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Is that a snowball in your sweet bubby bush?

By Amy-Lynn Albertson

Rowan County Extension Director

Spring is finally here, and I love it. Pollen everywhere, soccer every Saturday and time for the Rowan County Master Gardener Volunteer Association Plant Sale.

The sale is Saturday, May 4, from 8:30 a.m.-noon at the Rowan County Agricultural Center, 2727 Old Concord Road.

When I first moved to North Carolina, a client called and asked me what was wrong with his sweet bubby bush. I had no idea what he was talking about. “Who is Bubby,” I asked. Finally, I figured out he was talking about Calycanthus florida or Sweetshrub or Carolina Allspice.

Later that same year I had a very confusing conversation about a snowball bush, which was actually a Viburnum floridatum but could have been a hydrangea. Finally, four years of Latin in high school paying off in the real world.

Lucky for you, Master Gardeners know both scientific and common names and the plants will be labeled.   The Master Gardener Plant Sale is always awesome and this year will be no different. There are a variety of perennial native pollinator plants like the celandine poppy, cardinal flower, goldenrod and coneflower to name a few.

If you are looking for a snowball bush, they have both hydrangea and viburnum. Herbs like rosemary, mountain mint, and bronze fennel, tansy and toothwort will be on hand, too.

If you have a lot of shade and think there is nothing for you, don’t despair. The Master Gardeners have a variety of shade-loving perennials like Solomon’s seal, hellebores or Lenten Rose, Canadian ginger and celandine poppy.

Hellbores are sweet because they give color to your shade garden and bloom in late winter or early spring with your bulbs. Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum odoratum) has dainty, white, bell-like flowers in the spring and lovely fall foliage. The celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum) has a happy yellow flower that will add joy to your natural areas.

There are many sun-loving perennials too. The aromatic aster is sure to please with purple, blue daisy flowers in the fall. Bee balm (Monarda sp.) is a pollinator favorite with reddish-orange flowers that attract bees and butterflies alike in the hot summer sun. My favorite succulents will be available in a variety of combinations in pots.

In addition to the beautiful plants there will also be a raffle for an original Ed Tezlaf planter, a hand painted barn quilt and stepping stone.

One more date to mark on your calendar is the second annual Arts and Ag Tour June 1 and 2. This year we have 15 farm stops and many artists. New to the tour this year is the West Rowan High School FFA program. West Rowan has been nationally recognized for their FFA achievements. You can find out more about Arts and Ag Tour at http://artsandagtour.com or call the Rowan County Extension Center at 704-216-8970

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