticultural efforts.

A wide variety of plants will be offered Memorial Day weekend, including tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, herbs, petunias, marigolds, daisies, penstemon and columbine.

“The sale has become an event in Cortez,” said organizer Ann Streett-Joslin.

It runs 8:30 to 11 a.m. at 610 E. Main St. in the Front Row Seat parking lot behind City Market.

The nonprofit’s sale helps to raise funds for the club and to “support area horticultural entities and continuing education for local gardeners.”

Proceeds also go to food and garden organizations such as Farm to School, the Good Samaritan Center and Third Street Pocket Park.

On Saturday, Streett-Joslin said, look for club members dressed in aprons. Most members wear purple aprons, but anyone wearing an apron will be available to help, she said.

The sale is the culmination of months of preparation.

In fall and spring, members gather to pot perennials in anticipation of the sale. The club also holds “potting parties” to pot baby plants, which will be sold in quart-size pots.

“Many, many of our perennials, which will be available in 1-gallon pots at the sale, come from our own gardens,” Streett-Joslin said.

Other businesses in the area donate plants for the sale. They include Four Seasons Greenhouse and Nursery in Dolores, AJ’s Greenhouse in Durango, and Vibrant Earth Seeds in McElmo Canyon.

For the club, the sale’s end represents a transition in the gardeners’ yearly cycle, when young plants grow and gardeners tend to their plots.

Mesa Verde Gardeners also meet once a month and provide a connection for people who have a shared interest in plants and gardening.

“We visit, we share ideas, we share a potluck every so often, and you get to know folks and become part of a larger community,” Streett-Joslin said.

The club also helps market growers who try new varieties of plants and new water usages.

In spring and summer, tours help members learn new perspectives and techniques from other members’ gardens.

In winter, the club offers classes and other presentations.

“Our goal is to learn and have fun learning about gardening,” Streett-Joslin said.

Streett-Joslin encouraged people who may be interested in gardening to give the club a try. New members often reinvigorate the club with new, vibrant ideas, she said.

She invited anyone who is interested in gardening to attend meetings to see what the club’s all about. Some members don’t even garden; they attend for the community and to learn more about a subject that interests them.

“The main thing is to start small,” Streett-Joslin said. “You can have a garden in a large pot on your porch and give it a try before you tackle all the plots and raised beds or infrastructure you might see advertised. Start small and try it out.”