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Plants bloom for Vernon nature centre sale

Plant sale fundraiser helps Allan Brooks Nature Centre Saturday, May 20
Vernon’s Allan Brooks Nature Centre will hold a plant sale fundraiser, run completely by the centre’s volunteers, on Saturday, May 20. (ABNC file photo)

Big, blooming deals are available to help raise funds for Vernon’s beloved nature centre.

The annual plant sale at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre (ABNC) blooms Saturday, May 20.

Over the past 20 years, a core group of volunteers has either gathered seedling donations or provided from their own potting efforts.

Ann Cordingley recalls working the event back when it started at the Coldstream Ranch.

“We were so proud of making $500 over two or three days,” she said, adding the event’s popularity exploded over time.

“In our first post-COVID sale we raised $3,500 and were cleaned up and out in five hours.”

Cordingley recognizes that may not be the case this year, because some volunteers may not have access to larger growing spaces because of downsizing as the crew gets older.

“Kelly Smith has supplied us with many plants from her garden for years,” said Cordingley. “During COVID, she sold plants on the side of her road, donating the money to the centre. Some years, one person would pot up to 500 plants.”

Fourteen-to-20 volunteers get together and organize getting the plants from donations, setting up the plants and tables, and being on-site to answer questions buyers might have.

Centre manager Cheryl Hood said the plant sale is one of the centre’s important fundraising events.

“We do not receive any federal or provincial funding, and events like this are an important part of our operations,” said Hood, giving credit to the plant sale success to the ABNC volunteers.

“We have a great dedicated volunteer crew experienced in events like this. They are here every year to help us get started on the right foot for the season.”

When asked what brings Cordingley back to working the plant sale year after year, she said, “I love gardening and seeing how happy people are when they buy their plants. It’s always interesting to see what plants arrive each year. Sort of like going to a potluck dinner. One year it’s all salads and the next year there are no salads and it’s all desserts. We never know what plants we’ll have.”

The plant donation date is Friday, May 19, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the ABNC. To prepare a plant donation, follow these steps:

• Pot early. Keep the plants watered until the sale date;

• Minimum pot size - four inches;

• Pot your favourite non-invasive plants – no irises, please;

• Ensure the pots have drainage. Margarine containers are not encouraged. Pots are sometimes available at recycling centres;

• Label each plant/pot with the name of the plant and the color of the flower if available. Old blind slats work well for these kinds of labels.

If you need to drop your donation off sooner, contact ABNC (250-260-4227) or Ann Cordingley ( for directions.

READ MORE: Marmots pop up for Vernon nature centre’s opening day

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